At this point my mom and I have probably been to all of the Starbucks-es in the county my sister lives in. We’ve driven by at least two more, but since they were both part of large chain grocery stores, they were unsuited to our purposes. Which were to change from comfortable long-car-trip clothes into clothes more funeral-appropriate.

Caffeine calms my nerves, when I want it to enough. I tricked my body into thinking this particular stimulant is actually relaxing in freshman year because I didn’t want to say words like “I probably need anti-anxiety medication” or “I’m probably a tiny bit crazy” or, you know, “help me.” Instead I just drank approximately a metric fuckton of coffee. It’s come in handy.

I love my sister, and I’m sort of benevolently neutral about the rest of them, but–the whole affair is kind of like being in the pilot of a reality show: everyone’s got a laundry list of shenanigans to discuss, but the cast hasn’t quite come into its own. No one throws wine, basically. People spend a lot of time glaring out of the corners of their eyes while refusing to make eye contact with or actually look at me or my mother. It’s all quite pleasant.

I hope nobody dies for a really long time–both because, you know, death is bad, it’s better when people you know don’t do that, and because I don’t want to have to do this again any time at all soon.