So, I don’t like road trips in the first place. Maybe it’s because I live in Southern California, and to say I live in my car is not to exaggerate the situation.
But I don’t think I ever liked them, even though the childhood road trips were as pleasant as my mother could make them. These included bi-annual trips from Massachusetts to Kentucky where my parents had grown up. It was on one of those trips, that I left my blanket behind in one of the motels on the way, and never saw it again. I was four, and even though my mother promised me the world, and my grandmother immediately sent me two new blankets, I never recovered. Ever.
One year, now twenty-two, I ferried my younger sisters, the family dog and family cat, with a small sailboat tethered to the roof of the car, from Chicago to Newport Beach, CA, and got a speeding ticket in Utah, or was it Nebraska? Somewhere. The memory is hazy. I do remember the cop telling me to talk louder because he couldn’t hear me over the noise of the traffic roaring by us.
I hate all the sitting. I hate all the junk food I instantly crave at the rest stops. I hate knocking my head on the window, over and over, as I er…nap.
Last week I went on a short road trip. From Southern Illinois to Southern Wisconsin. A mere five hour drive…so maybe doesn’t even qualify as a road trip?
I was the passenger with no responsibilities. I was traveling with my brother and sister-in-law who love road trips and are therefore experienced, and so there would be no glitches. Also, we’re grown-ups, right? We get along. And we have long ago learned the arts of patience, compromise and maintaining calm.
It started to rain. Actually it started to downpour. I’ll give my sister-in-law that. The window wipers were turned onto warp speed, and then came the thunder and lightning. My sister-in-law, calm and pulled together in so many ways, immediately collapsed in terror. Actually, she didn’t collapse. She went taut and immediately began shrieking for my brother to slow down, pull over, to pull off the freeway, pull off this freeway at once, before–
Before what? I leaned forward and yelled, “Do you actually think we’re gonna die?” This stopped her briefly, but only briefly. The shrieking began again. I immediately wished I’d kept my mouth shut, but now that it was open–
Things went from bad to worse, including the storm. Soon there was total raging within the car as well as outside. It wasn’t pretty–
What did I say about road trips? Huh? Huh???
Well okay, so…the storm did end. Both within the car and without. We arrived at our lake destination ragged, like very very young people who have missed their naps, with just enough supplies to make nachos and therefore assuage, to a degree, the chagrin of a road trip gone bad.
Really. I mean it. Really really really, flying, with all that obnoxious undressing, is a breeze compared to road trips.