Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks But Not for Road Trips

You know what I'm not thankful for today? The invent of the automobile. Without motorized vehicles people wouldn't be expected to drive hundreds upon hundreds of miles just to eat a big-ass bird stuffed with bread crumbs and wind up with a case of raging heartburn.

We left Tuesday night to avoid the traffic. My husband insists the trip home is four hours but it always takes five. "It's four with no traffic," he tells me. Last time I checked he didn't command the type of power to clear highways, thus the trip is five hours. And if it ALWAYS takes us five, it's a five-hour trip, no? Case closed.

So we took off in conjunction with the girls' bedtime under the delusion that they would go to sleep in the car soon after we left. "Go night night in car" they kept repeating after me. See? They were on board with the plan. They didn't whine the whole first five minutes of the trip. We hadn't even left the Chicago city limits when I considered jumping out of the moving car. Oh, I've done it three times before, although it's been a while: 1) On my 21st birthday; 2) On the way to a Dave Matthews concert when it suddenly occurred to me I hate Dave Matthews and 3) Around 2002 when a guy said the wrong thing at the wrong time in a cab.

But now I have children and lunging desperately out of moving vehicles seems irresponsible. Plus I'm older so it might hurt more. Or possibly break a hip.

Around Gary, Indiana, the girls started fighting about a singing puppy they've literally had since birth. "It's MY puppy!" "No, it's MY puppy!" This went on for an excruciatingly long time with the pitch getting louder and more annoying by the minute. Did I mention this toy wasn't even in the car with us and I was sitting in the backseat between them?

So I threaten them: "Mommy is going to sit in the front seat if you don't stop yelling!" I yelled. "Mommy go front seat! Mommy go front seat!" Apparently I overestimate the pleasure of my own company. I have to then awkwardly wedge my fat ass up to the front seat and I finally get settled with my seat belt on when they start crying for me to come back.

That's when I decided to treat them like I would an annoying sorority sister on a Walkout Roadtrip Weekend: Pretend they didn't exist. No matter how many times they addressed me, I looked straight ahead or out the window. Incidentally, you can learn a lot looking out the window on a road trip. Like there is a town called Climax. And another called Paw Paw.

At one point -- it is pouring rain causing poor visibility mind you -- my husband gets out his iPhone and pulls into the right lane and seems to be going extraordinarily slow. I decide to say nothing. But then 2 seconds later I can't help myself. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING???" He was trying to pull up a weather map. I guess to confirm we were in the middle of torrential rains where people should be watching the road and not looking at iPhones. I usually try not to be a back seat driver as my history of accidents and citations seem to indicate I'm not the best judge. But this rule, as most others, doesn't apply to the treatment of my husband. The iPhone was put away.

Alas, the girls finally fell asleep and I learned the "Bore and Ignore Technique" works just as well in 2009 on whiny toddlers as it did in the late 80s on chatty college co-eds. My husband got us here safe and sound. The girls are having fun. And I've eaten my own weight in homemade cookies. Which just means I'll have to stay in the same seat the entire ride home. Happy Thanksgiving...


  1. And a happy thanksgiving to you! Although, as a Canadian, I feel either a tad unpatriotic or very tardy in wishing you that.

    No I don't, I just really like saying 'tardy'. It's like tard, except more fun.

    Kind of like me.

  2. I swear to God we were in the same sorority. There was never any turkey and dressing on those walk out trips. Just shit from a different sorority house, usually. And this mama? Go night night cuz she took an ambien with a vodka soda.

  3. Why didn't my sorority have Walkout Roadtrip Weekends? Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Sounds like most of our car trips! At least we stayed home for Thanksgiving this year!

  5. I. Hate. Car. Trips. You remind me of myself this summer. Husband wanted to do a 16 hour drive with 3 small children to NC. I wanted to fly. He won. I lost big time. I considered hurling myself out of the moving vehicle also. But, we were in Tennessee. You just never know there. It might be worse outside of the vehicle than inside. He actually asked why I wasn't having a good time on the road trip. Seriously?