The Vacation Trip To Hell, Level One
Like much of what I share here, this post will be somewhat theraputic, though both my Super Spouse and I now have adjusted and experienced enough therapy (English: self-medicated) to the point where we can actually laugh about this.
We’ve all had bad vacations. It is inevitable, really, when you look at it from a sheer statistical point of view. This one could reasonably be thought of as the 100-Year vacation. The only upside to this trip was that it passed uneventfully – for the most part – at each of our major destinations.
The context is this: Di and I, not long married, elected to take a road trip from California to both Tennessee and Illinois (silent ‘s’!) to rack up a twofer visit of her dad and my mom. We were confident, and we were experienced. We had essentially executed this trip once already during the “before marriage” phase so each of us could at least meet the respective in-law. The major difference with the Road Trip Redux: Children <insert dramatic, ominous, evil music here>.
The trip out was far less painful than the trip back, but there were some highlights worth mentioning. Omens of evil yet to manifest, I choose to think. However, we made it nearly all the way out of Texas before things started skidding off track. I’d made excellent time across Arizona and New Mexico, hitting my road-trip-driving stride as all three females were sleeping and we hurtled through the desert darkness. By the next afternoon, the atmosphere got hormonal, but manageable. Texas would not end, and boredom kicked in. We stopped at what is arguably the Safest Possible Non-Fast-Food restaurant in the world: Cracker Barrel. Perusing the menu, we get this question from Daughter Unit The First: “Do they have tacos here?” The dining experience spiralled downward from there.
We were nearly to our first major objective, likely in Oklahoma, possibly Arkansas, before the second evil portent mainifested. After several uninterruped hours of back-and-forth dickering from the backseat over the thinnest of excuses each time, Di and I were beginning to exchange looks. Rough interpretation follows:
- MY POINTED LOOK: [Can you believe this shit? Pass me a pen so I can jam it deeply into my eye socket and distract myself, please, dear.]
- DI POINTED LOOK: [And what would you have me do? I’ve been on them for the past two hours. Oh, here’s that pen, My Love.]
- MY POINTED LOOK: [Making them stop would be great, thanks.]
- DI POINTED LOOK: [They’re your kids now too. Act like it.]
- MY POINTED LOOK: [Noted and recorded for posterity.]
Some moments of muted disagreement passed from the backseat. In the front, our Parental Units’ gaze rested on the horizon, half-lidded and dead. Then the remark from Daughter Unit The Second: “Moooom, her hair is touching me!” Both of my ass cheeks raised from the carseat as I literally stood on the brake. Lots of loose shit, to include the two little shits who were passengers, slid forward. Oaths and general shouting followed, and for a pleasant time, we enjoyed complete silence. For the remainder of the trip out, a mere look in the rearview was sufficient to put the cone of silence over the heathens occupying our space.
The third, final and perhaps Biblical omen on the journey out occurred at a rest stop. I have no idea where this happened because by that time I had lost completely the ability to monitor the passage of time. For all I know we were in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, Narnia, or possibly The Twilight Zone. We were not far from the Tennessee border, it was dark, and everyone serendipetously had to pee simultaneously. The blue rest area sign lured us in and we did our business. Being the first done of course, I cooled my heels near the door for security purposes. From inside the pissoir, an increasingly frantic hollering by The Second escaped into the night. Mother Parental Unit shouting overmasked it, and both ejected violently outside, Child all flapping arms and slapping hands, Di loudly admonishing and brushing. Apparently a militant splinter cloud of mosquitos had colonized the ladies’ room. I believe I witnessed what is known as “a hissy fit.” The First sauntered casually out some minutes later apparently uneffected. Calamine was slathered as we completed the approach march to Dad’s.
The visitation portion(s) of the trip as mentioned passed remarkably without major incident. Dad was glad to see the Grandchild Units, as was Mom happy to meet them finally. The Daughter Units actually pretended to enjoy it all and maintained a credible veneer of courtesy.
Tune in later for the descent to Level Two of the Vacation Trip To Hell…