Road Trip – Survival of the Fittest

It’s that time of year again – state bowling tournament and a road trip for Todd and me. I love road trips. I’ve had this idea of driving cross-country for over twenty years. I imagined driving across the southern states to California and then back east across the northern states. I guess you could say this is on the bucket list I have yet to write up. My dad has done the drive to Texas several times for my brother who attended university there and I’ve lived vicariously through their stories of the best steakhouse shack they ever stumbled across, the flat tire about 14 hours into the drive, and their multiple stops in New Orleans. I so wish I could’ve gone along at least once. (Maybe not for the flat tire trip.)

My dad told me that he once went on a road trip with a girl he was dating (obviously this was a century ago), and how by the time they got to their destination they wanted to kill each other. It ultimately ended the relationship before they even made it back. Now, I could’ve told him – had I not been 4 years old – that one should start with a short road trip, you know, to test the waters. Somehow being 18 hours away from home with a once-adored someone whose neck would look better with your hands around it, seems like a recipe for homicide – or, at the very least – a very bad case of constipation.

Todd and I are two peas in a pod. To say we travel well together is an understatement. We are an old married couple of newlyweds with a white-hot sex life. (C’mon – I had to throw that in there before ya’ll started yawning.) So – I am very excited to be on the next road trip with him. The bowling tournament, not so much.

Bowling is like sports’ lazy-eyed cousin. The sports world wants them hidden away … the alleys are almost always in seedy, run-down parts of town where no one would go after dark without an escort. It’s never been a sport where someone asks what you play and then says, “awesome!”

He went to a different tournament last weekend and I was grateful I had to work. This is because he went to Scranton (an old coal-mining town in northeastern PA) and every time I’m driving through desolate areas in parts of Pennsylvania I get angina. It’s difficult to explain – just consider it an old wound that’s healing about as fast as an ulcer. The only saving grace on that trip last year, and the state tournament to Erie two years ago – was Xanax Todd. (Really, I don’t even have Xanax.) (Though I’m beginning to think I should.) He kept me off the ledge.

Road trips are a true test of marriage and friendship, not to mention parenting – but for the sake of this conversation, there are no children on this road trip. (This is another whole post, for which I will need Xanax just to recount.) Being in a tight and enclosed space with that other person for hours on end …. The flow of conversation, the mutual enjoyment of silence or musical choices, compassion for bathroom breaks, and agreement on food and beverage options … is critical for maintaining serenity and suppressing the desire to jump out of a moving car. That and not getting drunk and being the one passed out in the passenger seat (true story). Or, sharing the driving duties – assuming your driving doesn’t make your passenger carsick (sadly, another true story).

The liberal use of brakes is forbidden, as is the waving of certain fingers and raising one’s voice at other drivers. Reckless driving is also frowned upon, though that’s more difficult on the open highway in east-Bumblefuck PA. (This is a real place. Look it up.) Swearing at the GPS is acceptable, as long as one finds his sense of humor soon after. Handholding is cool, but not so long that one of you loses sensation in that hand. Hanky panky is just plain dangerous when the car is in motion, but suggestion is a powerful aphrodisiac that may propel the car faster to its destination – and, if you have tinted windows, an impromptu truck stop detour may be reasonable so long as bathrooms are available and you don’t park near any other vehicles.

Departure is t-minus 6 hours. I can’t wait.



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