Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's Gr-r-r-r-r-reat!!

It was the trip of a lifetime. 
We still talk about it and wish we could do it again.  What amazes us is we did this extravagant thing with  money squirreled away while we raised two teenagers on one income.  Wow.  We used to be good!
Eight thousand five hundred miles by car.  Actually, it was a brand new mini-van with two bench seats, one for each kid.  Awesome!  (Imagine sing-song voice here.)  With head jacks connected to the built-in sound system and rear air conditioning, even the kids thought our new Aerostar was cooler than a Hummer. 

We spent the month of October looking for a real autumn, and breaking in the van on a road trip from Arizona to New England and back.  When we got home, the van wasn’t new anymore.  We drove  through twenty-four states in four weeks, and even tip-toed across a little piece of Canada where we experienced Lay’s potato chips seasoned with sugar instead of salt.  If they’d put more ice in their soft drinks, I just might go back.
But the whole trip was nearly derailed our first week on the road.  After experiencing the beauty of Colorado, Wyoming’s obsessive antelope massacres, cheesy Wisconsin, South Dakota’s presidential profiles, and night terrors on the interstates of downtown Chicago, we thought we’d arrived, sort of.  Believing we were now seasoned road warriors with a few thousand adventurous miles under our steel belts, we decided to deviate from our AAA Triptik a little and avoid Detroit, Michigan.
Triptik knows best.  Make a note of that.
It seemed innocent enough. Even kind of cute.
“Hey, kids,” we said over our shoulders to the two hostages seated behind us, “let’s eat breakfast in Battle Creek and look for Tony The Tiger!  Whadya say?!!!”
They didn’t say anything.  Their headphones were conveniently plugged into the sound system. 
An hour later, filled up and plugged back in, we headed for Lansing, me in the Navigator seat and my hubbie in the Driver’s. And it’s here that I want to interject this thought:  Of the two people seated in the pilot/co-pilot positions, isn’t it logical that the one who most needs a good sense of direction is the Driver??  Oh, shut up.  What do you know?
I’m a good navigator, even without a survivable sense of true north.  I got us through Chicago at night, didn’t I??  All I have to do is keep turning the map the direction we’re going and I can get us anywhere.  So after forty-five minutes of driving east, when we began seeing signs for Battle Creek, Michigan—again­­—I came to the only possible conclusion:  Rob made a wrong turn.
Finally!  A mistake that wasn’t my fault!  Hubbie hadn’t asked me for directions since before we went to Battlecreek the first time, so clearly I was not to blame here.  Gleefully, I rubbed my hands together, thinking how fun it would be to tease Rob about his little faux pas and generously extend my empathetic understanding.
But, once again, I forgot who I was dealing with.  That cool-as-a-cucumber countenance he wears around every day is just a clever disguise for a calculating charlatan.  He calmly admitted making a mistake . . . when he let me be the navigator.  And the next thing you know, those turncoat children I gave birth to jumped ship and sold out to their dad’s side.  Wouldn’t you know they’d all turn out to be a bunch of McLeods, who like nothing better than harassing innocents like me.  I knew if word of this roundtrip-trip ever got out to the patriarch of the clan (who has always liked Rob best)—well, that unfortunate Strawberry Shortcake episode from years past would no longer bear any resemblance to humiliation.
Instantly I began to fast and pray.  To no avail.  I guess it was too soon after breakfast.
Let’s just say I no longer believe Tony The Tiger’s hometown is gr-r-r-r-r-reat! 
But I do know how Battle Creek got its name.  Next time, this navigator is taking us through Detroit.  They don’t have road rage there.

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