I have nine hours of road trip in me. Nine. Nine hours north can takes me onto W. 45th st in Manhattan in time for an 8pm show and if heading south it carries me through Kingsland, GA.
It is here on the open littered expanse of 95 South, with its innocence robbing billboards and taunting reminders that we missed South of the Border but can still turn back, that I start sobbing. Every time.
I can’t take this anymore. I can’t do this. I told you I COULDN”T DO THIS.
Travis then turns into what he considers a Clark Griswold prototype but I find to be something darker – perhaps some sort of maniacal coach for those attempting to swim hundreds of miles in the ocean, or no, a scout sent by the government deep into the snowy forest to get people out. (I am unfamiliar with both these scenarios but this is what I imagine).
Pull yourself together. We ARE DOING THIS. STOP PANICKING NOW. Breathe. This is where you always fall apart.
You know, maybe you should have flown…”
At this point I am clawing at the windows.
We’d talked about me flying with the baby. Perhaps a day or two, or nine, early. I could go and “set things up,” be there relaxed when they came in in the car .
But the talk faded because this is about family, or something that sounds equally esoteric, when at mile 600 your skin has developed an additional layer comprised of chip grease, apple sauce pouch, and whatever goo has gotten all over the cords to the dvd players.
Our roles have been defined for years: Travis drives. and I am in charge of Everything Else. There are few questions in life to which me driving is the answer. I am agreed to this. But let’s review what Everything Else, a fluid department, generally entails: all Negotiations with the Back, technical support, food services, emotional triage, and first aid.
Much of my work doing Everything Else requires me to “head to the back” Probably illegal, this maneuver requires a level of acrobatics best attempted by eleven year old boys. By hour nine, I’ve hit my shins so many times on the middle seat armrest that I need to tap into the band aid supply I brought solely for Leila to play with. Turning around in the moving car is a guarantee for nausea as I near my mid-thirties. So, yes, by the time we pass through Kingsland, in addition to sobbing, I’m bleeding and queasy.
But we press on.
Partly because it would be worse to turn around and scarier to put this crew into a hotel.
And partly because we are teased by the small beach town with its complete acceptance of bare feet and hair washed in the ocean inhabited by people choosing relaxation over production and really anything else, and the prospect of holding reptiles with rubber bands over their snouts, all made possible only by our high value of that most important of all “f” words, the one that drives us on through the suffering and horrendous public bathrooms,
(Maybe family too.)
I’m flying next year.