I love road trips. Not your run of the mill road trip though. The kind of road trip where you can't pack all that much because you are sleeping in the back of the truck. I love how the night before, or more often than not, the morning of, I find myself scampering around the house, collecting everything I think I'll need for the next few weeks. I then cut out at least half of those items, deeming them unnecessary. A brush? Two shorts? Three hair ties? Come on, really? What I end up with is barely sufficient and I typically curse myself for having left it behind. On the other hand, I make up for that saved room by bringing items I think are going to be really useful, only under the perfect circumstances. For instance, my hammock. I've brought it with me on every road trip and have yet to remove the tag. Reluctantly, I left it behind on this trip, knowing full well that I will camp near two perfectly positioned trees. What a slap in the face. The fun I find in packing my bag is just foreshadowing for what is to come.
Robert Louis Stevenson said, "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Buddha went so far as to say, "It is better to travel well than to arrive." I realize that both of those statement have a good points, but I'm actually not too keen on traveling. Put Buddha behind a Semi on a precipitous mountain pass and see if he can keep that tranquil gem of wisdom in his head. Highly unlikely. I enjoy arriving at my destination, but the act of getting there is a real drag. Considering my inability to sit for longer than fifteen minutes, my pure hatred for driving and my bouts of road rage, I make an unlikely candidate for a serial road tripper. I can usually handle myself as long as I stick to some general rules. One: Never make rude or vulgar gestures at other drivers. Two: Cursing at others is acceptable if they cannot hear you. Three: Pass slow people before a murder ensues. Four: Don't go under the speed limit unless weather dictates that you do so. Five: If pulled over, lower IQ 60 points. With these in place, I manage to get by, but barely. I know that the longer the distance the trip is, the higher the likelihood of popping a blood vessel in my eye.
This last trip really took it out of me. Denver to Silverton. A fairly long trip, but I thought it would be ok. I was ok until I started my car. I can understand traffic in Denver. It is over crowded and full of stop lights. I don't like it, but I get it, ok? I cannot, however, understand or tolerate traffic the further away from Denver I get. Each truck, RV and vacationer had my eye twitching at an absurdly rapid frequency. I cursed at them and their stupid vacation plans. Didn't these assholes know I was headed to Silverton in a hurry?. MOVE OVER. Jesus. Christ. Shortly into the drive, I found myself having imaginary conversations with the people in my way. "Oh sure," I'd say, "Pull in front of me. Don't mind that I had to slam on my breaks to avoid hitting the swaying dilapidated home made trailer your '84 Oldsmobile is struggling to pull. I'd love it if the crazy left wheel broke off and hit my car." The conversations seemed to help, but at times they did more harm than good. One instance involving a husband and wife motorcycle team nearly ended in catastrophe. Knowing that a passing lane was approaching within the next few miles, I waited somewhat patiently behind them. But when Buck, that's what I called him, slowed down to a crawl to point out things in the distance to a woman I came to call Sugga, I lost it. I imagined the conversation they were having with one another. "Looky there Sugga. I better slow down to point out all that nothing over to our left. Ya see that?" Sugga, apparently blind, dumb or both, could in fact see the nothing off to the left. "Well babe, since we can't get closer than this here lane to that vast nothingness, I'll slow down a hellof a lot more so we can really soak all this Colorado nature shit up. And while I'm at it, how about I sway back and fourth on the bike, cause it will impress you and those around me." Sugga, clearly taken back by the landscape and Buck's motorcycle handling skills piped up, "Wow Buck! I hope we can see more nothing soon. But you best move into that passing lane. Be sure to speed up though. I don't want anyone actually passing us. Just slow back down at the stop of that hill so I can see this shit around us." This is when I chimed in. "Gee wiz guys. I love all this bonding you two idiots are having, but I'd sure appreciate it if you didn't take your goddamn Sunday morning drive on a Friday afternoon. Your hand waving me to go slower isn't helping the situation, jackass. I and the 17 cars behind me don't find that fucking soothing. Learn how to drive!" Thats when I passed them, careful not to look over at the faces of doom staring right at me. In fact, I'm sure they shook their heads, rolled their eyes and smacked their lips as if they wouldn't have done the same if the roles were reversed.
Stopping on road trips is, unfortunately, a harsh reality. The trouble comes, not from stopping, but in reencountering and repassing everyone all over again. Because of this, I usually add on rule number six: only stop when your car needs to. This works well until my 20oz of tea moves from it's cup to my bladder and I find myself in quite the pickle. This situation usually occurs in remote areas or traffic jams. At times I've hallucinated a Shell or Conoco oasis, only to realize it is in fact a half burnt hay barn. By stopping only when my car needs gas, I ensure that when I arrive at the gas station I am paralyzed by my bladder. The tricky part comes just after I extract myself from the driver's seat. I must remain stiff so as not to explode, but I also have to stay calm enough to fuel up my car. There is always a moment of hesitation before I leave the car where I can't decide if I should pee or get gas first. I always choose to get gas. Why? Because the people who leave their cars parked at at a pump, but aren't actually using it, are without a doubt, ass holes. What if someone I've passed pulls up behind me? It would only confirm what they already believe to be true.
|I'd rather be here.|