I do hereby recommend that everyone be required to take one really long-ass road trip with one’s new spouse within the first few months of getting married. This will be a perfect test of compatibility and tolerance for the long haul (as it were) of the union as a whole, right there in the microcosm where no matter where you go, there are a dozen McDonald’s and nothing decent to eat.
Otto and I seem to have cleared this hurdle without much trouble, although it was certainly an experience to remember.
When I commented to Otto that his car was getting really good mileage because I hadn’t seen the gas gauge needle move yet, he chuckled and said we’d only been on the road an hour. Actually, we’d been on the road for nearly two and a half hours, but it’s just THAT WONDERFUL being with me, apparently, that time flies.
Remember the cheesecake brownies I was so looking forward to? We had multiple conversations, yesterday, about how tragic it would be if we somehow forgot to bring them with us. Well, this morning my stepmom offered to swap ice packs with us because we’d forgotten to put ours in the freezer, and there was a flurry of activity around the cooler and then my dad offered to take it out to the car for us, and when the time came to say, “Hey, I think it’s time for brownies!” we opened up the cooler with much anticipation. We found… a bunch of ice packs. Somehow none of us had packed the actual brownies.
I may have teared up a little.
I pink puffy heart my EZ Pass because having to stop at tollbooths is a giant pain in the rear. In fact, I have absconded with my EZ Pass even though I was probably supposed to turn it back in before I left New England. OH WELL. Anyway, today in Pennsylvania, we were in an EZ Pass Only toll lane and some dude in a car with a Canadian plate (sorry, my Canadian pals… no reflection on your country, I’m sure) not only drove up without a Fast Pass, he then gave the wandering attendant a twenty dollar bill, waited for change, and then fed a dollar into the machine so slowly that I really began to believe we might die of old age right there in the toll lane.
We stopped for lunch around 1ish somewhere in Virginia, where there are apparently no child labor laws. I know this because the child who took our order appeared to be about twelve. Otto and I waited while he tried to figure it out and quietly discussed how old we thought he might be, with Otto noting that his standard-issue belt reached all the way to the back pocket of his pants because he was about the same size as Chickadee.
After this poor kid screwed up our order three times and had walked back and forth with various (single) pieces of our order four times and had charged us twice, he squeaked, “I’m really sorry, it’s only my second day.”
“It’s okay,” we said. “How old are you?” I couldn’t resist asking.
“I’m, uh, fifteen,” he answered.
“You’re not old enough to be working here,” I said, meaning that at 15 he should be doing meaningful things like crashing his skateboard into the railing out front rather than trying to figure out how much my chicken sandwich cost, or maybe I actually meant LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE, because if he was really 15 then I am probably only 25; but he took me very literally.
“Oh, I just made the cut-off,” he assured me. Well, thank goodness. Now I’ll be able to sleep tonight.
In Gaffney, South Carolina there is a water tower that looks exactly like a giant peach (stem, leaf, groove and all). By the time we made it there I was so punchy that I thought this was the most wondrous thing I’ve ever beheld in my entire life. It really is a very long drive.
We listened to the Red Sox game on Otto’s satellite radio for ten innings and pulled in to a stop for gas and food, and even though we were only out of the car for about 6 minutes we missed the end of the game. Neither of us really cared.
I started mishearing everything Otto said after we’d been in Virginia for about 6 hours. (Shut up. Approximately 8 hours of this trip is in Virginia.) I contend that this is because Otto mumbles, whereas he counters that I am just loopy when I’m tired. (To this I respond: You have hoopy hens on fire?)
At one point he asked me if I wanted something and I said “I’m fine.” Being a sweet and charming fellow, he responded, “You’re excellent!”
So it makes perfect sense that I countered with, “HAIR CREAM?” Because YOU’RE EXCELLENT sounds exactly like HAIR CREAM if you are me.
Later, he commented, “I think it rained here,” and I asked him WHERE he saw a reindeer. At least that time I was close. AND I was able to point out that I had just seen a really ginormous peach, so really, a reindeer wasn’t that far out of the realm of possibility.
It should be noted that both of these instances cracked me up for several miles while Otto found his amusement in my inability to stop laughing.
At least a dozen times during the trip, I was able to pat Otto on the leg and say, “50 more years of this, honey! You are SO LUCKY!” And he agreed with me every time, probably because I was feeding him Twizzlers.