I hate to drive. I drive to work and back and that’s about it. Anytime we go somewhere as a family I make Lee drive. Whenever I go out with my friends I try to convince one of them to pick me up. Driving sucks.
So imagine my excitement on the four hour drive to meet my mom in Chicago for our birthday trip to Vega. Four hours in a car. By myself. Good times.
To keep myself entertained I turned the radio up really loud. Thank goodness for XM. I didn’t have to suffer through any static on the trip. Just my kind of music. All the way there.
Lee worries about me when I drive. So to prepare he always makes sure all of the car’s fluids are full (oil, windshield washer fluid, etc) and he fills it up with gas. The tires on my truck need to be replaced so he borrowed some tires from a friend just for my trip. The new tires are a little taller than my old crappy tires. So I spent the whole trip worried I was going to topple over in my SUV like I keep hearing about on the news. Every time I ended up on one of those twisty clover leaf off-ramps I went about 10 miles an hour for fear that I’d turn the truck right over on its side. I’m sure the people behind her were thrilled.
Lee buckled a cooler filled with water in to the passenger seat so I could stay well hydrated. I brought along a few Crystal Light packages to add some flavor. However, it never actually occurred to me to fill the water bottles up before I was driving on the Interstate. At 80 mph. About an hour in to my trip my first water bottle was empty so I grabbed another. For a couple of minutes I tried to decide how to get the Crystal Light in to the bottle while still keeping one hand on the steering wheel. I decided to hold the bottle in between my index finger and thumb while keeping the other three fingers on the steering wheel. Then I’d pour the Crystal Light in with my other hand.
Yeah, that didn’t work so well. Thankfully I didn’t spill water all over myself (which I have totally done before), but I did spill Crystal Light all over my hand. All over the steering wheel. All over my jeans. And then my hand was sticking so I licked the Crystal Light off Crystal Light powder that hasn’t been diluted with water? Not so yummy. I’m just sayin’.
You know it’s summer in the Midwest by the construction on the roads. In the winter we suffer through ginormous pot holes, ice covered blacktop, and piles and piles of snow. In the summer you have to weave your way through construction cones. And this summer was no different.
I hit some construction in Illinois that was particularly crazy. First you had to merge to the left. Then to the right. Then back to the left. It was like bumper cars. With construction cones. And there was no warning. I was behind a semi so I couldn’t see to far in front of me. The cones would just switch to the other side without warning and I’d have to swerve to avoid them. Nothing like a little roller coater ride when I’m already nervous.
Because I was drinking all that water I had to stop at a rest stop. As I was getting out of the truck I ran in to a state trooper. “Good,” I thought. In case there’s any trouble I have a cop to help me out. Except he was this skinny little dude who I probably could have drop kicked, let alone some big, bad criminal.
There was also a lot of emergency phones. And even an emergency button outside the woman’s restroom. Which is nice, but other than my state trooper who just happened to be there, are there cops nearby? How quickly can they respond to these emergency calls? Or are they just there to inform them they need to come pick up my dead body?
As I finished up my business in the bathroom I realized this rest stop was very high tech. I’ve been in stalls with toilets that flush automatically or have a button on the wall to push rather than a lever for flushing.
But the sinks were odd. They were just big, huge basins. And you were supposed to run your hands in front of the sensor to make the water start. Only the sensor was in front and I kept turning the water on by just walking by the basin.
And the soap dispenser practically stumped me. You were supposed to push up on the spout, but you couldn’t actually see the spout. So I was struggling with getting any soap to come out. I was starting to think you had to have a college education just to work the soap. Thankfully I finally figured it out and was able to wash my hands. I wonder if they have cameras in those bathrooms. Watching people trying to figure out the sink could provide for hours of entertainment.
And you’ll be happy to know I got smart and filled up a few bottles with Crystal Light before I got back on the road.
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. I made it to my mom’s. In one piece. Around 9:30. Earlier than she expected me. And I didn’t even speed.
But there was one thing that bothered me in Illinois. There were these billboards with some young guys mug and they said, “I’m doing good.” There was some other, much smaller print on the billboard, but it was so freaking small you can’t read it. I have no idea what these are for. As a marketing student they were really ticking me off. If you’re going to go to the effort of advertising your product or service or whatever the hell you rented a billboard for…make sure people can read it for crying out loud.