Dad’s Version of the Events:
Let me start by saying that, though late to pick me up at the airport yesterday and forcing me to contort to a space in the truck’s passenger seat better suited to a Capuchin Monkey, Daughter did an exemplary job of preparing for the trip home. She had already packed 97% of her stuff and had actually loaded most of it in the bed already – with the exception that she allowed for exactly three inches of leg room for both the front seats, she done good.
However, because of said space restrictions, a quick reallocation of physical assets was called for. The criterion was simple: If Daughter could afford to lose whatever item or box we were considering, it went back into the bed. After all, for someone to steal some of the junk we’re hauling home, they clearly must be one step away from impending homelessness.
And, Presto! We suddenly had room to stretch.
The Next Big Idea concerned the weather forecast and protecting her crap junk belongings in the back from the elements.
“We need one of those covering things,” said Daughter.
“A tarp. It’s called a tarp.”
“But it’s 10:00 p.m. What’s open at his hour?”*
(*Not the verbatim dialogue, but pretty close to it.)
Target, of course.
I’ll spare you the details of finding the Target, finding the tarp, and finding rope/twine/string – “We don’t sell no string anymore at Target, sir.”
But we did manage to source everything, and after a mostly sleepless night, we started out tired and fatigued this morning at the crack of dawn about 9:30 a.m.
We managed all of five minutes down the Interstate before making our first stop to adjust and secure the tarp.
Sufficiently satisfied, we began again and racked up another ten minutes before pulling over again to screw around with reconfigure the tarp.
Clearly, we are better suited to interpreting spurious GPS displays than we are tying down anything. After all, I was given a choice between sports and Cub Scouts, and because I chose the former, I’m still paying the price in the “Life Skills Department, subtitle, Tying Knots.”
Our dilemma called for some real innovative thinking. I decided to put my suitcase on top of the tarp and tie it down instead. The only risk was that if anything went wrong, instead of losing a five dollar tarp, I would lose all my most valuable possessions in the bag.
“Dad. Isn’t your suitcase going to fly off the back?”
“Nope. And if it does, then the Universe needed it more than me.”
Whatever, it worked.
We wound up travelling nearly six hundred miles today, and I witnessed Daughter taking only one fitful nap.
I call that a success.
As an aside, many years ago when we first moved to Southern California, I asked a colleague at work about his experiences with the State’s law enforcement personnel on our local freeways. He compared the likelihood of being pulled over akin to being that one unlucky wildebeest in a herd of thousands, singled out and dragged down by a constabulary pride of lions.
I took that story as a license to be prudent, diligent, and speedy, when safe to do so. My last conversation with a policeman was sometime in the 1990s, and did not result in a ticket, so I guess the strategy worked.
I am happy to report that on the first day of our Father-Daughter (or is it Daughter-Father?) return journey to the Best Coast, we were not targeted by the pride. However, I experienced a smidgen of Schadenfreude when I witnessed an older couple in a Cadillac SUV (New York plates) talking to the Virginia State Police on two separate occasions not more than twenty minutes apart.
I would think they would have gotten the message the first time.
As for us, when you’re rocking down the Interstate on cruise control, with a zombie-like passenger who looks ready to pass out at any moment throughout the day, while constantly focused on a petulant tarp out back that is billowing so much you think there were zombies underneath trying to escape, exceeding the speed limit doesn’t even enter into the equation — finding the next foo-foo coffee place does, but we don’t need to speed to get there.
Daughter’s Version of the Events:
Well, I woke up at 7am like my dad demanded only to twiddle my thumbs for an hour while I waited for him to wake up. Eventually, I had to wake him up and he immediately said he didn’t sleep and that’s why he didn’t wake up at 7. Ah, well, neither did I. I guess I’m just, you know, DEDICATED and RESPONSIBLE.
Anyway, after briefly stuffing last minute items into the truck bed, I drove my dad to my favorite coffee shop one last time. He complained about the price, of course. (Am I surprised? No. This is somebody who brags about finding pennies like they’re buried treasure and he is Long John Silver.) I found it ironic that he complained about the prices considering he is a very regular patron of a small, independently-owned coffee shop. You may have heard of it… Starbucks. However, he didn’t see things my way and continued to grumble about the high price of the coffee. I helpfully reminded him that he could not put a price on my happiness.
What do all these shapes and lines mean??
After that brief breakfast, we hit the road. The GPS died despite numerous attempts at revival. CPR just wasn’t enough to save our TomTom. One less navigational tool is honestly probably better for us, anyway. Now, with the GPS out of the picture (R.I.P.), there are less contradicting directions. This is the sort of thing that happens when we have too many navigational tools:
Dad: “What highway should we take?”
Me: “Well, the GPS says to take the 83. The AAA map says to take the 77. My phone GPS says that this road doesn’t exist.”
Of course, our trip had a snafu or four. We had to pull over multiple times because the tarp covering the mountain of belongings in the truck bed kept flying up like a magnificent sail. Well, it’d be more magnificent if it wasn’t in danger of flying off and then landing on someone’s windshield and causing a fiery crash worthy of a Michael Bay film.
Sidenote/humanity-affirming moment of the day: because we were in the South, a guy stopped on the freeway when we were struggling with the tarp and in his deep Southern drawl, asked if we needed help. I forget that people care about other people in some places!! I’ve been in Philly too long, clearly.
Anyway, my dad and I took turns driving today but Dad ended up taking on the bulk of the driving because my eyes were drying up into raisins. I tried to bring back FaceTent ™ but without a heavy black coat to mask out the sun, it was futile. Other materials let in sunlight and therefore, blind you even with your eyes closed.
All in all, it was a successful day. Well, besides the barista putting a boy’s name on my Starbucks cup instead of my actual girl name. And my dad yelling at me to find a Starbucks faster on my phone that had no signal. And when my dad yelled at me for not being able to see a semi I almost merged into. And when my dad told me I was driving too fast. And when my dad told me that I am now in charge of making sure my sister is an upstanding citizen. (HEAR THAT, SIS? I know you read it, little one.) But yeah, besides all that, it was a good day.
Nope, that’s not my name.
Who are you trying to convince, Bristol, TN?
I bet you didn’t know there were castles in Tennessee.