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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Road Trip

I realize that I have not been posting very regularly lately. Life has been rather hectic with the car issues, the court anxiety (which is now over, and it's so good to be able to breathe again!), work and family stuff. I'm pretty sure you can all relate.

I left for my father's house last Friday night, directly after work. They were celebrating Thanksgiving early with my stepmother's family, and rolling my Dad's birthday celebration into it as well. (Dad is hitting a landmark this year. Now, Dad's birthday isn't actually until the 27th, so I'm heading out there again this weekend, and taking Monday off to be there.) Okay, so, not totally directly after work. I stopped to get gas for the car, and caffeine for the body…And I managed to finish my Grande Peppermint Mocha (with half the peppermint to cut down the sweet factor) about a half hour into my usual 2 1/2 hour drive. Unfortunately, I am afraid that my actions that night may have caused an accident… I had gone about 44.1 miles (the car has a trip meter - gotta love it!) when I saw the tail lights ahead of me. They weren't moving…and neither were the row of lights in front of them. So, I stopped safely behind the row of cars, assuming that the drawbridge was up, causing the back-up, and happy that I didn't have to go to the bathroom yet, after all that coffee.

0 miles and 20 minutes later, the mocha wanted out. And around this time I knew we'd be there for a while, as the medevac (how do you spell that?) helicopter had whizzed overhead and landed somewhere up the road. Countless cop cars had passed on the shoulder, and an emergency response vehicle or two. I said a little prayer for the accident victims, figuring it must have been pretty bad, with all the response vehicles passing by.

0 miles and 45 minutes later, I seriously considered hitting the hazards and making friends with the grasses along the side of the highway. I was having thoughts that it might be okay, since it's pitch black out there past the headlight ranges…then the other side of that thought hit - if they can't see me, I can't see anyone else who might be out there. Plus the conviction that as soon as I'm out the car door and hidden in the dark recesses of the side of the road, the accident will suddenly be clear and traffic will be flowing again…with mine being the car causing the backup problem now… Then the thought that trumped them all - I can't squat - I've never been able to do that successfully, so why would it be any different now? So…0 mi, 1hr 15 minutes later, I'm still in the car, starting to feel ill because I have to go so bad, and the 2nd FM band of my new car radio has been set with all the stations worth listening to in this no-man's land stretch of highway 12 on which I am apparently going to live out my days. My days being highly numbered, as my bladder will surely explode before we start moving again… And the guilt that this whole accident, which in reality I know I had absolutely nothing to do with, probably wouldn't have happened if I hadn't downed 16 oz of deliciously caffeinated beverage before hitting the road that night… (I'm a freak, I know.)

0.1 mile and an hour later, the medevac copter took off and flew away, leaving me to figure that if the victims are off scene, maybe the vehicles will be off to the side of the road by now and we'll start moving. My imminent fear of bladder explosion fades a tad and I start to relax a little (not too much of course - I'm still dealing with a pressing situation after all). And hey, I've gone a whole 0.1 mile in the last hour - things are looking up!

0.2 miles and an hour and 15 minutes later, the semi in front of me (which has had its hazards on for the last 20 minutes, to the point where I wasn't sure the driver was still in the vehicle anymore) started to move ahead. I put my car back into drive and have never been so happy to be moving at the breakneck speed of 10mph. Passing the tow trucks that were still blocking traffic in the other direction, I couldn't help but wonder about the condition of the victims - the one car was smashed up like an accordian, and the other one wasn't looking so great either. And I am no rubbernecker - I am always afraid that I will see something I don't want to see. Plus, the ruined cars and wreckage makes me think about my sister's accident (which of course I did not actually see), and brings back a lot of pain and sadness. I didn't check out the news later either, because I wasn't sure I wanted to know what happened. (I'm a coward.)

Anyway, I drove about 5 miles before coming to a KFC/Taco Bell, next to an ARCO, figuring one of them had to have a bathroom. Well the KFC had a sign at the door stating the lobby area (that's what they call the inside of the place?) was closed at 9pm. Of course it was 9:04…so I walked over to the ARCO, which displayed a big old sign stating there were no public restrooms. I swear I was ready to cry as I trudged back to my car. Then I saw someone walk into the KFC…the door was unlocked so I was going in! Thank God! And I have a feeling that a lot of other people that had been in that traffic jam ended up there as well, since there was no one there when I arrived, but there was a line when I left…and the restaurant wasn't even open.

After that, the rest of the ride was a breeze. Unfortunately for my father, I had left my cell phone charging on my kitchen counter at home…which I had told him earlier that day. And when I rolled into his driveway at 10:30 pm (4hrs after I left Novato), my stepmother was saying how worried he had been. I would have called if I'd had my phone… (Another cause of the accident? Yeah, yeah, I know…I am not the Earth's Axis.)

The weekend itself was good though. And the ride home was the usual 2 1/2 hours, with no problems.

Hopefully, all will be smooth sailing this weekend.


Joie said...

Oh man, do I feel your pain!! Thank God the KFC doors were open.

Once when on vacation as a child, I drank too much at dinner, and the last leg of the trip was over a dark and winding mountain pass which they happened to have removed all the markers off of in order to repave it. To say the least, that sucked for all of us. I will never forget that as we pulled into the Sinclair Station in the nearest town, how the gas station attendant actually ran out with the key for us. I've never forgotten that kindness!!

(I was really afraid you weren't gonna make it the way this story was going....You really write well!)

Anonymous said...

yikes, i've had that problem too. the worst was definitely on highway 17. it's hard to drive a twisty turny road with a full bladder, and i almost used an empty water bottle because it hurt so much otherwise.

Christyn said...

Why couldn't we have been blessed with an easier way to a guy?? I am in no way saying I want to be a guy!
Well, make sure you go to the bathroom before you leave today, for your mom's (and dad's) and make sure to NOT have Starbucks before you leave, or at least make sure you empty your bladder at Starbucks (in the restroom of course..I don't think they'd really want to clean up your accident) before you drive off with your peppermint mocha again!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! and Happy Shopping on Friday! :)

FFC said...

Perhaps, you should learn how to pee into the Starbuck's cup? You could randomly practice at home before you go on a trip! Ha that makes me laugh just thinking about it! I am glad you didn't pee yourself!

Dagny said...

I don't know if I would have been able to make it. Sounds painful.

Anonymous said...

Baby-girl...I feel your pain. Sometimes I can go for what seems like forever, not letting loose of the liquids. Other times I think I am about to explode.

I would have made a bee line for the grass...that is my thinking. And if anyone saw my nooks and crannies, then they'd deserve it. Because when nature calls...neature calls.

Glad to hear that you hadn't been injured.