Saturday, June 5, 2010

Road Trip: Conversations

Donnie, Doah, Noelle, and I took off on Tuesday for Delaware, Ohio to attend the wedding of our nephew, Jacob, to a young lady whom we like very much, Jessica. (Jacob is Rollie’s youngest child.) Since Noelle has long been no candidate for air travel – the airlines have to forklift her up to the plane and two baggage handlers have to wrestle her into her seat , we rented a wheelchair-accessible van and set out on the long, but quick, journey from California to Ohio. Road trip, road trip!

Now, on road trips, there are the sites and the sights, the stops and the gas (perhaps of more than one type), and the to-go snack and sit-down meal. Most interesting of all, in my mind, are the conversations. Here are snatches that I have heard over the past three days (we are now in Delaware):

Neighbor (30 minutes after we left): “Your porch lights are not on; I thought you told the Sheriff that they would be on so that he could check your place whenever he happens to be in town.”
Oops – text message to Shane: Pls turn on porch lights
Next day msg from Shane: porch lights now on.

Doah (one hour after we left): “Are we there yet?” (This conversation repeated every 30 minutes or so the entire 2500 miles. Now settled in here in Delaware, I am certain he is busy re-winding that tape for the trip back. Oh, no!)

Lizzie (flying in, text msg, second day of our travels): “My flight was canceled. It seems that the airlines must have heard that someone related to you was planning to fly and panicked, canceling flights. I will try again tomorrow.”
Next day, Lizzie: “So where are you now?”
Me: “Enroute still. Where are you?”
She: “Made it; am staying with Cousin Shellie in Columbus.”

Elizabeth (in response to an important meeting announcement to my assistant, who was not cc’d): “Are you planning to attend this meeting?”
He: “No.”
Me: “Huh?”
He: “I have a conflict.”
Me: “So?”
He: “Am sending my assistant in my place.”
Me: “OK.”

Noelle: Mom! You are a bad driver!
Doah: “Ow! Yeah! Bad driver! Bad, bad driver!” (I had slammed on the breaks, and Doah had flown past Noelle’s wheelchair into the back of the front passenger seat, where Donnie was sitting.)
Me: “What happened to your seat belt?”
Doah: “Oh, yeah, seat belt!”
Me: “Yeah, seat belt! You okay?”
Noelle: “Yeah, he looks okay.”
Me: “Doah, answer me. Are you okay?”
Doah: “Can’t answer. I’m busy putting on my seat belt.”
Quick stop – Doah is fine. Whew! His seat belt is on, yes! He has not forgotten during the rest of the trip. Yes!
Doah (hungry and disappointed after miles of high chapparelle viewing through Wyoming and entering the planes of Nebraska without a pit stop in sight): “Cows, horses, and sheep; cows, horses, and sheep; cows, horses, and sheep!” (And your problem is?)

Me (text msg on Tuesday to friend we were meeting in Grand Island, Nebraska): “Miscalculated time; catheterization stops for Noelle are taking an hour, not a half hour. Will be arriving Thursday for brunch, not Wednesday for dinner.
She: “OK, but I will be in Lincoln on Thursday.”
Me: “Oh, well that is another two hours of driving, and we just lost an hour, crossing into the Mountain Time zone, so it will have to be dinner on Thursday, let’s shoot for 5:30.”
She: “OK.”
Me: “Road construction all across Nebraska; moving slowly. Let’s plan on 6:30.”
She: “OK.”
Me: “Ouch! I just noticed that somewhere we lost another hour to a time zone change – now on Central time. Let’s plan on 7:30.” (Note: We will be scooping up all those lost hours on the way back.)
She: “OK.”
Me: “We’re here….!”
She: “Wow! Really?”
It was exactly 7:30. Yes!
Donnie: “Our exit is coming up. Don’t miss it. There, right now: Indianapolis!” (I’m driving, and he thinks he is following a map, but thank goodness, I have the GPS.)
Me: “I can’t take it; it’s closed.”
Donnie: “Take the next one, then, and the GPS will re-route you.”
Me (as we approach the next one): “I cannot take this, either. It is closed, too.”
Donnie: Well, then, the next one; there must be several exits for Indianapolis from Route 74.” Me (approaching the third and final exit for Indy): This one is closed, too!
Doah: “Are we there yet?”
Donnie and me simultaneously: “Nooooo!”
Noelle (to Doah): “I don’t think this is a good time to ask that question.”
(We are still wondering why ALL the Route 74 exits for Indy were closed on Friday, just as we needed them. So, we headed south in order to go north. C’mon, that’s what the GPS told us to do, and when totally lost in unknown territory, one turns one’s life over to the GPS, whether its directions make sense or not.)
By some miracle, we made it to Ohio, losing only another hour along the way. So glad to be out of the car! So glad to have a different topic for conversation! Yes! I have been contemplating whether it is better to take that 2500-mile trip back on Monday or settle down here permanently.

Doah spent the shank of the evening at a campground party (in the rain?!) with his senior-year high-school teacher, Sue, and her two helpers, who just happened to have had a party plan when we announced our trip. The timing worked out perfectly. Afterward, Sue, her son Taylor, Doah, Donnie, and I had dinner at Bob Evans. (Noelle had to catheterize and preferred to be brought something back to eat in her hotel room.)

Then, my brother Rollie and sister Victoria showed up, swooped up Doah, and off they all went to spend the night at Rollie’s house. Doah saw lightning on the way back and wondered what was happening. Rollie reminded him about thunderstorms from the year that he lived with Rollie a decade ago, and then he remembered. (Donnie and I will never forget the string of lightning storms that plied their way up the Central Coast of California in 1999, beginning with dry lightning first without and then with accompanying thunder, followed by real thunderstorms. People who had not been outside the area were panicking. Many called the television station; someone asked if it were the end of the world. The television station stopped normal programming to allow the weatherman to explain thunderstorms to a fascinated audience. For us transplanted easterners, it was hysterically funny – and we were not worried about the world ending at all because we were busy watching a spectacular display of nature having one of her best tantrums.)

Last night, Donnie and I fell into bed with the lulling sound of fat raindrops plopping themselves onto the ground outside our window. Ah, rain! As I said, we don’t see much of that in San Ignatio, so we found the plopping delightful to hear.
This morning, we woke to a clap of thunder and flickering lights. The flicker lasted only a brief time. After that, large parts of town were in the dark. That was 10:30 this morning. Since then, we have vegged out in the hotel lobby, with others. Bob Evans, the restaurant across the parking lot, brought over food to feed us because with electricity out for hours, the food would have spoiled. We sat around the pool and had an unplanned feast. (Yes!)

Now, though, it is mid-afternoon. Hot and humid. No electricity. Therefore, also no air conditioning and no electricity. Last conversation as follows:
Lizzie: “Shellie is dropping me off at the hotel. Is 3:00 good?”
Me: “Sure!”
No way am I going to tell her that she is going to arrive to a bathroom with a glow-in-the-dark stick for lighting, no air conditioning, and no lights. She can change for the wedding in the same ambient light that we plan to use. The estimate is for the electricity to come back on some time after 3:30.

As for that thought about staying here permanently to avoid the road trip back, I’ve re-thought. I do like to have electricity on a regular basis, and I hear that lightning frequently knocks out electricity around here for hours. So, back, it is!

Views from the trip...


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