September 11, 2002

"Anatomy of a Really Long

"Anatomy of a Really Long Drive" c. Ryan Rhodes, May 17, 2001

12:30 p.m. - I get behind the wheel of my car. I'm well rested and eager to embark on the long journey ahead of me. I toggle the radio until a rip-roaring tune comes in. I'm in driving mode.

12:45 p.m. - I stop at a gas station to buy a pop. My gas gauge reads full after filling it with $30 worth of fuel. I settle into my car seat and note how nice and comfortable it feels. This is going to be a grand journey.

12:50 p.m. - I crack open my pop and take a nice big swig. Another great song comes on the radio. Nothing beats the open road.

1:05 p.m. - I'm on the Interstate. I set my cruise control to six miles above the speed limit. I settle back in my comfy seat, tilt the rearview mirror, and steal glances at the people driving alongside me. Life is good.

1:07 p.m. - I pass my first distance marker; Destination 179 miles. No sweat. I take another long swig of pop and cruise past a rest area. I don't need to rest. Rest is for sissies. A few bugs commit horrible acts of windshield suicide. This amuses me.

1:28 p.m. - My pop is almost gone. There's a slight tingle in my bladder. I pass a sign that says "Next Rest Area 56 miles." No problem. I can make that standing on my head (if I weren't driving).

1:35 p.m. - The radio station is getting a little fuzzy. It takes awhile, but I finally find a station that comes in clearly. It's 80's music, which isn't my favorite, but it will do for now. My bladder feels uncomfortable. Where's that rest area?

1:45 p.m. - I encounter road construction. A lot of road construction. Miles upon miles of road construction. For as much road construction that appears to be going on, there aren't many people working. I really have to go to the bathroom. If only I wasn't traveling at 30 mph. That empty pop bottle would make a suitable temporary bathroom. Get that idea out of your head right now!!

2 p.m. - I finally reach the end of the construction. I'm cruising again! A bathroom or rest area is now of the utmost importance. A large June bug splats against my windshield.

2:10 p.m. - I pull into a rest area and make my way gingerly to the bathroom. In the bathroom, I notice that the toilet paper is unbelievably thin. Why do rest areas have such thin toilet paper? And where can I get some?

2:15 p.m. - I get back in my car and take the time to locate a suitable radio station. I decide to purchase another pop before disembarking. And I'm off again.

2:23 p.m. - I lost my radio station and all I can find are country stations. How many songs about trucks can people come up with? It looks like it may rain. Good. A heavy rain will wash away the yellow bug carcasses from my windshield.

2:30 p.m. - It starts to rain, and I eagerly snap on my wipers. My windshield immediately becomes smeared with an impervious coat of yellow insect lacquer. That's just great.

2:32 p.m. - The rain stops. Now what am I supposed to do? I can barely see. And why are they still singing about trucks? That's it! I'm switching to tapes.

2:40 p.m. - I stop at a gas station to try to clean the bug goop off my windshield, with minimal results. I kind of have to go to the bathroom again, but not really. I'll wait until the next rest stop.

2:46 p.m. - I see a sign that reads "Next Rest Area 52 Miles." Is this some sort of cruel joke? I take a swig of pop in protest to the evil disbursement of rest areas. I regret the act almost immediately. This seat is so uncomfortable. It feels like stone.

3:10 p.m. - Waterfalls, rivers, streams, ponds, rain. Man oh man, do I need another bathroom! Wherefore art thou rest area? My music has become boring, but no stations are coming in. How hard is it to broadcast music? I decide to bite the bullet and listen to some guy sing about his Ford pickup truck.

3:11 p.m. - I turn off my radio completely.

3:20 p.m. - I arrive at another rest area and make small conversation at the urinal with some guy who drives a motorcycle. I'll bet he doesn't listen to music about trucks. He says it's been a long ride. I muster up my most manly "Yup." I then zip up and head back out to my car. I throw the two empty pop bottles in the trash and vow not to drink another drop until I reach my destination.

3:35 p.m. - The guy on the motorcycle passes me and gives me a thumbs up sign. I honk my horn. We bonded as only two urinal men can bond. His motorcycle is really loud.

3:48 p.m. - I'm so sick of this drive I could scream. My back hurts, my behind hurts, my head hurts, and this seat feels like spikes along my body. How many bugs can possibly seek out my windshield in a day? It's unfathomable. I've gone through about $25 in gas, to say nothing of the mental anguish of all the country music I simply can't escape.

3:57 p.m. - I reach my destination, and I'm greeted at the door by a very pleasant young woman with an award-winning smile.

"How was the drive?" she asks.

"Not too bad," I respond. "It was a little long, but overall it wasn't too bad."

Posted by Ryan at September 11, 2002 11:12 PM
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