Put four people into one car for a week, and you tell me whether anyone will be snatched bald at some point between miles 800 and 850.
The first day is all pedal-to-the-metal so you can get as far away from home as possible. You can tell by your kid’s breath what the current snack is and his kneecap keeps drifting into your back through the seat, but you don’t care because you have places to go.
Half way through day two, you realize that no teens have been looking out of windows at all. They are sitting in virtual reality with a full arcade at their fingertips and earbuds that have not transmitted a single one of your, “Hey kids! Look! More cows!”
They are happy.
Your job is to find cows and snacks.
Your job here is to adult, and you are not allowed to substitute an alternate reality for your current one.
So you maintain a certain amount of presentness in the form of, “Slow down dear, I present to you: The Speed Limit: 70mph” and awareness in the form of, “I am aware that you can drive just fine, thank you, but I’m not comfortable with all of us landing in the Gorge of the River Hades today”.
On day three it dawns on you that Hubby’s insistence on packing the car each morning, sweet as it was on day one, is actually a sneaky bid for world domination.
There is only one way to pack a car: his way.
If you attempt to load your little carry-on in the wrong order and it lands between his gigantic hanging clothes bags and his shoe bag, you will be court-martialed and the entire car gutted so he can begin at the beginning.
I’ve got my smartphone, my passport, my turns-into-everything scarf.
It’s a jacket, an umbrella, a blanket, a hat, a pillow, a skirt, a knapsack, a neck warmer and also a baby sling if I happen across a wee abandoned orphan near the duty-free.
It says, “This woman packs three things for a two week vacation.”
This time, I went wild and added some moose repellant.
Hubby packs everything he owns.
“You just never know,” screams his luggage between tightly clinched zippers.
The man enjoys his options.
You sit on the curb with a steaming cup of bad hotel coffee in a paper cup and chug it while he plays Jenga with the baggage.
Day four: I am the only driver allowed. Hubby can take his map and his smarter-than-I-am phone and his every-five-minute traffic updates and stare silently out the window looking for unicorns.
Fidget, fidget, fidget.
Sometime in the middle of day five, I see Hubby’s hand reaching slowly towards the A/C button.
With eyes steady on the road and in a Chuck Norris voice meant for a room full of eighth graders I say,
“Touch that, and I will chop off your hand and slap you with it.”
When we finally arrived at the Canadian border, I may have been a little sassy with the passport lady.
Maybe we resembled crazy-eyed terrorists by then, but we had fully discharged our explosives somewhere over Oregon.
“Go ahead and search the car, sister,” I thought, “but heaven help you if you don’t repack it correctly.”
Homing in on our destination, the kids popped briefly into reality.
“Um, what does that speed limit sign mean, Mom? What’s 100 km/h?”
“I have no idea and I don’t care. I’m making it up.”
Which is fair. They make money up here that could be any amount. Any at all.
“You’ll go to jail.”
This I know to be false. Cops in Canada ride horses.
They’d never catch me.
I am all done adulting.
Time to wrap up in a scarf, drink tea, and melt into my own alternate reality.
And believe you me, there are no cars there.