Last Sunday we took a road trip in The Pony's little car, to see how long it would take him to get to the writing conference we're at today, this very minute, sitting and awaiting the bestowing of awards. Hope that didn't jinx anything!
As with every trip we've ever taken, whether to a basketball camp in Mississippi, a casino on the river, a Christmas Eve party at my sister the ex-mayor's wife's house, a Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's, a trick-or-treating quest (we live out-of-town, you know), a 10-hour college recruitment drive to Oklahoma, a day at the Science Center, a night at a Missouri Mines Historic Site to watch fireworks, or simply a jaunt to Walmart...Thevictorian family has a pooper
Okay, the trips to and fro do not exactly constitute a party. Perhaps we should say Every Trip Has Its Tripper. Someone to stir up ire and toss a monkey wrench into the works, before we even get the party started. As you might assume, that Tripper is Hick. Oh, don't worry. You most certainly are not making an a$$ out of you OR me when you jump to assumptions here.
Before we even left the driveway Sunday, Hick had started tripping.
"Go out the back way and turn right and go through Little Junkytown and turn left and you'll come out on D Highway, then turn right and it'll take you straight to the interstate."
"Um. I told him we're taking our blacktop road to K to D to Y to the highway. I drove it when I visited my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel, and it took me 30 minutes. When I took the OTHER shortcut you told ME, it took 35 minutes. In fact, you wanted me to go this way, but you said, 'You'll get lost. You'll never understand it.'"
"Well, you wouldn't."
"So why are you telling him this way now? YOU won't be with us Saturday morning. I told him the quickest and easiest way I went. Three main roads."
"Whatever. Just take me back now, then."
That's Hick's answer to everything. He'll take his directions and go home if he can't be in charge. I was riding shotgun with The Pony, and Hick sat behind him. He had a load of room, what with The Pony pulling his seat forward to drive.
"We are NOT taking you back. We planned on going to lunch at the Throwed Roll Restaurant, and we're going."
Hick showed us by pouting.
"He can try that way, but we're NOT going out the back way, because that alone took me ten minutes to go two miles, because of all the potholes and the sticks that crazy guy puts in the road. So we'll take the county road to your Little Junkytown. Then you can tell us from there until D."
"Do what you want."
Funny how I figured it out, and The Pony's Garmin kicked in about a quarter mile before we got to D. We were fine, and I reveled in the irony that the trip Hick's way took 35 minutes. We hit the interstate, all systems go. Five miles. Ten miles. Still not a peep from Hick. I turned around.
"Are you done pouting yet?"
Hick glared at me from the back seat, his jaw set. Just a scowl, and the glare from his glasses. I turned to The Pony at the wheel.
"Well, Pony, I guess the answer to THAT question would be 'NO.'"
The Pony steered his Nissan out around a heavily-loaded flatbed trailer. It carried 20 or 30 large gray concrete or metal saucers, tied down with 4 x 4 lumber and chains.
"Look at all those giant dog dishes, Pony."
"Is THAT what they are?"
"No. But I can call them whatever I want, because nobody is going to say I'm wrong, heh, heh! ARE you?" I tossed over my shoulder to taunt Hick.
"Um. Mom. I'm pretty sure he's asleep. Just like he was last time you asked him about pouting."
"He's not asleep. He's just being all passive-aggressive, trying to ruin this trip like every other trip we've ever taken."
"Mom. Look at him." The Pony nodded his head towards his rearview mirror.
I turned to get a gander at Hick with my own eyes. His mouth was hanging open, his gray goateed chin gaping about two inches below his gray mustache.
"Oh. He looks just like that nutcracker from the Mr. Peanut commercial!"
"I know! That's exactly what I was thinking!"
Every cruise has its cracker. And our cracker is Hick.