Thursday, January 5, 2017

Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Been, Nobody Knows My Quarrel. (PART ONE)

You haven't truly lived until you've ridden to from eastern Missouri to central Oklahoma with Hick. A journey of at least nine hours, sometimes more. Let the record show that Val does not do highways anymore, and she especially does not do turnpikes. She has Hick for that. And as a grateful passenger, she is always ready and willing to lend a hand to assist her driver. A driver who does not fully appreciate her selflessness.

I present, for your entertainment purposes, the following vignettes from our latest trip. Today, Part One of THREE.

You'd Better Pay Attention, By Cracky, Or I'll Give You Something to Pay Attention About!

There is a section of the drive where we employ the turnpike for a few miles. It's not like we seek it out. Our route merely turns into it. One minute we're barreling down I-44, and the next minute we're entering a toll booth to pay tribute for our journey. It's not a lot. Four dollars. And several miles later, when we exit, we get a two-dollar refund.

When I'm with The Pony, I always have the money ready for him. He also has a stash of ones in his console, for quick access. On the way back, riding with Hick, I asked how far it was to the turnpike. I didn't have ones, but I had a five stashed in the side of my purse. Hick said it was a couple hours up the road.

I nodded off and on, as much snoozing as could be done with my head whipping back and forth like an out-of-control metronome, and slamming off the headrest like a rubber-banded paddleball at the stoplights in the small towns. I kept note of the time, and stayed awake as the zero hour approached. I recognized the truck stop where we met The Pony to bring him home for Christmas. And there was the toll booth up ahead, to the right.

I fished the five out of my purse. It was one of those floppy bills that look as if they've gone through the washer and the dryer and a rock tumbler that has smoothed millions of years off the jagged edges of quartz to make a smooth oval pendant. I shook it by the end, trying to get it to lay flat upon my left thigh. Let the record show that at no point did that five-dollar bill cross the imaginary line that bisected my side of A-Cad from Hick's. If Lucy had painted a line down the middle of the Acadia's interior, that money would not have violated Ricky's half.

Well! Hick came unglued! "I can't take that now! This is NOT the place where I need the toll money. So stop waving that at me. We only get a ticket here. We pay on up the road."

"I'm not waving it. I was getting it ready. I don't know where you give them money. This is a toll booth. I figured it would be soon."

"You make this trip all the time. You know where we pay the turnpike!"

"No I don't. I have no idea."

"Well, you'd better LEARN!"

"How far is it?"

After several repeats of my question, and several bouts of Hick's passive-aggressive silence, he snarled, "TEN MILES."

"FINE! I don't want this money to bother you until then." I put it in the glove compartment so it wouldn't be tempting Hick to take it off my leg and hold it for 10 miles.

Funny how less than two miles later, Hick pulled into a toll booth. I didn't want to repeat my previous faux pas. Maybe he got another ticket here. He didn't say he needed the money. We puttered along behind a big truck and three cars. Hick stopped at the tollbooth. THEN he leaned over and extracted his George-Costanza-bloated wallet out of his back pocket and proceeded to hold up the line while he fished around in it for four dollars.

Let the record show that Hick has made this trip at least 8 times. A campus tour, an enrollment trip, The Pony's orientation camp, move-in weekend, a Sooners football game, the Thanksgiving return trip, the Christmas pick-up, and this trip. VAL has made this trip 3 times. Orientation camp, move-in weekend, and this trip. YET SHE IS SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHERE TO PAY TOLLS, EVEN THOUGH HICK GIVES HER FAULTY INFORMATION!

Oh, yeah. And we were a bit later getting to that turnpike, because Hick took a wrong exit a couple hours back, yet didn't bother to mention it until I asked why we had reversed direction and were heading back west, on the other side of the divided highway we had just traversed.

I think that must have been my fault, too. For not paying attention.

14 comments:

  1. Val--Oh, your Prince Charmer is just as charming as mine is.

    I'm always wrong, and am so lacking, it's amazing I even survived before I met him.

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    1. Do you get that little chuckle? Like, "Oh, you poor stupid thing!"

      EVEN WHEN YOU KNOW YOU'RE RIGHT?

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  2. Hmmm. I know what I would be called for that kind of behavior...it rhymes with twerk.

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    1. It's enough to make me want to keep my snacks well-hidden.

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  3. Isn't that the law; everything is the wife's fault?

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    1. I think it's nine-tenths of the law...

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  4. Mr. Grumpy Pants! Made me remember the day we moved here. HeWho was in the lead vehicle, the motor home, I was in the middle in my VW bug (oh how I miss my little bug) and our son's buddy was driving the big moving truck behind me. We stopped for fuel right after we got on I-70 near Kansas City. We all had two way radios to communicate and as HeWho entered the wrong lane to get back on the interstate, I notified him immediately ...... that we needed to head EAST, not WEST. He did not pick up my call, or should I say repeated calls and we all ended up going the wrong way. In retrospect, I should have just let the idiot go the wrong way without me, but I was afraid my moving truck would follow him and not me. My son called as we were merging onto I-70, heading in the wrong direction, to see how things were going. After I told him, he said to me, "Mom, why are you not in the lead, you are not directionally challenged?" I was in the lead after we turned around. HeWho told Jason that he was pretty sure that was how you got back on I-70 at that exit .... it was tricky, that exit.

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    1. We even had the GARMIN! So Hick has made this trip 7 whole times, and on the 8th one, he takes a completely different exit. THEN, when questioned, tells me it was only 3 miles our of our way, when I had been watching marker signs, and knew it was over 10.

      That's because I was paying attention, even BEFORE he yelled that I needed to!

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  5. Perhaps your faux pas was actually a fans pas.

    I made that trip several times to visit my son when he was stationed at Fort Sill. It's a long journey, the highlight of many trips was stopping at the huge McDonald's and hoping to find my way back to the car.

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    1. We stopped there on one of my trips. Just for the bathroom, though! Hick and HOS and The Pony have eaten at that McDonald's. It looks impressive, hanging over the turnpike like that.

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  6. SWMBO and I don't make long drives anymore. Together. Wonder why?

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    1. You know, I was only trying to HELP Hick to have the toll ready.

      You'd think I had followed him on a trip to our offspring's house to cat-sit!!!

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  7. I can't decide if you and Hick are a well-oiled machine or a machine in desperate need of oil.

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    Replies
    1. One thing's for sure...when they manufactured us, they threw away the mold.

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