Last Monday, Hick and Val made another car trip. Half of the way together. You know what THAT means!
Hick drove Genius's dent-repaired Mariner out near college town to give it back to him, I followed/then led, in A-Cad, and we met Genius and a friend to have lunch. Then Hick drove A-Cad back home, with Val riding shotgun. Let the record show that Val was still smarting over Hick leaving her hanging in Casey's on the way back from the Oklahoma trip one week previous. But she tried to let Hick turn over a new chauffeur leaf. She tried.
As lunch was wrapping up at the tater patch, Val excused herself from the table to use the facilities. Hick had done so at the beginning of the meal. Delicious taters devoured, leftovers boxed up, two large Diet Cokes sipped for Hick, and one for Val, we were ready to hit the road for our return trip.
Along I-44 for 10 minutes until our winding blacktop turnoff, we chatted about Genius and his west coast trip. About The Pony and his ear. About how it's sad when they both return to college.
"Except for my internet! The Pony stayed off of it, but Genius was only there for a day and a half, and he used 40% of my monthly allotment! Now I have to limit myself, or pay ten dollars for more to get me through the month if I run out."
"You should get out more, and you won't NEED so much internet!"
We had been having a perfectly good conversation up to that point. This is not one off-hand comment from Hick. He is ALWAYS telling me what I SHOULD do!
Let the record show that there are many things I tell Hick that HE should do, but those are just things to guarantee his survival. And mine. Let the record further show that Val would never dream of telling Hick, "You should spend more time on the computer, instead of running around buying flea market junk." OR "You should stop spending all that money on lumber and tin for your sheds, and go buy scratch-off tickets instead." Nope. That's what he likes to do. We each have a weekly allowance to use in the way we see fit. I'm not the boss of him. I don't forbid him from leaving the grounds. In fact, I encourage it. Out of the goodness of my heart, you see.
On the other hand, Hick has, at various times, told me that I spent too much time walking (as exercise, around the yard and barn field, where he could keep tabs on me at all times), too much time going out to supper (once a week, with my mom, for two hours, over a period of about 6 weeks until the iron foot was put down), too much time watching football (the NFL on Sundays, college on Saturdays, during the couple of years that I won the local newspaper's weekly football contest TWICE, at $100 prize money each time), too much time reading (while sitting in the house, on weekends and evenings), and too much time playing team trivia (with a team of teachers from work, about 4 times per school year, on a Saturday night from 6:00 to 9:00). Let the record show that these TIME-CONSUMING activities were not concurrent, but in different phases as each was banned. And that the house, meals, and boys were not neglected, although Hick had to keep an eye on the boys during the yard-walking and trivia. But they're his kids, too, right?
Sooo...back to the car trip and Hick telling me to get out more...
"You know, I would never tell YOU to spend more time ON the computer. Just like I would never tell YOU that you should stay up until 3:00 a.m., and sleep until 9:00. But you are all the time telling me that I should go to bed early, and get up earlier."
"Come on, Val. That's not normal for a man and wife to go to bed at different times."
"AHA! There it is EXACTLY! MAN and WIFE! You see me as your property, to do with as you wish."
"No. Husband and wife, then. We should share our life. Do things together. For each other."
"I do things for you. When's the last time you did anything for ME?"
"I don't know. But you don't do anything for me, either. You never do anything for me except make my food!"
"Oh, how about the 3 or 4 times a week I put soda in the fridge for you, because you're too STUPID to do it for yourself, and never have any cold soda for supper?" (Okay, perhaps that was a bit harsh. As you might expect, Hick objected. But I had a counter argument.)
"STUPID? I'm not STUPID!"
"Oh. Then you're just LAZY! You KNOW you'll want cold soda, but you don't put it in the fridge on purpose, because you figure I'll do it for you!"
One of these days, Val is going to learn not to poke the bear while the bear is driving on twisty two-lane blacktop. But Monday was not that day. Hick put the pedal to the metal, and just about ran us off a curve. Pardon my body for flinging into the door and then rebounding back into the neutral space between driver and passenger. And gasping from nearly having the breath knocked out of me by slamming into A-Cad's armrest.
"FINE! YOU drive!"
"I DID! On the way out here!"
"Yeah! You drove 65 and 70 miles and hour!"
"Oh. Like you're doing now?"
"I want to go first on that road! You'll go too fast and leave me! (Let the record show that Hick did this in a prissy, womanly falsetto, which I suppose was meant to be a mockery of my request to be the lead car on this section of the drive.)
"I must have been going the right speed. There were 4 cars ahead of me, going EXACTLY the same speed, 60 miles per hour. So I guess it was NORMAL!"
"I'm done. There's no talking to you!"
"Yeah. THAT'S normal! Like this morning, when I agreed to go your way out of town, when we were getting gas, and I told you, 'I don't know the road to turn on if you get ahead of me.' And you chuckled and said, 'I won't get ahead of you.' WHO DOES THAT? THAT'S not normal! You STILL didn't tell me the name of the road!"
"You are on that road all the time! You should KNOW the turn. I'm not going to say, 'And then you turn left on such-and-such road.'"
"BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW IT! You always use the Garmin, and you have no idea of the road name!"
"Oh, I really used it today, didn't I?"
However, the details of our loving repartee are not the main point here. The main point is that again, because of his fit of pique over Val's not-normal car-passenger behavior...Hick careened as fast as on his bird-killing trip. On the same roads, AND, rather than leaving me standing in the middle of a Casey's Convenience Store while he hid behind A-Cad...he buzzed right past that same Casey's at 30 in a 20. Right on by. Didn't even turn his head to look at it. I'm shocked that I didn't feel the car's vibration from him shaking with mirth at this figurative nose-thumbing, bird-flipping, "EFF U!" to Val.
Let the record show that we always stop at Casey's for the bathroom. But not this day. Let the record further show that 12 minutes up the road, Hick pulled over at a roadside park. He left the car running, opened his door, stepped his feet onto the snow-covered road, unzipped, took IT out, and peed. Like a racehorse.
Don't think I was letting this shot across my bow go unanswered. I had the cannon ready.
"You did that on purpose! You didn't even stop at Casey's so I could use their bathroom. You know I can't go here. You did it to SHOW ME! To get back at me because you don't like hearing how I don't want to be controlled by you."
"Oh, sure. I did it on purpose."
"You DID, and you know it. We always stop there!"
"Sure. If we've been traveling for hours and hours. We went by there only 40 minutes after we left lunch."
"Forty minutes PLUS your Goodwill shopping spree where I waited in the car. Besides, YOU just had to go. So much that you pulled off and peed in a park. THAT'S real normal, isn't it? Exposing yourself."
Hick had made himself my judge, jury, and executioner. He had judged that Val was not fit for the basic human right of a place to pee, determined that Val was guilty of daring to question his authoritay, and executed the driving maneuver that swept her past the last toilet in 36 miles.
Don't you worry about Val, though. She really didn't have to go anyway. She went at lunch.
Sometimes, it's just the principle of the matter.
Let the epic record show that both Hick and Val survived the trip, and neither has any permanent scars to show from it.