Let's begin with the same introduction that prefaced this three-part series:
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
I present, for your entertainment purposes, the following vignettes from our latest trip. Today, Part Two of THREE.
As VAL is My Witness, I Shall Never Eat While Driving Again, so She Will Feel Bad That I Go an Hour Longer Than Her Without Supper!
When The Pony isn't traveling with us, Hick and I rarely stop for a meal. Hick likes to make good time. He kind of reminds me of Robert Duvall in The Great Santini that way. We even have to get up and leave before daylight. On the way back from Oklahoma, we eat the free breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express (in fact, we wait an hour later to leave because it doesn't start until 7:00 on the weekend), and then pick something up at a fast food drive-thru for lunch, and I hand Hick items as he requests them.
So you might imagine my surprise when Hick asked if I wanted to stop and eat. It quite possibly may have been the first thing he said to me since I dared to have money ready for the turnpike toll before he asked for it. We had since traveled three hours and made a rest area stop.
"Do you want to stop for lunch."
"No. I'll wait until we get off the interstate and get gas at the Casey's. I'll have a slice of pizza, like when we brought The Pony home."
"Unless YOU want to stop. If you want to stop, I'll have a soda. I don't care."
"No. I'm good. I don't need anything."
So we went on up the road, and made another rest stop, and Hick got another snack and another soda, like he had at the first rest area. I did not, since it was only a little more than an hour and a half until we would be getting gas and my pizza slice.
Hick still had a bee in his bonnet about me not paying attention, I suppose, because he drove like a bat out of Not-Heaven. He didn't talk, and if asked a question, he snapped like a pond turtle after a small perch used as bait. We had turned onto two-lane blacktop and were halfway to gassing up when Hick's absurdity overflowed in response to my comment about our supper.
"I was going to suggest picking up a pizza in town on our way home, but since we're getting something at Casey's, I guess that won't be necessary."
"I CAN'T EAT WHILE I'M DRIVING, VAL!"
Said the man who stole TWO bananas from the Holiday Inn Express breakfast bar and peeled them in the Acadia while driving 55 mph though Oklahoma towns, tossing the peels out the window, making us a bigger spectacle than we already were, what with his sweaving and our out-of-state plates. The same man who opened a Snickers bar and a 20 oz bottle of soda from the rest area while driving 75 mph on the turnpike. The very same man who TILTED HIS HEAD BACK TO SHAKE THE CRUMBS FROM A PACK OF BAKED LAYS INTO HIS GAPING MAW WHILE MERGING ONTO THE 70-MPH INTERSTATE after the second rest area stop. Let the record further show that Hick does not have vision in his left eye. The one that would check the mirror for traffic with which to merge. And instead relies on his right eye to peer over there into the side mirror. The right eye, which may possible be obstructed by an upturned Baked Lays bag.
Yeah. Hick can't eat while he's driving. When he's punishing Val.