Last week I survived trial by fire to emerge triumphant, though embarrassingly dirty, in our quest to leap out of poverty and into the comforts of the middle class. Also, I learned that people are totally polite in New York City, or at least in the surrounding suburbs.
I have a promise of a visit into Manhattan this weekend, hopefully. I better see rudeness, I was totally promised snide behavior and am a little disappointed.
I’ve officially had 3 people say, “Oh, wow, she must be such a sweet baby to be so good on the trip,” at which point she beams with delight for she thinks she’s a pretty-princess-angel-baby, but I have to fight laughter because I know she’s a pretty-warrior-princess-monster-dinosaur-wrestle-maniac, and who on earth said she wasn’t screaming half the time?
At one point we were so relieved to see a rest area where she could run wild for a bit that the son and I took a photo to commemorate the occasion.
Joe got to ride with the bird and the dogs, he was still exhausted from driving down here followed immediately by lots of heavy lifting and way too many errands. It seemed more kind to keep the baby with me.
We left about 10pm on Sunday and arrived about 10pm on Tuesday, though we did have a 12-hour break in a town called White Castle, in I forget which state because hell I was so tired when we started the trip that I forgot my shoes in Tulsa.
I didn’t have a clue where we were pretty much 90% of the time, and I stared at the back of Joe’s car co much that I wouldn’t be surprised if it started showing up in dreams. Probably very surreal dreams where I’m drifting or lost.
When you’re exhausted and need to stay alert, I recommend stand-up comedy over music, most podcasts, and audio books. The variety in sound and speech patterns kept it from getting too repetitive and soothing, the laughter kept my adrenaline going and the mood up. Even the baby seemed to be enjoying our laughter, occasionally.
When the baby was at her worst, I switched to noise-canceling headphones and soothing nature sounds of birds singing in the daytime. My son was a tremendous help, working hard to soothe her while I focused on driving. I owe him, big time. We had the back seat packed tight, next trip I’ll make sure to seat him next to her and pack the front seat instead.
If it was a family trip with enough time to relax, it would have been way better. If we had twice the time and not as much stuff in our way, we would have been able to stop at tourist attractions, stretch our legs and chill. Alas, our schedule wouldn’t allow it, but at least it’s over.
I also kept getting disappointed that I didn’t have time to play in the weeds. Unfamiliar plants that I had a strong suspicion on what they might be kept tempting me along the road side. I would have loved to snap a few pics and grab a few seeds around the rest stops while the toddler ran her little monster butt into the ground.
All discomfort and frustrated travel wishes aside, it was so fulfilling to watch the trees and hills zoom by, running through places with familiar names and enticing mysteries. I totally wanted to plunge the secrets that Hershey, Pennsylvania held. Watching glimpses of towns zooming by is a daydreamer’s best friend.
So, the trip was too short and too long. When I woke up Wednesday morning to a knock on the door, I answered it feeling oddly hungover and filthy. My butt-length hair was a wild unfettered wreck, I was covered in sweat because the new place has window unit air conditioners and the one that cools most of the house is broken, and (best of all), because I am last on the needs list like a proper mother, I still hadn’t had my turn in the shower yet. In fact, I wasn’t even sure where a clean change of clothes might be.
It turned out to be my awesome upstairs neighbor who is an artist, a scholar, and a gentleman. He graduated from culinary school, and is putting the finishing touches on a book of poetry. He was polite enough to not be noticeably shaken by my fat ass running around without a bra on in filthy Hello Kitty pajamas. He gave me a picture frame as a housewarming gift, and offered to cook us dinner sometime.
I might be forced into displaying manners. I better study. I should re-read I Like You, by Amy Sedaris.
P.S. – I now belong to that exclusive group of people who have been told multiple times that their accent is charming, but we ourselves know we actually sound like hicks back in our home town.
P.P.S. – I’ve lost count of how many times Joe has told me how much weight I have lost. Even better is the fact that if I hadn’t been working so hard, moving and a long road trip like that would have had me convalescing on a heating pad for a few days, instead of contemplating picking up some beer to take the edge off the pain while I continue unpacking. Hiking, you will be mine.