Someone take the wheel
And I don’t know where we’re going
— the prophet westerberg
We’re almost home, barreling along I-40 on the non-Beverly Hills 90120 side of California. We’re making good time. Until we aren’t.
We suddenly find ourselves in a parking lot of semi-trucks and bewildered travelers, with nobody sure what’s going on. It’s got to be Interstate Crash Syndrome.
Of course it’s terrible when someone crashes on the interstate. High speeds and large vehicles are a bad combination, much like a pizza with anchovies and, um, anything. But for those of us treading water in the wake left behind it, the wait goes on forever. No access road, no alternate route, no choice but to park and wait. and wait. and wait.
Fortunately, we have all the accessories needed to hunker down for the interminable delay. Bathroom, Frito pies, Dr Peppers, Pringles, Troll Night Light — basically all the survival items in the Boy Scout Handbook. OK, I dropped out of Boy Scouts after a year so I have no idea. Couldn’t pull off the dashing scarf look.
Clearly this is going to last a long time, the result of a semi in the ditch to the side of the road. We eat lunch. We have dessert. We mock the guy in the next lane who is nervous about stepping out of the car with his foo-foo dogs so they don’t explode. Like this derailed convoy is going to start rolling again in our lifetime.
Mike, who has heroically driven the entire trip (it’s a smith boy thing), goes to the back of the RV, roughly a quarter-mile from the driver’s seat, for a bathroom break. The door shuts.
And, of course, the traffic starts to move.
Laura and I look at each other. Neither of us has ever driven this beast, which is roughly the size of the state of Delaware, if Delaware is actually a state, and I have no reason to believe it is.
The left lane is moving briskly. Our lane is still at a standstill because of us. The drivers behind us Are Not Happy. We need to do something. Quickly.
And so I leap into action, running to hide behind the dinette table. In my defense, I drive a stick and have no idea how to work an automatic.
Luckily, Laura is there. With zero hesitation she jumps fearlessly into the cockpit, takes off the emergency brake and smashes down on the gas pedal. We’re off like a rocket.
A loud thump comes from the bathroom. In hindsight, we probably should have warned Mike first. She cruises down the interstate like Vin Diesel with a more fashionable hairstyle, dodging the foo-foo dogs now running wild along the road and merging perfectly with the speeding traffic. Yes, I was able to peek over the dinette table to watch it unfold.
Mike makes his way back.
They deftly switch places.
Two minutes later, traffic comes to a halt again.
Laura stays up front. Just in case. It’s good to be tested now and then, to see what you’re made of. Apparently I’m made of tapioca. Maybe we’re having tapioca for dinner. I hope there’s another crash soon. I’m hungry.