Happy Birthday Honey or Why Didn’t She Kill Me and How I Almost Killed Us: A Story in Seven Parts

Part 1

Leave-takings and highway-side humor

It can be a dangerous thing to drive on the freeways. I don’t mean dangerous in the mortal sense. In that sense it can be dangerous to do just about anything. I refer to the danger of missing out on random experiences and chance encounters.

Allow me to back up before I begin. I recently planned a birthday trip for my wife, the caveats being it would be a place neither of us had been before, one activity would remain a secret and we would never, ever drive on a freeway.

I’m rather happy we took the poet’s advice, however, our paths diverged between corn fields and cattle ranches rather than forking in the woods.

Our drive began peacefully. There was singing along with the radio and idle conversation. We pointed out houses we liked or buildings that looked haunted. We slowed to a crawl as the highway ran through the main streets of small towns and sped back up again as single pump stations and one floor town halls receded in the rearview mirror. This became a cycle; nearly hypnotic. It was the third town we slowed down for that broke our trance and caused us to nearly laugh ourselves off the road. We passed a cinder block building fronting the road. It was painted white and, although I noticed no professional signage, it appeared to be a garage of some kind. Nothing funny about that, but as we drove by we saw, spray painted on the pillar between the roll up doors, the words “no public restroom” and under that “no peepee”. We laughed until we cried; a possible mortal danger to be encountered on any driving surface, I suppose. My wife found it funny for her own reasons, I didn’t ask because we were laughing together and that is all that mattered to me. I laughed because I wondered what on Earth could’ve happened to cause someone to hastily spray paint a “no peepee” warning on his place of business? Why not make a presentable, polite sign of some sort? And what sort of person patronizes a place that has this commandment hastily spray painted upon its façade? I surmise it cannot have been a single occurrence. If someone once urinates upon your building would you not simply run the offender off and grab some bleach? It certainly wouldn’t occur to me that this might become such a problem that I’d need a quick warning to curb further offenses. I say he must’ve often stepped out for a breath of fresh air to find some transient making use of his front door’s lack of facilities.

Shortly after this we stopped for gas and, after watching some folks fuel up their farm truck, I dubbed them country roughers. I did this not to poke fun at them. Farmers are respectable folk and much needed for our infrastructure to maintain itself. Farming is dirty work, though, and they looked as if they’d been doing much of it so, since the opposite of city is country, and we were out in the country, and since the opposite of slick is rough and therefore the opposite of slicker, rougher I called them country roughers. I think the statement I made to my wife was something along the lines of  “We just fueled up the van next to a couple of country roughers.” We had another good laugh and as it was dying to breathless fits of ab-burning giggles I submitted to her that I considered she and I to be a couple of suburban semi-smoothers. We hadn’t the ab strength left to laugh again. Maybe it just wasn’t funny.

We saw some windmills and other such. Old barns and horses and before we really realized it we were pulling in to the construction riddled limits of the city we’d come to visit.  They have a frontage road the likes of which I’ve never encountered before. The gps said to make a sharp left onto Kellogg road. There were two left turn lanes and I suppose I should’ve understood the physics involved in the assumption that the inside lane would’ve equaled a sharper left turn. In my defense, I’m not a physicist and my brain was coming down from several laughter induced endorphin dumps and so we had to turn into a gas station and then make a not-so-sharp right turn to get to our hotel. We realized then that the frontage road had, as my wife called them, “wonky” built-in U-turns so that the traffic lights could be avoided. On our many ventures from our room into the city she would advise me when to “wonk” left.

And of course, our room wasn’t ready quite yet. So we wonked out and ended up in Cowtown.

This completes part one.

I bid you Adieu…and A don’t

Adieu…take the slower route when you can. Maybe it won’t always be worth it, but when it is the memories you make can be priceless.

A don’t…stop to urinate upon the holdings of some poor entrepreneur. It’s not only rude, but in many municipalities, also illegal.

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