Friday, January 7, 2011

I, 65, take you, Heather....

I cried as I said goodbye to my family yesterday. At first it was because I was leaving home and people I love. But then I started thinking about all the soldiers who have left their families and homes and I started crying even harder. Outer Me: "Bye, Mom." Inner Me: "All those men in World War II lost their lives!"

I've been watching a lot of WWII documentaries and movies recently.

On my drive, I hit traffic just on the other side of Chicago. Then I saw a sign - you know, the kind that look like giant Lite-Brites - that said,


I thought maybe it was overreacting, so I continued to I-65. There were a bunch of people driving the same direction, so I conveniently forgot the warning sign and based my actions on what everyone else was doing (a wise way to live life).

Then I saw another Lite-Brite, and when I looked in my rear view mirror, there were absolutely no cars behind me. I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie and either zombies were coming to get me, or I was a zombie, or the rapture had happened. So I decided to do what I always do in time of crisis: I called my mother. She looked up an alternate route (and told me the rapture had not occurred), and I got off somewhere in Indiana. I reached for the GPS my father had named Betty and had given to me because he got a better one, and programmed in my route. Betty kept trying to get me back on I-65, and I kept telling her No, moron, I'm trying to avoid I-65!

Mom told me to take 2 to 231 and rejoin I-65 in 40 miles. Seems simple enough, doesn't it? It did until my dyslexic mind somehow translated 231 to 321, and I traveled a couple of miles in some direction hoping to see a sign. I looked over at the GPS and the little blue triangle that was supposed to be my car just spun in circles while flashing, **OFF ROAD**. I just shook my head and sighed, "Oh, Betty."

Luckily I had just created a playlist before leaving home entitled, "It's Okay That It's 2011," because I was sad to put away all my Christmas music. Doris Day and Frank Sinatra could make getting lost in Mordor a desired experience.

Doris: It's a lovely day today, so if you're going to be destroying a Ring, I'd be so happy to be doing it with you....

At one point as I sat at a red light and opened up a Reese's peanut butter cup, a mac truck turned onto my road and nearly clobbered my car. I actually had the thought, "At least I would have died eating a Reese's peanut butter cup." I would've wanted that as my epitaph.

And at a Flying J somewhere on 231, I discovered my mom had snuck a gift card to Panera into my wallet. Oh boy! I will always remember you, Flying J in Indiana, for that special moment. For the cleanliness of your bathrooms, however, not so much.

When I finally took the ramp to get back on the interstate, I wimpered, "65, I've missed you so much!" I rejoined just in time to drive through the stretch I like to call Whither the Windmill, and they waved goodbye to me as if they knew I was leaving for good.

My car (whom I named Dule, after Dule Hill, from Psych, of course), does not have cruise control. After it had gotten dark and I was only a couple hours from my destination, I passed a cop sitting on the side of the road and glanced at my speed to see I was going 15 over the speed limit. I assure you, this was completely accidental, and must have just developed, because I was very careful to maintain a proper speed the entire way. I resigned myself to getting pulled over, and imagined how the conversation would go:

Policeman Paul ('cause once when my mom thought someone was breaking into our house at 2 a.m., she called the cops and one of the officers that came had a nameplate that said P. Thomas, and he was very attractive, so I decided as I sat in my pajamas while he looked through our house that his name was Paul, and if I had to get pulled over, I would want it to be by him): Do you know how fast you were going, Ma'am?
Me: Yes, sir.
Policeman Paul: Could I see your license and registration, please?
At this point I would start crying, because

a.) the car wasn't registered in my name yet, since I had just bought it and didn't have the chance to change it,
b.) I don't even know where the registration is!
c.) my leg was aching after driving for 8 hours, and I'm scared of getting a blood clot,
d.) I've just left home for the first time, and
e.) so many men died in WWII.

Then Policeman Paul would let me off with a warning, since I'd never gotten a ticket before, and because he took pity on my poor little emotional self. He'd probably leave me by patting the roof of my car and saying, "Get yourself some help." Then I would drive off sniffling and vowing to buy war bonds.

I checked my rear view mirror for at least 15 minutes to make sure the cop wasn't tailing me to pounce just when I thought I was safe. But he didn't, and I escaped without a ticket. Dule breathed a sigh of relief.

Note to self: When alone in a new place feeling homesick and scared about the future, it is not a good idea to watch a war movie. I don't think war has ever been a suggested cure for anxiety.


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