This past Friday, I was getting ready to leave for the airport. With it being homecoming weekend at my college, the plan was to hop on a plane to Detroit, have my sister, Julie pick me up at the airport, then we would drive to Cleveland for the weekend.
About 30 minutes before I was going to leave my place, I got a phone call to turn on the news. Apparently some asshole decided that burning down the air traffic control tower and trying to kill himself was a better plan than being transferred to Hawaii (oh the humanity) or, I dunno, LOOKING FOR ANOTHER JOB PERHAPS? So of course, on the one day in over a year I actually had a flight to catch, and of course in Chicago of all places, all flights were grounded and my flight had been cancelled.
I couldn’t get a hold of my sister and I sat there twiddling my thumbs with a debate going on in my head…..scrap the plans and stay home with the doggies doing what I do every other weekend, or hop in the car and start driving? I figured it was either a sign from the universe saying that I shouldn’t go, or else it was the universe’s way of testing me to see how much I really wanted to go.
Yeah…if they listened hard enough my neighbors would have heard a faint, “smell ya later suckerssssssssssss!!” in the wind as I drove away…
The good news is that I didn’t get to Detroit much later than I would have if a-hole hadn’t screwed up my flights. The bad news is that on a 5.5 hour roadtrip by myself, it tends to go something like this:
Hour 1: Anxiety, white knuckling the steering wheel as I pass the highway signs that read “642 traffic deaths this year”, wondering if I accidentally drive off a cliff, how will they know where to find me? Damn, I’m gonna die…
Hour 2: Ok, out of the city, this isn’t so bad…how many more miles till I hit the halfway point? Nevermind, too much math.
Hour 3: Open road, smooth sailing, belting out the words to my favorite songs on Pandora, windows down, feeling free, damn I have to pee
Hour 4: Ok this is getting kind of old
Hour 5: Am I there yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet?
Hour 5.5: Eyes are bugging, pits are schweaty, ass is hurty, must. lay. down.
But I made it. And I got to see these little guys that I wouldn’t have gotten to had I flown.
I’m really not orange, my sister just bathes her babies in SPF 5,287 because she wants to see if she can make them see-through
And after a half hour rest, we hit the road again. I made her drive of course.
It was the first time she and I actually hung out without our kids in 3 years and I have to say, it was glorious. And on top of just the fun to be had roadtripping it with her, my delirium from the first leg of the trip lead itself to laughing fits with tears streaming down our faces – those moments in life that don’t happen often enough but when they do, you wish you could just bottle them up, stick them in a corner and save them for a rainy day.
That’s my 10-hours-on-the-road-delirium-and-I-forgot-how-to-smile smile.
We made it to Cleveland.
The weekend was absolutely amazing. Fun, memorable, unexpected; I got to walk around campus and relive some good memories, eat pizza with amazing company at an old haunt while laughing at the best human rendition of a crazy squirrel the world has ever known, do some people watching at the homecoming tailgate party and revel at the most amazing pair of jorts known to man, have a magical time and a crazy deja vu moment at Mentor on the Lake, count thousands of stars that I don’t ever get to see in Chicago, and have a great talk about life with my sister on the way back to Detroit Sunday morning. And then of course I got to see these sweet little boogers one more time which was awesome.
The trip from Detroit back home was uneventful and quick (I highly recommend the iPhone app Waze, it got me home 30 minutes faster and told me where every single sneaky cop was along the way), and when I saw this, I was happy to be back but sad my weekend couldn’t have lasted just a little bit longer (Mom, don’t worry, I was sitting in stopped city traffic when I took it. Ok, no I wasn’t.).
The weekend didn’t originally go as planned. Quite honestly, I don’t normally make plans for that exact reason. And I’m convinced this was the universe’s way of reminding me why.
Life lesson #475: Make life happen and roll with the punches, don’t burn down air traffic control towers and then tell the paramedics to leave you alone as you lie on the floor trying to unsuccessfully kill yourself ultimately earning a 20 year prison sentence and a lot of travelers who really REALLY dislike you, and you never know what surprises and fun you might discover along the way.
I think they should put that in a Hallmark card.