Like a death march, only in a car with tolls and arguing
It always seems like a good idea to go and it is so exciting to arrive-all those first sightings along a familiar drive as the sun comes up around New England. Crossing the bridge with the signs that says “Desperate? Call the Samaritans” I love that sign and it was the first thing I saw that signified coming to the Cape for the first time. On that May afternoon in 1992 I had just finished driving for 3 straight days with two other adults, one dog and three children in a minivan from Orlando FL. No one had pooped in three days, the dog smelled, I was sick of road food and my back hurt. It was awful. We arrived and I unpacked the car and got everyone settled and then I headed to a bar. Any bar for a drink because I might murder them all if I had not.
For some reason this original car trip has set the tone for most drives back and forth to the Cape as long as they have involved children. Prior to children I could smoke and drive and listen to loud music and drive as fast as I wanted to stopping only if and when I felt like it. No biggie. Long but no biggie.
Conversely now I dread it like I dread the dentist. I know I have to, I actually kind of want to because its good for me and the family and aren’t we lucky to have health care coverage-I mean relatives who live in such a lovely place? I am exhausted upon arrival but we have mastered that. We are up at 3am and arrive by noonish. No traffic, plenty of time to do stuff, take a nap and eat good food with family that same travel day.
Driving home can not be mastered. I am driving home from the Cape’s bitch. It’s impossible to get up that early while actually on some kind of vacation-it just seems wrong. The family wants to see us off. We always, well I always think that it won’t be so bad. I will craft some type of magic route that shaves off 100 miles from the trip and POOF! we will be home in no time. It’s about 500 miles. Through NJ, NY and CT. All of which suck for various reasons and at varying times. The trip “should” take about 9 hours and we can usually make it 9 hours if we leave at 3am.
We left Boston at 1130 in the afternoon and did not arrive home until 11pmish. My threshold for losing my shit in the car and just stopping and sleeping somewhere was 1130pm. It was also torrentially raining through most of the worst traffic in NY and NJ along with crawling cars across 4 lanes to get to the Tapanzee bridge. It took us 75 minutes to go about 15 miles. We did that stopping thing about 3 times along our drive. I seriously don’t know how my husband who drove the whole way did not just kill one of us for breathing. I wanted to kill one of the children if they asked me for anything other that a cloth to staunch the flow of blood or water to extinguish flames.
I was so tired I could have easily murdered a kitten if it meant I could sell my soul to get the fuck out of the car. I told the children if they did not stop talking full stop I would do something undisclosed and horrible to them that would incur lasting consequences related to pain and crying and burning of remaining presents that we did not transport to the Cape with us.
And my husband snored the whole time, every night and I couldn’t sleep.
I only pooped once in 4 days and drank and ate so much I still feel ill.
The bright side was the town was deserted, it flurried briefly while at the Stop and Shop which is always the A&P in my mind. There were no cars driving down Commercial street and the kids and dog and spouse and I walked where ever we wanted. Spawn and I went for a walk to take the dog to poop (lucky bastard) and we sang loud carols the whole way and wound up at my family’s bar and my father in law poured me a drink and then we walked back home again. I hugged and kissed my great-grandfather in law who is such a curmudgeon I think they invented the word for him-because they knew he would be born. We were taken to the BIG CITY in Boston for an amazing night of Peter Pan with the 360* theater company and stayed at the oldest hotel in the country which was very swank. I felt like Paris Hilton walking my tiny fluffy stinky dog out of the elevator and through the revolving door. My in-laws treated us to an amazing holiday and we are so grateful for such fun memories and I am ridiculously thankful (like WHEW!) that my in-laws like our kids and want to be around them. They did all the dishes, fed us like kings, paid for our stupid dog to stay at the swank hotel and then stood outside freezing when the kids begged to go ice skating at the Frog Pond on the Common.
The drive home ruins all of those happy memories and because I know it will be horrible I dread it like crazy.
I think I can heal, if the children just don’t talk to me for a couple of days. I am actually glad to go back to work three days in a row to get the fuck away from them and their raging case of the GIMMES and CANIHAVES.
Vacation is over. No one is watching now. I can do whatever I want because I am the grown up. So there. (zerbert).