Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Thaksgiving 2018: Day 1

November 20th

I decided to go visit my brother, Shotgun Bob, this Thanksgiving.  I spent the previous two days cleaning the house and packing, and arranged for my Christian neighbor, Next-door Sandy, to feed and water Danté.  Big Mike was kind enough to stop in every few days and make sure the place hadn't burnt down, flooded out, or been burglarized in my absence.

I got a late start, around 9:00 AM or so, but I didn't forget anything.  My intent was to avoid Chicago, but I forgot that Garmin and Google Maps have separate minds.  I followed Garmin and ended up in Chicago.  While traveling the Illinois tollway I tried to move the sun visor around to the side so as to block the morning sunlight, and the thrice-damned thing fell off.  I was traveling I-90, East of the big windy.  I crossed the river and got off the tollway to deal with the problem.

The Big Windy

The sun visor is attached to the ceiling by a wire, which is part of a vanity mirror set into the visor.  I pull off and get the pliers out of my toolkit (which Main Lady gave me years ago).  The pliers are the old fashioned kind with a wire cutter at the fulcrum.  I snip the wire, then follow Garmin back to the Illinois tollway.  If the local PD knew what I had in my car, they'd call in three SWAT teams and an air strike, but I'll tell you this: I was very glad to be armed.  I finally get back to the tollway and head for the Big Windy.

Traffic in the big windy is crap.  Some segments are bumper to bumper at 3 mph.  Other sections are 50 mph or better, then traffic stalls out again and resumes stop 'n go.  I sit back and relax as it's going to be a long epic.  While I'm relaxing, some little SOB cuts in front of me.  I get his picture, complete with license plate and advert for a taxi company.  I'm going to complain about him.  The space in front of me is not for him to use; it's to maintain as assured clear distance from the vehicle in front of me, and to provide space to allow me and the people behind me to keep moving, which is how you get through traffic like this.  This incredible little hose head decided he owned the toll road.


By the time I'm through the traffic and out of town, it's dark.  I stop at the old Belvidere Oasis for fuel and food.  Fuel's easy.  For food, I have to find a parking space, then park and walk.  The wind has picked up and rips right through me.  I get a slice of pizza and a Pepsi (they don't have Coka-Cola).  There's nothing in the world like Belvidere Oasis pizza to fix your digestive tract.  If you're constipated, make sure you remain within 50 yards of a flush toilet for the next three days.  Suffering the Nixon Two-Step?  One slice of this will put you right for three days or maybe even longer.  Just don't say I didn't warn you.  The only people immune to the side effects of Belvidere Oasis pizza are truck drivers and teen-age boys.

I sit at the window on the overpass and watch the constant stream of cars pass by; an endless river of Detroit iron, vig to the banking system, spent fuel, tired drivers, and potential insurance claims.  This last puts me in mind of the health care industry, the myriad medical claims that insurance companies refuse to pay, the endless hours spent on the phone talking to obstructive customer assistance associates by people in pain (physical and emotional), the occasional moment of complete despair when the rest of the family learns that the bread winner bought the box condo in the Big Windy.  The family truck is now junk and we still owe 37 more payments.  If there's any life insurance the bill collectors will start swarming around like impatient vultures, and the funeral home wants their money up front.

For a typical family of five, help will vanish.  The in-laws and outlaws won't have the room or the time to babysit three kids, and frankly there are a few of these close friends and relatives who couldn't be trusted with a box of dead flashlight batteries, much less three traumatized children.  One way or another, everything just keeps rolling along.  Mom might start dating again, the kids will grow up without a father, but I suppose there are worse things.  They'll have to make do with Uncle Paul, a retired railbird who helps them with their math homework and offers up political opinions that get the
oldest sent to the principal's office.

I finish the pizza and chase it with Pepto-Bismol.  I've got a long drive in front of me, I'm not getting any younger, and the clock is running.  I wonder how many of those drivers down there are getting a blow job from the old ball and chain.  I wonder how many guys reading this have ever gotten a blow job late at night while driving on the highway.  I wonder how many women reading this have ever... nah.  Women don't read this blog.

By the time I hit Mad City I'm well and truly beat.  I call my brother and tell him I'm checking into a motel for the night, then I try finding one.  The deal is that Mad City has changed since I was there last.  More and better roads, for one thing.  By Garmin and Divine Intervention, I find a Red Roof Inn and get myself a very basic room for $60.  Dinner, which is a burger and onion rings, is $8.  I know I put a small bottle of Old Thought Provoker in my luggage, but I can't find it anywhere.  Oh well.  I watch a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory and imagine I'm a brilliant scientist who has cracked the cold fusion problem, and everyone loves me and thinks I'm brilliant, and President Trump calls me on the phone and congratulates me and invites me to the White House for dinner, and then there's this drop dead gorgeous blonde that looks a lot like Penny, only with half the morals and twice the imagination, and then... some SOB out in the parking lot lays on his horn and wakes me up.

There's a domestic going on, but it's a brief domestic.  With a string of curses in Spanglish and threats of physical violence, the guy takes off before the police get here.  The woman spits hatred in his
wake.  I turn the TV off and go to sleep, thinking that if I were truly ambitious I'd haul out my pistol and put a couple rounds into the air, just to get everything straightened out.  But then someone might call the cops, and the fracas would start up again.  Back to cold fusion.

End of Day One


glasslass said...

Yes we do read this blog as to the other I take the fifth.

Mad Jack said...

Oh holy smoke.

Okay, I stand corrected.