It was a GREAT road trip.
Right up until the projectile vomiting started.
But let me back up a bit. There’s a section of interstate that runs through America’s Heartland that could be mistaken for East Las Vegas Show-Me style.
In the span of 10 miles there are about 156 adult/XXX stores offering everything from videos to lap dancing to LIVE NUDES (as opposed to dead ones because I guess that would be gross) and gifts that are sure to delight the special pervert in your life.
It was a couple of weeks before Christmas, so as we drove by I had a brilliant idea. “Hey, why don’t we pull into one of those adult stores and get our picture taken?” I pointed out the window. “We can use it as our holiday card. Kinda like ‘Merry XXXmas to all!’”
And...uh...that’s when my husband almost crashed the car. “Are you serious?!” he asked and jerked the wheel back to the left to avoid the fast-approaching ditch.
Apparently he was astonished that his prude of a wife would actually suggest it. Especially with her in-laws in the car. Who’s the prude now?
“Sure!” I answered. “Why not? It’d be funny.”
He quickly scanned the road for the nearest exit and just before reaching it...I chickened out.
“OK, maybe that’s not such a great idea,” I waivered and pointed to our 4-year-old son in the back seat. “Especially with you-know-who with us. Division of Child Services probably has those places under video surveillance. We stop in and next thing you know we’re on an episode of ‘Cops.’”
“Hey, I like that show,” my husband said.
“I know you do, babe, but that doesn’t mean you want a starring role.”
I was saved by the bell when my mom-in-law’s cell phone rang.
After the usual hello’s and how-are-you’s we heard her shriek, “You found WHAT in your hotel room??!”
OK. Now that’s a sentence that is definitely gonna catch a person’s attention. It’s like shouting “Fire!” in a theater or hearing “Does this look infected to you?” from the guy sitting next to you on the airplane.
And - fortunately - it was enough of a draw for my husband that he blindly drove past the exit for the last XXX store.
After a few minutes of chit-chat, she hung up the phone to be greeted by silence from the other four passengers in the car.
“Soooooo,” I said, trying to sound casual even though I was dying inside, “who was that?”
Long story short: friends who were also traveling had checked into a motel. Not having made reservations, they found themselves staying in an establishment perhaps more suited to adult store patrons than a place where a group of respectable retirees would normally spend the evening.
A member of their group likes to take a quick inventory of the room after checking in. Upon lifting the skirt of the bedspread she was greeted with the sight of a pair of underwear beneath the bed.
As if that wasn’t enough to make you toss your cookies? It was a DIRTY pair of underwear.
Now, how she got close enough to verify that fact I don’t know. I don’t wanna know. And - if I could - I would take a screwdriver and drill it into the part of my brain where this recollection currently resides.
Holiday lobotomy anyone?
Three hours later, I still had the shudders. And had put at the top of my To Do list when checking into our own hotel room was definitely Canvass Room for Dirty Underwear. (Thanks for the lesson, Patty).
But before we could reach our destination that evening we’d have our own inaugural event.
In a way, I suppose we were lucky our son reached the grand age of 4 before dealing with a rite of passage most parents dread: carsickness.
But a little warning would have been nice.
There we were happily watching movies. Giggling. Talking about the hotel we planned to stay in. Indoor pool. Video games. He was such a happy little traveler.
And then quicker than Tiger Woods can pick up a cocktail waitress, my son turned his head and puked.
Again and again and again.
OK, I thought. Road trip over. Let the holiday lobotomy begin.