is asking people to tell the stories of their greatest adventures (and giving away killer prizes. Just saying.) I have no delusions of winning said contest, but since I have never read One. Single. Harry. Potter. Book. Ever., I thought I'd try my hand at entering.
My gut instinct was to write about my stumbles through parenthood, or my marriage, but then I asked myself, "really, self? Have you done NOTHING of interest? Think, dammit, think!" And so I thought. And came up with nothing.
I am the most boring human alive. Really, besides that one border-hop into some very suspect town in Mexico to buy cheap cigarettes and Valium a guitar for my kid, I've never actually left America. I did move to Canada, however, and our first two months here were actually quite adventurous and exploratory, but in a very family-friendly, corporate-sponsored hotel suite sort of way. Not a hell of a lot of grit there.
Just as I was ready to drown my sorrows in a glass of White Zinfandel*, I remembered that Hey! Once I did that thing, and it was totally awesome! Who knows if it will translate on paper, but for the entire Harry Potter collection, I'll give almost anything a whirl.
Way back in the day, when I drove a fast car that I paid too much money for, and wore a size Barbie, and worked at a gas station because I look hot in polyester brown pants, my best friend from high school and I decided that we could not go one minute more without a cheesesteak. FROM PHILADELPHIA. I asked my boss for a week off, and she told me to shove it up my ass, and I returned the sentiment, and off we went.
We had about 30 hours to prepare for our trip, but since we were both suddenly sans employment, that was no problem. A quick oil change, a rocking mixtape, a trip to the store for Saltines, spray cheese and some of those Arizona teas with Ginseng and honey, and we were set.
Snafu One; I bet you can squeal like a pig: We hit the road in the early hours of the morning from Denver and made it to Nebraska by that evening. We crashed at a friend of her family's house, and the next morning made the push from Nebraska to Pennsylvania. We got stopped at 4:30 in the morning on a pass in Nebraska for going 75 in a 60, just like EVERY OTHER CAR ON THE ROAD THAT DIDN'T HAVE OUT-OF-STATE PLATES, and officer Deliverance who pulled us over, possibly to rape us and hack our city-dwelling asses into tiny little bits in the Nebraskan darkness, asked where exactly we were going so fast. "My grandfather died last night," Eva squeaked out through the most awesome, Oscar worthy fake tears I've ever seen on a human. "Grrr" was all Officer Deliverance said. And then that fucker searched my car. SEARCHED it. He found cans in the trunk and said, and I quote, "Ah-ha! Beer! I knew it!" to which Eva replied, "Um, dude, apple juice. I'm Mormon." To which officer Deliverance said, "Grrr. Well, if you hit a duur going 75 miles PER hour, it'll go clear thrugh your WUNDSHUD." To which I replied, "Not too likely on a main street in the middle of morning rushhour, homes." To which he replied, "Grrr. Here's your ticket. GET OUT OF NEBRASKA."
(I hate that asshole aside: That's the one and ONLY ticket I've ever got. Better not be on my permanent record.)
Snafu Two; We like the cars, the cars that go boom: We did indeed get out of Nebraska, and fast (suck on THAT, bitch) and Megadeth and caffeine kept us hopping until the PA border. We spent the night on Eva's uncle's ranch, in farm country, and early the next morning we set out for Philly. At which point, I hear a boom. We drove a little more and saw some smoke coming from my exhaust. We drove a little more and heard a grind. I did what any savvy, totally able to take care of herself in the real world girl would do; I stopped and called my daddy. His solution? "Throw a quart of oil in it; you'll be fine."
I threw a quart of oil in it, and then another when we got to the best steak shop in the history of the world, and then another at my friend's house in Delaware, and then another once we hit Maryland, and then another once we passed DC, and then when we got to Eva's still very much so alive Grandfather's house on Cobb Island in Maryland, the little car that could, couldn't.
I somehow managed to get the car back up to DC and into the Mitsubishi dealership, and they gave me an estimate of 2 days to have it checked out. Funny, I was supposed to head home that night. OOOPS. So, there we were, Eva, me, her brother who met us there, and her grandfather, stranded on an island on the Potomac. Poor. Abused. Us.
Turns out, I found a way to get the turbo in my car to explode. Like, there was almost nothing left of it. And I had a MONTH left on my warranty. So, an overnight stay at grandpa's turned into a week long stay, complete with fishing, crabbing, eating fish and crabs, driving around in little golf carts, learning to love cole slaw, sleeping on piers, writing, reading, baking apple pies, and so much laughter, I don't even know how to tell you.
(Tragically karmic Aside: Grandpa died shortly after our visit. Yes, I totally blame us. And Officer Deliverance. Asshole.)
Snafu Three; Living on reds, vitamin C and cocaine: We left Cobb Island early in the morning and since two were now three, and we had a really zoomzoom new turbo, we decided to drive straight from the bottom of Maryland to the middle of Colorado, through Tennessee. Because I-70 is for pussies. With nothing but spray cheese, saltines and Arizona green tea with Ginseng and honey. The idea was one drove, 2 slept. Except, yeah, we had They Might Be Giants and Megedeth. And were wired like crack whores. Somewhere in the middle of Memphis, we all had a dehydration and sleep deprived moment of divine illumination. In other words, we all saw god. Maybe it was just Elvis, who knows? Either way, the rest of the trip home is a blur. I do remember the New Mexico deserty area, where I won't even get into what I thought I saw in the haze.
We made it home, but by the grace of Elvis, and I've never slept quite that soundly in my whole life. Every muscle hurt, I had no vitamins left in my body, and both my front cars speakers never worked properly again.
But, a few months after that, I met a boy named Josh and had a litter of children with him, and now the most exciting thing I do every day is watch a new episode of Wonder Pets. The next time I will be childless enough to try something like that, I'll be way to sensible to even think about it. But once, at least once in my whole life, I did something totally reckless. Something downright stupid, something that had no point at all, that cost me more money than I had, that was a complete waste of everyone's time. And it was GLORIOUS. I wouldn't trade those two weeks for anything in the whole world.
(In retrospect aside: My car insurance was totally lapsed the whole time. Stop looking at me like that.)
*Kidding. No matter how suburban sell out I get, I will never drink fake wine.