for creative non-fiction, travel writing (meant to be funny and lighthearted).. rough.
A Cox Family vacation rarely passes without some sort of catastrophe. Of course, by "catastrophe," I don't mean loss of life, limb, or life savings. Rather, our catastrophes are the ones that occur when one has a brand new Tolkein book and a new CD that one is eagerly anticipating devouring with enjoyment, but one's dear, dear mother sits in the front seat chatting ceaselessly, even reading every road sign to keep her mouth moving without end, which, of course, cuts through one's headphones and torments one to tears... one, of course, meaning me.
“Hattiesburg, 125 miles. Speed limit 65. If that woman down the street doesn’t clean up her yard I’m calling the city. McDonald’s. Shell Gas. Speed limit 65. Oh! It’s 60 through here! You better slow down or you’re gonna get a ticket! Super 8, next right.”
Then, of course, Dad cranks up the big band and 1940s music, drowning out the sweet melodies of Relient K singing “Useless” with strains of “Put another nickel (When I think that I can’t) nickelodeon. All I want is (say that I’ll get through) music music music,” and “Mr. Sandman, bring (When February rolls) Make her the cutest that I’ve (turn a cold shoulder to these even colder skies).” I’ve had nightmares with this scenario.
Soon, I find that I've been reading the same paragraph for the past hour. To my utter dismay, I further discover that I don't know what one single sentence even said.
The trip grows more interesting when our wheels take on the six+ lane highways. Mom's hand, which already is seen frequently hanging from the handle above the door as her eyes roll far into the back of her head, is now permanently attached to the helpless piece of plastic. Finally, the chatter has subsided and silence falls (to my sheer relief, as I at last begin to doze), only to be shattered as she screeches at Dad for being closer than 20 feet to another car.
“You’ll kill us all!”
Well, good-bye sleep.
Naturally, we arrive and return in one piece (not counting my frazzled sanity).
After about eight years of carrying us safely to and from excursion destinations, the car is showing signs of evident way-too-tense-mother abuse. The single most telltale sign of the woman's terror is the poor handle, which, unlike its other three counterparts in the four-door Chrysler, now perpetually hangs limply in the down position. The spring that draws the others back into place has died a grisly, noisy death in this door. If I push the poor thing back into its original position, it promptly falls limply back down.
I love my parents dearly... until we're on the road, that is.