Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Want to Go Home

At the Naval Base, inside the compound.

I was treading above the surface in a sea of shorn Officer Candidates in tan uniform. My senses were bombarded by the sights and sounds of men and women greedily consuming coffee and goodies from Dunkin’Donuts. The young men all looked the same, but my mother-eyes searched for my son. He wasn’t in the room. I waited.

He finally came in at roughly 8:30 am. He seemed eager to introduce me to his particular friends; the officer candidate that helps him fold his clothes, the other young men in his class who endured the same Drill Instructors, those same officer candidates who had not passed first inspection either. I listened to stories of boot camp, what this D.I. said, how that recruit had a melt down and left and I watched my always-conscious-of-his-fat-intake son drink 8 large cups of coffee and eat 2 ice cream bars, half a dozen donuts, one yogurt bar and three homemade chocolate chip cookies.

We talked about how he loves what he’s doing, how he’s excited about his future and what it all means, how he’s part of something much bigger than he and how it fills him with awe. I let him use my cell phone to call his friends allowing him to touch base with people who’s friendship and affection have a new meaning from where he now sits.

My visit with Adam was fleeting, wonderful and worth every hour of the drive up. But the ride home was a &*^%$ nightmare.

Upon leaving at 11:30 am, I stopped at a nearby Mexican restaurant just on the other side of the traffic circle, ordered a quesadilla, charged my phone for the long ride home, and changed my clothes. Clara and I talked about the ride back. I consulted my mapquested directions, which concurred with Clara's suggestion. I was to drive I-95 N, then S through Rhode Island, Connecticut, NYC, New Jersey, Maryland and then on to Virginia.

Anyway, the &*^%$ nightmare. Once I got on 95 it started raining hard – a glorious thunderstorm with dramatic lightening and sheets of rain. A storm that backed up traffic. At least I thought that was what backed it up. Until I maintained speed at 25 mph through Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York City and New Jersey. Stop and go the whole time with occasional bursts of 0.8 miles long at 40mph. Kill. My. Self.

I had to stop once for gasoline – a full service station where 20 cars were lined up along the five rows of pumps they had going. Once I reached the pump, though gasoline jockeys were in evidence everywhere, no one came my aid, so taking matters into my own hands, I got out to fill up. I swiped my card…tic…tic…tic…tic…system is thinking…..I didn’t mind, I was enjoying standing up and moving around actually.

Then a skinny employee gave me the crazy-eye and decided to welcome me to his beautiful State of New Jersey in the way of his people. He pushed his face into mine and declared firmly; “If you put an American Express in there it won’t work!"

Quick as the lightening that decorated my drive thus far, out of my bra I whipped out my visa and flashed it at him; “It was a Visa."

Frustration wafted from his every pore. “WELL THE G-D SYSTEM’S DOWN!” and he started dry humping my gas pump and beating it's top in an effort to spur the pump into life. No lie. After 3 very long seconds of humping and as I watched in horror, he stormed the perimeter of his world shouting, “System’s down!”. Fortunately my pump started working. Perhaps it had been seduced by the hump.

I pumped my gas, and as my receipt printed, my aggravated little friend came back over to declare: “System’s still down!” I left.

10:30 pm. Ten hours. Ten hours it took me to get home. Home, finally, Sunday night, exhausted and sore and knowing full well that I’ll never, with the full consent of my will, drive on I-95 again. I walked in the door, hugged my daughter and went to bed.

Nineteen hours of driving. I saw a movie, I saw my friend, and I spent three hours with my son. I’d do it again in a second.

I'd just book a hotel room in advance...and I'll never stop in New Jersey again.


lace1070 said...

seduced by the hump ~ love it!

gpaoni said...

Yup - ever the perfect mother who would do anything for her son. Someday he may even realize how special that is!!!

And BTW - I am right there with ya! ANYTHING for my kids.

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