Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Want to See My Son

After a leisurely lunch, and a spirited drive around Moosic, Pennsylvania looking for a gasoline station, Brain Tail and I subsequently filled up on gasoline and Starbucks Coffee. My part in the drama was next; the transfer of the Shiner Bock from my trunk to Lacie's. We bid our adieus; she back to her upstate New York home, I to Newport, Rhode Island.

I hadn't planned. Not a jot. As I told you before, Lace had skillfully pre-planned our day trip to see "X-Files: I Want to Believe". Me? I just drove. I suppose part of me was on a Kerouacian journey, the spontaneous prose of travel. But the weather was fine, just me and my Honda man.

Aaaand a borrowed GPS system.
Aaaand a satellite radio.

Yeah free and cruising on the open road. Windows were open, Miklos Rozsa's beautiful score to Ben Hur was turned up. I was mistress of my own fate and I reveled in it.

Until I got closer to Newport. Did you know that Rhode Island is called "The Ocean State"? Yeah, I forgot:

  • And it was July
  • And it was Saturday
  • And it was 9:30 at night
  • And I didn't have a hotel room

My borrowed finery, that lovely GPS system, sported a nice lady's voice (with whom I bonded and named Clara). Clara guided me to a cemetery and provided me with a list of lodgers in the locale. Twenty calls later, still with no hotel room in my name, alternative plans were forming

Plan B: Go back over big $2 toll bridge, head north on 95, look for a hotel room

Plan C: Go back over big $2 toll bridge, head north on 95, find rest stop and sleep in parking lot (as Guest Blogger said later – this was not a bad plan; since only pedophiles and homosexual men cruised those parking lots, a 43 year old woman would be safe.)

Plan D: Save $2 toll, stay in cemetery, sleep in car, devise excuse for Rhode Island law enforcement official when Johnny Law came knocking on my door at 1:37 am

Plan E: Go back over big $2 toll bridge, head north on 95, don't stop until I reach home, disappoint my son, emotionally self-flagellate for own stupidity, never tell another soul. Live with the secret shame of my failure as a parent and Kerouacian traveler.

I decided that if the gettin' was good anywhere, it was across that $2 bridge. I drove and drove, took an exit here, a ramp there, ran in to some road work and eventually drove 30 miles for what I discovered the next day was really about 7 (Clara couldn't tell from road work). I found a Wendy's; I needed to pee and eat food. After doing both, I decided to sit in the parking lot and see if I could make Plan B viable.

Oh, yeah, and I prayed a lot.

"All things work good toward those who love God" which Google tells me is from the book of Romans. My prayers were answered, I found a hotel. I was fully prepared to spend $300 a night for a clean room and a shower. I was so desperate I would have spent that amount of money for a room at Flowered Schmonson's Hexpress if it had a lock and credibly hot water (which after that last experience, we all know are not guaranteed amenities for the Hexpress). Thankfully, I did not have to place myself in Schmonson's Peril; The Hampton Inn had one smoking room left, for $159 a night. I scooped it up, threw down my chicken sandwich and asked Clara how to get there.

By 10:30 pm, I was in a room that, while it reeked of cigarette smoke (I would have taken up the vice had it been a requirement) was clean, with lots of fluffy white pillows and bed linens. The water was hot, bathroom coffee maker was in evidence and while the radio didn't work, the television did. Not that it mattered; I checked in at 10;30, got to my 6th floor room, showered, established a comfortable room temperature, crawled into bed, saw nothing was on and was asleep by 11:10 pm.

Up at 5:30 am, I drank bathroom coffee maker coffee, got dressed and was on the road by 6:00 am. I eventually discovered the fatal error in my directions-to-chapel, typed in the address of the Naval Base from my memory (all those cards and letters I've mailed) and got to where I needed to be.

I got to see my boy.

1 Comment:

lace1070 said...

Glad you got to bond with said GPS unit ~ knowing me I would have NEVER made it through that construction zone. Think the scene from the office where Michael takes te GPS Barbie unit seriously ~ :) We soooo have to take a road trip together sometime ~ how about Tibet???

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