Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Handcuff me to the passenger's door...

I want to start this story off with a disclaimer... I adore my ex-FIL! He has a heart of gold and is the sweetest thing. For purposes of this story, I'm gonna blog-name him Fred.

Took the kids up to visit Fred and Flossie, their father's relatives. It's about a 3 hour drive, not counting potty stops. They had a great time and two of them decided to stay for a week. Gramma was gonna take 'em to the rodeo, cousins were there....irresistible to 50% of Children, ya' know.

Well, the subject of visitation came up and I offered to take Fred to visit the ex in his long-term armored residence. So we spent the night and got up at the crack of dawn properly fortified with water bottles and BIG cups o'coffee.
As we are climbing into the Crown Vic, Fred "happens to mention" the fact that he has "molar degeneration" and begins to describe the symptoms. For those of you who don't speak Fred-ese, he's talking about Macular Degeneration, an eye condition that severely impairs the vision of those affected. Did I mention that he already has nerve damage in one eye? Here's when I begin to get a little nervous...

After a quick trip through Mickey D's for a treat that Flossie would NEVER let him have for health concerns, we take off. Down the Highway. In a style best described as "meandering". Speed limit is 65. So the cruise control is set on...64 1/2. Which, if you know ME, You know that this will make me CERTIFIABLY INSANE. I'm more of a "Push the limits 75 1/2" type person. But I take a deep breath...I can handle this! I can handle this! Ooooohhhm, Oooohhhm.

Truck speed limit is 55 in our state, which means that we passed ALOT of trucks...but no cars. Unfortunately, one of Fred's "health concerns" that cause him to be banned from Fast food, sugar, starch and anything that contains even one micron of salt, also causes him to take advantage of EVERY... SINGLE... REST... STOP on the two hour drive. So we passed the same trucks at least eight times. I got to know some of those truck drivers on a first name basis...

Let me explain the "meandering"style of driving for those of you who have never experienced this adrenaline-inducing phenomena from a passengers' seat. I noticed fairly soon in the trip that every once in awhile, the drivers' side of the car would just slightly converge with the "fast lane" cars on the left. Now, normally, that would not be a problem, especially if one is planning on actually MOVING INTO that lane. Or if I was driving and going the same SPEED as the cars in the left lane. Neither of which was true in this case. By the end of the trip, I had a mediocre case of SIDEWAYS whiplash from jerking back into the slow lane (once he had realized he was drifting) and I am pretty sure I saw most of my LIFE FLASH BEFORE MY EYES when he unfortunately timed a "drift" into the middle of a motorcycle gang flying colors. They also flew the traditional "one-finger wave" at us...several times.

Again, let me say that I LOVE FRED. He doesn't mean to be socially challenged...he just is. He was a nerd before being a nerd was cool. He starts telling stories of his life and you might as well settle in with a good book, because, BABE, you're gonna be there awhile! His jokes are NOT funny...but we laugh, because we love him and don't want to hurt his feelings. He pretends to be angry and gruff in a teasing manner and NO ONE can tell he is teasing.

WHICH leads to the next fun episode of the day. He decides he wants to find this GREAT hamburger place he went to one time for lunch. Problem is, he wasn't driving on that trip. And he can't see well. And he doesn't remember the name of the place. Soooooo we drive around CowTown for awhile looking.
I'm trying to be helpful, but we're not working with an abundance of information here. Just "Good food and LOTS of it for only seven Bucks!". Hmmmm, OK.
So we go to turn and there are two 'tweens waiting to cross the street. He slams on the brakes in the middle of the intersection to let them go...which is nice albeit HAZARDOUS. But then he rolls down his window and YELLS AT THEM TO "hurry the heckUP! Move your BUTTS!". So one of them turns around and again with the one-finger-wave. You know, I thought he was serious, so I can understand how THEY thought he was serious. He hollers "That's RIGHT! And I deserve it! Cuz I'm a Cranky Old Man!" and he drives off...chuckling to himself. He thought it was a joke! He doesn't realize those kids think he is the rudest thing on the planet and I'm so mortified I'm considering getting out on the next corner and hitching a ride home with the nearest truck driver.
I probably know him anyway after passing him 10 times on the way over!

And then, the visit. It was hard. Something about medium security state prison facilities that give me the willies, you know. Must be all that razor wire...
Dad can't walk well, so we are shuffling behind our visiting group. I'm trying to hang back and "bridge the gap" but the guard is standing at the door tapping his foot and looking at his watch.
We make it to the visit room and sit down with the Ex. He looks good, lost about 150 lbs since I've seen him last. Mainly because all he does is exercise. What else is there to do in there?
Anyway, Fred starts talking. Two hours later, he stops to take a breath.
Then he says "I'm sorry, I'm monopolizing the conversation. You go ahead!"
"No, that's ok, Fred. You have right at it..." After all, what do you say to his son, someone who brought my life to ground ZERO, stomped my heart into the ground and scarred my children for life? There are no words to describe how I feel. See my point?
So Fred and Ex start talking about Math. I don't remember how... But I do remember they were discussing borrowing while subtracting fractions. SETS of objects. I'm serious...they were talking about SETS. Say "SETS" really loud...right now. Go ahead...I'll wait.
Do you see where this is headed?

Fred leans back in his uncomfortable plastic chair, puts his hands behind his head and announces VERY LOUDLY, "WEll, Let's just take a look at the origin of the word "SETS", shall we?"
Dead quiet in the visiting room. Every head turns. My eyes bug out of their sockets. Ex's mouth drops open. Fred doesn't even notice.
After another second or two, the crowd discovers that the subject is NOT what they thought they heard (e.g. SE*X) and they go back to their own visitors.
I scoop my eyeballs up off my lap and re-engage them...while trying without much success to stifle a case of the giggles. My face is turning red, biting my bottom lip hoping the pain will keep me from bursting into guffaws. Mouth and nose twisted together to try to hold the laughter in.
Ex just smiles and rolls his eyes with a slight shake of the head. Fred doesn't even realize what has just occurred.

Whew! I'd really hate for him to be embarrassed. Like I was.

By the time I got back to the homestead and picked up the two munchkins who were coming home with me, I felt a little more settled. Mainly because I slept most of the trip back. I didn't want to see the impending carnage and the stress of stomping on an imaginary brake in the passenger's seat kinda wore me out.
On the drive home, I shared some of the horror I'd experienced with my #1 son. He laughed so hard he couldn't breathe. Which is why I decided to tell you the story.
I made #1 Son PROMISE...Cross yer heart and hope ta die type promise...that if I EVER EVER EVER drive like that, he will handcuff me to the passenger door whenever he takes me for a Sunday drive. I don't want to cause him the grey hairs that I suddenly grew on that trip.

And I would hate to have my son run off and join the motorcycle gang that I had just driven into because he was embarrassed of my driving. If he's going to join a motorcycle gang, I want it to be for a GOOD reason...like women, booze and the feel of the wind in his hair.



Ambulance Driver said...

ROFL...any gray hairs from that trip, Janean?

Expat said...

I found your site by way of LawDog - I see I'm going to have to refrain from any type of liquid refreshment while reading your blog as I do his - just sprayed a glass of wine over the keyboard - drat!