I like road trips. And I like my Grandmama. So when I got in the car with my parents this past Saturday to drive to Anderson, SC and back in a single day, things should have been copacetic. We had snacks and the word jumble that we all enjoy. What could go wrong?
The first sign of trouble came when my mom casually mentioned that we should stop by the Charlotte Ikea on the way home. If you would like to see me pitch a fit of epic proportions, casually suggest swinging by Ikea three days before Christmas on the way home from a seven-hour round trip. I threw myself between the two front seats where my parents sat and said “No” about seventeen times. I think I kicked the ceiling. My parents, never having been to an Ikea, still think I was overreacting. I beg to differ.
After settling great Ikea dispute of 2012, my mom said, “We are making great time.” The words ominously echoed around the car, a genie begging to be put back into the bottle, demons refusing to be returned to Pandora’s Box, and my heart sunk.
I am not terribly superstitious. I wish you wouldn’t say “Macbeth” in a theater. I’d prefer not to discuss whether or not I’m going to get a job right after an interview or audition. I feel comfortable knocking on wood whenever a horrible or great or risky thing comes up in conversation. But for the love of all things holy, never, ever say the words “great time” if we are in a car together. Forget a car, if we are travelling together using any method of transportation including walking, do not say those words. You have just unwittingly ruined the trip. Call ahead to whoever is expecting us, because we will not be there on time.
We got through to my Grandmama just fine. We had a lovely visit, met the physical therapist she has a crush on (she could do better), and talked of times past*. My parents and I enjoyed delicious Subway sandwiches. And then we hit a wall of traffic on I-85 that didn’t let up for our entire trip home.
*Talking of times fast comprised of discussing all the lovely Christmases we’ve had in South Carolina, all of which involved sending us kids outside to run around the house after dinner until it was time to open presents. It’s why I don’t like to run to this day.