After a small hiatus, I’m in beautif- wait..actually, I’m in Chatham, ON. Where, if you don’t farm, you play hockey. And if you don’t play hockey, then why are you here? (If you don’t play hockey, you may farm).
It was a Tiger Woods’ length drive home, with some Elin-like scares. On a positive note, two hours before I wrote my final exam and hit the road for Chatham, I found a guy to take over my lease. Man, did I need that to happen! I’m no good at lap dances, so that money would be hard to recover. Always willing to try though. More than my work ethic earned me the nickname “Grinder.”
So let’s all look back at the drive home: (blurry wobbly transition..)
Pulled over twice in the first 6 hours in the U.S. Issue number one was, well, number one. I really had to pee so I picked an off-ramp and took it. As soon as I pulled off the main street and parked the car, the lights came on. Uh-oh. I nearly peed my pants.
“Hey there, may I help you?”
“Umm, no, I’m alright, thanks…?”
“I see you turned your lights off, everything OK?”
“Oh yeah, just fine. I was, uh, looking for a service center (centre) but it turns out this isn’t one.”
“And so why did you turn your lights off?”
“Oh I figured since I’d stopped, I’d finish my water here, so I wouldn’t be chugging it on the freeway (highway).”
*Even I thought I was muling drugs after that line.
“Mmhmm. So you’re alright then?”
“Oh yeah, great, ready to hit the road (road, same) again!”
“Mmm. OK then.”
At this point I’m aware that this guy is certainly going to follow me for a while. And he did. For maybe ten minutes or so, then he flew by me and I lost sight of him. Immediately I thought, this guy’s gonna wait at the next rest stop to see what shady thing I do next. And he did. As I drove up to the off-ramp I thought it’d be fun to get him excited, so I got onto the off-ramp for a few seconds, then at the last second swerved back onto the highway. (Don’t judge me.) Ten seconds later, he came flying back on behind me. At least he didn’t pull me over this time. He followed me for five minutes or so and gave up. Probably just ran my plates and found that I’d done nothing other than confuse a few border agents.
Or maybe he called ahead to Montana, because as soon as I crossed the state line, I got nailed again. Brokeback, Montana. This time I was trying to see if it was really Michael Myers behind me in the creepy old station wagon driving in 3° weather with the windows down. Why didn’t that guy get pulled over instead?!
The cop came up to the window and asked if I’d been drinking. No funny business this time, I thought. They’re losing patience.
He said, “I started following you because I thought you were speeding (incorrect), but then I said ‘Ooh, even better, he’s drunk!’”
I laughed and explained that I may have swerved a little when I was looking at the creepy truck in my rearview mirror.
“Can I have your ID and papers please?”
I glanced at them, got a little worried, then handed them over, saying, “so… that insurance might be slightly old… but there just might be a newer one in the glove box.” He took a quick look towards the glove box that was absolutely buried in boxes and bags from the move.
“I’m just happy you’re not drunk. Have a good night.”
Phew, that went surprisingly well. Especially since the insurance in the glove box turned out to have expired last year too.
When the sun came out in the morning, I pulled into a rest stop somewhere in Montana. Possibly the nicest one ever. I walked in and there were about 20 older people shooting the breeze (unknowingly flatulating) and having fresh coffee and cookies. I walked past and picked a random door. Each one was hiding a full-on luxury bathroom, with a window (Hey! What kinda place are you runnin’ here?). When I was on my way out, a man went: “Hey there, youngster! Would you like some juice or a cookie?!”
Unbelievable! Alas, I was too tired, so I got in the car and tried to sleep, but there was too much Bingo banter going on outside. Then, as I was driving back onto the highway, I spotted a quiet looking place to park, so I veered off and conked out. An hour later I woke up and the car wouldn’t start. Apparently I’d left the headlights on since I was planning on getting back on the highway… oops.
If I’d been in any other town, I’d have gotten help right away, but when I got out of the car to flag down someone getting on the highway, they all thought I was just being friendly and smiled and waved back at me. Ugh.
On the plus side, when someone stopped to help and didn’t have cables, I remembered that I’d packed my own and put them in the most easily accessible place so I wouldn’t have to dig through everything if I needed them. I owe that idea to Bob Sr.
“Ugh, just let me do it my way.” “Ugh, just let me do it my way!” “Ugh, you were right.”
When I made it to Detroit, nature came calling again. This time no cops to hassle me. Guess they were all busy. And when I pulled back onto the highway, I realized the GPS voice girl was drunk. But I was too tired to correct her, so I played along as she made me take the next exit, loop around to the on-ramp again, and take the same exit. THREE TIMES in a row. Sometime during the third loop, she had a big greasy breakfast and got her act together. After that, smooth sailing back to Canada.
Until the border when I fumbled as the guy asked me how long I’d been away for.
“Uhh four months I think.”
“You’ve been in the United Stated for four months?!?”
“No!” I’ve been gone for four months… Oh! that doesn’t matter, does it… well I crossed over in Washington…so…maybe three days?
I needed a nap.
After 50 hours, I pulled into the driveway, so many miles later that I felt like I’d just valet parked Cameron’s dad’s Ferrari while he was having lunch with Ferris.
And in keeping with this experiment, I slept for 7 hours, emptied the car, packed my bag, and left for Chicago with the two best accomplices you could ever find (hoping they’ll read this and buy me beer).
So now I take pleasure in being the only one to know the whole Chicago story, yet still saying:
“Suck it, reader. Patience is a virtue.”