Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chicago Is The Biggest Noise In Illinois

When the child of a parent goes on a trip, naturally that parent worries.  The phone ringing is almost more dreadful than no call at all.  As the saying goes “No news is good news”.  There are certain phone calls that parent dreads receiving while their child is on a road trip.

Call One: “Mom, I ran out of money.”
I belong to a really great bank that has a really great fraud department.  If they detect any odd transactions on the account they freeze it, so no more damage can be done.  I was appreciative of this last year when a bartender stole my card information and attempted to use it while on vacation in France.
I was less appreciative when I was out of gas and cash, somewhere in Indiana, on a Sunday, when the bank was closed.
It was ok, though, because Catherine’s bank was less hasty in the fraud department and she was able to spot us cash until we got back to Philly.
It was not ok, however, for Mom.  She spent the entire day, and the next, trying to think of a way to wire money to me.  Apparently forgot to tell her that Catherine was rolling in it.

Call Two: “Mom, I locked my keys in the car.”
This one really kills me, because on my way out of the house I saw the spare key to my car and I thought, “I should bring this spare key and give it to Catherine, just in case...”  But then I thought that was a silly thing to do and left without it.
On the way home we were stopped at a McDonald’s on the Ohio Turnpike.  Mile 197.  Brady’s Leap.  You know the place.
Catherine stepped out of the car for a quick smoke, and I lounged back in my seat in the warmth of the car to wait.  She finished her cigarette and we went inside.  We pooped, we had McDonald’s, we pooped again (naturally).  We were walking out to the car and I realized I didn’t have my keys.  I immediately knew where they were.  On my seat. Right next to where my idiot butt sat, waiting for Catherine to finish her smoke.
Luckily, I have AAA.
Unluckily, it was in my purse, which was locked in the car.
I called my mom once again.  “Mom, I locked my keys in the car. Can you tell me the number for AAA and the account number?”
Frantic sounds came from my mother’s end of the phone.  “What?? What?? AAA??  I have that!! Umm!! How did-?? Here! Are you ready?? Write this!”  And she proceeded to read off the numbers to reach AAA and the account number on her card.
Long story short, the AAA Rescue Man came and fished the keys out of the car and we were on our way again.
An hour later I realized I hadn’t told my mom we were safe.  I gave her a call and told her we were ok and nearly in Pennsylvania again.  Relieved sighs and audible tears greeted me back through the phone.

Call Three:  “Mom, I’ve been in an accident.”
This isn’t a call my mom received.  But it’s a sight she was greeted with the morning after I came home and she went outside to go to work.  
I think “accident” is a harsh term for the slight hiccup that we experienced while driving my car.  We were driving down the road like people normally do.  Suddenly the police car in front of us was like “CRIME IS HAPPENING! ABORT VEHICLE!”, so they slammed on the breaks and leapt from their car gallantly.
We decided it was probably a good idea to get out of the area, so we turned down an alley.  We made it down one block.  On block two there was a car coming toward us, with which we excitedly decided to play “chicken”.  This being the Mid-West and its residents far less aggressive than expected, the opposing vehicle pulled over immediately.  But it didn’t pull over far enough and I was faced with a choice.
I could plow through to my left and scrape the car that had so kindly moved from my path.  Or I could lean slightly to my right and spank some trashcans.  I chose to spank some trash.  It didn’t turn out as I expected and rather than just dragging the trashcan along with us, as the physics in my mind projected would happen, the trashcan stayed firmly in place and snapped the mirror off the passenger side of my car.
It’s ok, though, because no insurance claim needs to be filed and clear packaging tape is working wonderfully at holding the mirror in place until I can afford a new one.

Really, parents.  When your kid is on a road trip, just turn the phone off, go to a spa, and forget you ever had kids.

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