Monday, April 02, 2007

Road Trip!

Kids these days!

They'll never know the glory of the family vacation like the rest of us experienced it. Nowadays--oh does that word ever make me sound like my hair belongs in a bun at the nape of my neck, skewered by a couple of knitting needles--kids travel in luxurious vehicles complete with their own I-pod jacks, specially cooled cupholders, reclining seats, and (this really kills me dead) DVD screens that magically fold down in front of them. Honestly, add their own laptops and Xbox game systems, the screens of which are built into the seatbacks of Mom and Dad's captain's chairs, and they are actually unaware that they have even left home. I could puke.

Case in point: each and every morning on my 2.5 minute jaunt to work, I observe the Catholic Family Van next to me. It contains The Children on their way to St. Wonderful School, which is a neighborhood school. No one lives more than about 5 minutes away from this school. Yet, there is a DVD of Barney or Dora the Explorer on the flip-down screen inside this vehicle every single morning. Now, I ask you: can these juveniles not be ripped away from these simpering characters for five freaking minutes? Are they even aware that they are in a car? And a moving one at that?

When I was a kid, we used to go on a family vacation every now and then. If it was a long ride, say from our home in NE Ohio to our cousins' in Gettysburg, PA, we really planned for it. That was a 6 hour ride, at least. We got our crayons and coloring books, we made score sheets for all the state license plates, and for those of us out of all four siblings who didn't get headaches reading in the car, we laid in a supply of Archie comic books and some Encyclopedia Brown paperbacks. Mom made us a bed in the backseat by putting the coolers on the floorboards and topping it off with blankets, and we were ready. If we were awake, we looked out the window and noticed stuff out there!

I wonder about this new batch of kids. They can crisscross the country and not see a thing but Grand Theft Auto and DVDs of The Wiggles and Harry Potter. To them, the countryside looks just like their livingrooms: a screen, empty cans, snack packages, and their parents' mouths moving.

Which all reminds me...

I'm going on a road trip!

My mother has decided that she wants to visit her sisters in Gettysburg, so I'm back in the back seat and headed east. With my sister. We're taking the old woman and dumping her off for a month. I figure this is the best way to get back in her good graces for never calling her. Ever. This should be good for...say, at least 30 phone calls, wouldn't you say? Mom said, "I know how you hate long car rides, Nance, so do take some Nice Pills or something, won't you, before you leave?" She knows me so well, it's almost as if she were my mother or something. So, I've promised my sister I will wait until we get out of my driveway before I start whining and asking "How much longer?" and that I won't put my feet in her face or say, "I think I have to--blaaarrrp--" and throw up as I'm telling her I might have to. Because I'm a grownup now.


It'll be fun.


  1. Anonymous8:23 PM

    Sounds like fun! Put Mom in the back seat with an i-Pod and/or a good flick while you and your sister enjoy the countryside, gossip, play car poker with license plates, read 'burma shaves' (oops, ain't none of those left), drink lemonade from a thermos and eat saltines so you don't get car sick.

    On a slightly more serious note, yes, I think it's worth at least a couple of years of phone calls. Consider yourself in your mother's good graces. And have a fun trip. When are you going?

    P.S. Go Buckeyes! If they win tonight, my Advisory gets a pizza party. Explanation to follow.

    P.P.S. I hate freakin' Blogger. Every time I want to post a comment, it takes at least 3 tries, each time keying in a new word verification, before it sends. Here goes attempt no. 3!

  2. I don't even think I'm old enough to complain about it, but I totally agree! I've seen worse than TVs in cars though...try a TV playing cartoons in a shopping cart! They have 'em at a Meijer near me.

    I almost don't want to have kids in this plugged in world. I want kids with imaginations! The ability to entertain themselves! Bah!

  3. Yeah, see, I'd totally prefer two zoned out electronically entertained kids in the backseat than two screaming banshees fighting over the last of the Cheetos. I am trying to drive and I don't care how many Indiana license plates someone spotted in the past hour. My next car will indeed be a rolling house with separate bedrooms and a jacuzzi. Totally.

  4. The best my kids get are books on CD/tape checked out of the library on road trips. None of us can read in the car, without getting woozy so that's all we get. Same with video games-- pukesville. So we listen to lots of music and sing loud, listen to books and look out the window. Movies are not even suggested. Instead we try to see what other people are watching in their cars and make fun of them. Our favorite road game is "What's in that truck?" We pick out one of those big rigs and invent crazy stuff that it could be hauling.

    While you're taking happy pills, you could slip mom something to knock her out. Then she can sleep on top of the coolers!

  5. Anonymous5:58 PM

    I've just spent a few minutes reading through your blog (aka, procrastinating) and I loved your posts!

    Good luck with the road trip, you brought back some great memories for me. You're so right: kids these days are missing out on so much! Pathetic, really!

  6. For some reason, I have absolutely no problem sleeping in most forms of transportation (automobile, bus, train, airplane, etc.). So when I end up on a roadtrip, I normally spend about half of it sleeping and the other half listening to the radio. Of course lately, I've been spending half of the time sleeping and half of the time rereading Harry Potter books. They're really the only books I've found that I can read over and over again. I know, this isn't something to say to an English teacher. But it's true.

    I think maybe at my age and maturity level, I might enjoy reading or rereading some of the books I was supposed to read in high school.

  7. Ortizzle--I detest Blogger also. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong when I carefully peck each and every letter with one finger and correctly, and still it will not accept anything. I'd turn off the verisign, but I end up with BotSpam. Thanks for sticking with it. Regarding the rest of your comments: I am sick of Ohio State. I never went there, so I don't hold any allegiance to it, but the people who did go there act like it is the acme of their existence and are quite tedious on the subject. I'm thrilled when OSU loses. And the Road Trip starts Thursday A.M. Oh My.

    jenomena--Are parents "plugged into" their kids anymore? I'm just asking.

    fringes--But see, the idea is that you don't care, they do. and make cheetos the prize.

    j.--oh, if only! mom is only truly happy when she is "the navigator." which is fine with me, since i am of the ilk that "if i'm not driving, i'm not paying attention to where we're going." i think my sister and i will be talking a mile a minute. it should be fun.

    girl and dog--oh, thanks so much for stopping by to while away your time! and then, for commenting,too. i hope you also come back and dig around in the "matters already settled" (archives) and read some vintage Dept. stuff. i even went to alaska back in july 2006 and blogged about it, so if you're into that, you might like reading about it.

    induced homomorphism--sigh. stop it. you know good and well you read the books in my class. don't make me smack you. or give you a quiz over The Scarlet Letter. Wait. I don't like that book. Make it Catcher in the Rye.

  8. Anonymous8:03 PM

    TIE REPORT: Nance! I found it! Brian Williams' tie! Silly me. I now realize that all I had to do was click on NEWSCAST and the letter of the day of the week in question.

    O.K. So... gold with little burgundy dots. It sounded like an impossible combination, but in fact, I found it rather nice when I was finally able to view it (it's hard to judge from the tiny little podcast window which doesn't allow you to enlarge it, at least not on my computer), but it actually does work, that tie. I can't opine as to whether this could represent his transition back to 'sartorial splendour' since I have not been following his other tie choices, but I will let you know as my tie observation skills become more finely honed.

  9. Ortizzle--

    Yes! I'm so happy! And, please realize that you can go back the ENTIRE WEEK AND VIEW HIS TIES. Also, please know that the day's broadcast is not available THAT DAY until after 10 pm. I found that out and was exceedingly annoyed. And the new tie report for today is up right NOW! I was typing it in as you commented.

  10. Anonymous10:06 PM

    Oh my God...that much time in the car with my mother would drive me absolutely batshit. You're earning that star in your crown.

  11. I can barely remember what we read in your class. I remember reading The Scarlet Letter and Catcher in the Rye. I remeber reading at least part of To Kill a Mockingbird, but I don't recall liking that one much (even though everyone else seems to remember it as one of their favorites from school). Oh, and Gatsby.

    Actually, I think I did read most of the books in your class. It's really eleventh and twelfth grades when I did the slacking. I know I didn't read any more than half of Lord of the Flies, and although I read Ethan Frome, I didn't get past the fifth page of the other book we read along with it (and the first page with words was page 3 ;-).

  12. Honestly I don't think many parents are plugged into their kids. Certainly not what I hear from my mom about her students. It's a shame!

  13. I'm not a fan of road trips. I'm asking how much longer before the car is in gear to start the trip. Yet every year my husband's family piles on a bus, parked in front of grandma's house, for the family reunion to some random spot in the US and I'm told that I MUST attend. To say is is chaos is an understatement. Everything is just as it is in the movies...hundreds of (mostly) black people arriving at the desination of the year wearing matching t-shirts complaining about EVERYTHING!!! I must admit, it usually is a good time, but there is a lot to be desired when you have to sit on the bus next to someone who really needs 3 seats for the 13+ hour bus ride to Myrtle Beach.

    Enjoy your trip!

  14. My road trip challenge is my pleasant and perky husband, who "narrates" the trip by commenting on everything that catches his eye along the way. He points all sorts of things out to the kids, forgetting that following his line of sight from the back seat in a car moving at 60 mph is next to impossible. So his first extraneous question is then followed by a series of "Where?" "What?" "I didn't see it!" and then a repeat (by him) of why it was worth seeing in the first place. Meanwhile, V-Grrrl the Smoldering Pre-Menopausal Heap of Irritation is thinking of her pleasant and engaged husband, "Why doesn't he shut up? Why doesn't he retire get a job driving a tour bus? Why can't we all sit silently stewing in Existential funk, no one communing with anyone else?

  15. wordgirl--oh, a crown seems too much. how about just a tiara?

    ih--you are really asking for it.

    jenomena--try to remember that it can be different for YOUR kids.

    nina--i know that the popular thing to say these oprah-intensive days is "the joy is in the journey" but guess what? it depends on the journey and who is along for the ride.

    v--thanks for braving blogger's COMMENT VERIFICATION HELL. and i know what you mean. my brother-in-law is like your husband. he once invented a song for car rides called "the and song." it consisted of these lyrics: "and i thought about the" followed by simply singing every single thing he saw strung together with the word "and" sung in a single repetitive note. it was a hit with the babies but not with anyone else. we still haven't forgiven him.

  16. Have a great trip! Will you be blogging on the road?

  17. Well I LOVE road trips...a chance to chat, listen to good music, and do some good thinking...I have one coming up next month in fact!

    As far as the kids, I will have to say that I am truly blessed and have kids who still know how to use imagination and improvise when need be. Their most prized possessions are their crayons and books, and they HAVE video game systems, but opt the other instead!

    I mean can you imagine a 7 year old running through your house with an old pair of shades on with his robe that he inserted a sword in at the nape claiming to be Blade??? Yes, yes, my children are quite the characters, and guess what? They still build forts/tents by draping bedspreads and sheets from the bed to the the dresser!!! I LOVE watching them in action...they have MY TOUCH (from when I was a kid) all over them!!!

    I hope they NEVER lose that and truly learn to continue to appreciate life in its "natural" form.

    P.S. Ortizzle~~I agree with you wholeheartedly on these frapping word verfications!!!!!!!

  18. anali--no blogging during the trip; we were too busy catching up with family and had such a short stay.

    tera--oh, the blanket forts! we used to do that, too. Hey! what was a 7-year-old doing watching 'blade'? hmmmm.... ;-)

  19. Yes, those forts were quite a treat!

    I let my children watch lots of things (of course Parental Discretion is advised) within certain limits. I am not a person who buys into the media hype that things on TV and (rap-since that's all they ever seem to target) music is 100% of the reason why adolescents do what they do. Now don't get me wrong, there are certain things I don't allow them to watch or listen to, but I think the fact that they are terrific and brilliant children is positive reinforcement for me and a strong indicator that I am doing my job and on the right track with regards to raising them.

    As I grew up, I was exposed to some SERIOUS stuff (probably 75% of which I would NEVER allow them to be exposed to), but I am glad, because I think that is why I have a good balance of "street smarts," "book smarts," and good old fashioned common sense :)


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