Have you ever been stuck behind someone in the left lane on the beltway who is driving so slow that your GPS literally stops and reroutes itself? It doesn’t even detect movement—that’s how slow you’re driving. Then, a 90-year-old man in the right lane barrels past you. That’s the kind of three-hour drive I had on Friday–one way.
Driving really does bring out the worst in me. I go from Mary-fucking- Poppins to Satan after like eight seconds on the beltway. Slow drivers make me insane. The worst is when you’re stuck behind some guy in the left lane and there’s no one else on the beltway so you refuse to get over because you’re just trying to prove a point. That’s when I start fantasizing about fully automatic weapons and cannons because I just want to bomb the person in front of me. I literally turn into a full-blown republican. There’s a reason they’ve designated the right lane as the SLOW LANE.
I had a doctor’s appointment, and that’s pretty much the only place I would leave work an hour early and drive three hours to visit. Leave it to me to trek all the way back to Maryland for prescription medication, but honestly, I’m doing everyone else around me a favor. I don’t even like myself when I’m not medicated. ADD is like a writer’s worst nightmare; it had to be done. The drive should have only been an hour and a half, but it took a full three hours there and nearly two hours back. I’m tired, but the only thing I did all day was sit. And steer. And shift gears. Pennsylvania drivers are fucking exhausting.
On the beltway, they weave into the left lane driving four miles per hour and totally cut you off, like your vehicle has brakes from a jet plane and decelerating a full 76 MPH is no problem at all. You try to casually drive around them, but by the time you have your blinker on, every other driver within a five-mile radius is already flying past you. Now, you’re stuck behind five tractor trailers and a horse and buggy.
It’s totally ridiculous. Isn’t there a law against driving that slow on the beltway? I’m pretty sure it’s just as dangerous to drive slower than I can walk as it is to drive as fast as I do. So, what’s the deal? I seriously can’t wrap my head around it. If you want to drive so fucking slow that it hurts my soul, do it in the right lane. By all means, be my guest.
Once you get off the exit, you’re like, “yessss, finally, free…” only to find yourself stuck behind some other guy who’s stopped at a green light on his cell phone. Driving through town is even worse than driving on the beltway. It’s like a fucking obstacle course.
If you’ve ever played the old Nintendo game Paper Boy, you should have plenty of experience navigating this kind of terrain. But, it’s still pretty miserable.
First, there’s that guy on his cell phone. Then, fifteen minutes later, you make it to the next green light, where the ten cars in front of you are also stationary–only now, no one knows why. So, you honk. Then, they honk. No one moves because the guy at the green light is too busy rolling down his window and calling you names.
Apparently, that guy needs to follow me to the doctor’s office, because he’s clearly incapable of screaming at strangers while moving in a forward direction. It’s total chaos. There’s a woman and her dog slowly making their way across the busy road; there’s a fifty-foot long bus stopping every three seconds. If you think having to stop at a rail road crossing is bad, try being stuck behind that bus making a right-hand turn. It’s infuriating.
By the time I made it to the doctor, the nightly news was on the TV in the waiting room. It was kind of depressing. I should have been at home in my pajamas, but instead, I was stuck in a dingy doctor’s office in Maryland with two screaming kids and one pissed off receptionist.
The drive home was a little better. Except that I had to stop to chase a dog that was running at large. He was weaving in and out of traffic on the exit ramp. I chased him to a nearby parking lot, and then I saw two dudes weaving through parked cars and waving their hands. They eventually caught their dog, Brutus, and all was right with the world. Well, sort of. I drove under this overpass on my way to work the other day:
What is happening? It was eerie, like the children of the overpass. This is the kind of thing I see around Lancaster every day. It’s like an Amish paradise. It’s not uncommon that I pass by dozens of horse and buggies on my way to work. Sometimes I see a border collie leading a flock of sheep or even farm equipment down the street. That’s my favorite.
Just like anything else, living in an Amish paradise comes with its perks. For instance, Amish people make the best dirt. They sell it for six dollars a bag, and anything I plant in it grows uncontrollably. I don’t know what their secret is, but it’s like basil crack.
But, just like anything else, living in an Amish paradise can also be really frustrating. For instance, I have to pass by those billboards warning people about puppy mills. It’s a sad reality that I just don’t want to face on a daily basis. I don’t like thinking about puppy mills every single day of my life. I donated money to one of those stop puppy mills foundations, but passing those signs still reminds me that the world sucks and there’s nothing I can do about it.
And, like I said, getting stuck behind a horse and buggy on a main road is torture. There’s something about traveling that seriously wears on my patience. Last week, I had to go to Seattle to pick up LB’s niece, little LB. We were supposed to leave at 9 pm, but the plane didn’t even start rolling forward until midnight, which means it didn’t take off until 12:45. That’s because every single thing that happens on a plane or in an airport takes a fucking eternity. We had to sit on the plane for nearly four hours before it even took off.
No one wants to sit on a plane all night, especially when it’s not moving. But, they could make the flight a little more comfortable. It’s not like these airlines don’t make enough money. ABC News recently did a story about the director for a Brazilian airline who ordered delivery from a restaurant in England for $7,600. He wanted to enjoy his favorite food while watching the World Cup. I guess it’s a good thing we’re willing pay to thousands of dollars to sit in the world’s tiniest seat and eat the world’s smallest bag of peanuts for an obscene length of a time.
At one point, I managed to get the attention of a young male flight attendant. You know, sometimes those attendants are really nice, and other times they are absolutely miserable. I guess I would be miserable too if I were stuck on a plane for hours every day.
Anyway, this was our conversation:
Me: Um, yeah…Hi. Can you tell me if they’re going to reroute us or let us off this stupid plane?
Guy: Oh, hello. I’m not really sure, but they will probably make an executive decision soon.
Me: I’m pretty sure that by soon you actually mean in three more hours. But, see, I want to get out of this fucking sardine can NOW.
I felt like I couldn’t control my mouth. The words were just spilling out, and I was progressing into one of those customers ANY ONE WHO HAS EVER WORKED IN CUSTOMER SERVICE fucking hates. It really isn’t like me, but I’m telling you, traveling—as in, moving from point a to point b—makes me fucking insane. So, he apologized, but I was still not willing to move past my childish meltdown.
He pulled his phone from his pocket, and then he said “Here, let me show you the weather.” I told him I did not want to see the fucking weather. And, he looked kind of shattered. Maybe it was his first day on the job, I don’t know. He wasn’t jaded yet, that’s for sure. Later, I apologized to him for being such a jerk. And, he said, “Oh, don’t even worry about it! I totally understand.” Then, I wanted to strangle him again for being so nice.
By the time the plane took off, I was angry, overcome with anxiety, and riddled with guilt for being such a nasty bitch. I had an exit row, which is normally awesome. But, this was the worst exit row EVER. The seat was stuck in the full upright position, and it was like half the size of a normal seat. When we finally landed, my butt was numb, my feet felt like huge slabs of concrete, and I all I wanted to do was get the fuck off the plane. But, that wasn’t possible because every other passenger on the flight decided to pack their bowling balls and possibly even small children in their carry on luggage, all of which were wedged together into an impenetrable force field of I-hate-my-fucking-life. Waiting to get off the airplane is my own personal form of hell.
But, it was great once I was finally off the plane. Little LB (Lily) was excited to see me, and it was nice to spend time with LB’s brother and sister-in-law.
Lily is a Leo, and she likes to make funny faces. We’re twinsys.
The best part of the visit was the life size pirate in their beer-brew garage room. LB’s brother brews his own craft beer, and it’s seriously some of the best I’ve ever tried. Here’s a picture of the pirate holding a baby doll with his arm around Lily (little LB).
Little LB was awesome on the flight back. It kind of put things into perspective when I found myself whining and complaining to the flight attendant while Lily sat patiently reading through her safety manual. At the age of eight, she’s pretty much a professional flyer, and at the age of 32, I’m pretty much a huge ass baby. It was a red-eye flight, and she slept through most of it while I cried uncontrollably.
Once we arrived at Philadelphia Airport, Lily’s granddad was there to greet us. We had breakfast at a nearby hotel, which was lovely until I fell asleep at the table. Granddad took Lily back to his house in Maryland, and I went home to go to bed. A few days later, LB drove to Maryland to get Lily so that they could go to Delaware beach to stay with my parents for a few days. My parents LOVED it. They even bought Lily a 64-ounce bucket of French fries and a motorized cat.
At the time, my mom and dad were having their floors redone. When Lily saw the house for the first time, all of their furniture was stacked on the bottom floor like in the Poltergeist movie. Lily took one look around and asked my dad, “Um, so, this is how the furniture goes…I love what you’ve done with the place!” I know all kids say funny shit, but I’m telling you, this kid says the funniest shit. Once, she told me that she’s more related to her dad than her mom, because they both have the same last name and orange eye brows. Oh, speaking of which, Lily’s mom, Melanie, has this little piece of heaven displayed on her ottoman in their basement:
Someone please tell me where I can get one of these? Oh, and, also one of these:
It’s a wolf howling at the fucking moon. Everything about this screams hillbilly. It’s perfect.
I found this little gem in a shop in Delaware, but I didn’t buy it. LB says that if you see something you really want you should wait three days before buying it. If you’re still thinking about it you know it’s meant to be. Kind of like I did with her…only it was like two years. When I went back to the beach, the howling wolf t-shirt was gone…claimed by another, who, evidently couldn’t wait for three whole days to buy it. Or, they just got there three days before me. Or two. Or one. That would work too.
I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. But, I will say, I wish the United States would develop bullet trains from the East coast to the West coast. I would be happy with never having to fly or drive again. And, let’s face it…regular trains are fucking awesome. Throw the word bullet in there and it’s like the holy grail of transportation. No. Bowling. Balls. Allowed. I’m pretty sure Fox News would cry communist for that, but flattery will get them no where. Besides, bullets are pretty much the only thing we can agree on.