Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Witness

The Witness

06-29-10 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 06-19-10

By Allison Adams

My husband and I are certain that some day our children will write a tell-all book about us. Not because we’re eccentric, but because we’re nincompoops.

As unsettling as that is, it doesn’t seem to stop us from unwittingly supplying them with ample material for their manuscript.

We recently took a five-day road trip covering a little over 1,500 unfamiliar miles. To the would-be tell-all book author, this is known as fodder.

As luck would have it, at the same time we planned our trip, our college-aged daughter, and prospective co-author of our memoirs, happened to have some time on her hands in-between summer assignments. Naturally, we seized the opportunity to spend some quality time with her, and bribed her to come along for the ride.

Reluctantly, she accepted.

She made a little nest in the backseat: pillow, blankie, iPod, book, cell phone, water bottle, and … steno pad.

We were so engaged in our road trip we forgot we had a witness along. An imbedded reporter, ear buds dangling and pencil poised.

She probably started by writing down what happened before we even got into the car — about my successful move to gain control of the steering wheel.

You see, it just makes more sense for me to do most of the driving. After 25 years of marriage, even my husband knows that. If I’m doing the driving, then I can’t be critical of the driver. You do the math.

Nonetheless, we always engage in a little “I’ll drive … No, I’ll drive!” banter, just for the sake of posterity. It’s a verbal tug-of war that drives our passengers crazy.

She probably noted that, after nauseating deliberation, we finally elected to drive the car that has the satellite radio, but never once turned it on.

She will probably explain that, by default, the non-driver becomes the designated navigator.

She’ll tell about the struggle we had learning to use our new “talking” GPS, and the fact that the designated navigator also insisted on referring to a 1977 Rand McNally Road Atlas, and over 30 pages of MapQuest printout.

Seems there have been a few major road changes in the 33 years since our Atlas was printed. And if there’s no satellite signal, there’s no “talking” GPS. And pages 13, 16 and 22 were missing from the MapQuest printout.

Frustration ensued when one of the three navigational tools did not read like the others — a frequent occurrence that made for some tense moments.

GPS: In .9 miles, take left onto US 375.
Navigator: Don't do it. That road's not on the atlas.
Driver: But I see it up ahead! Look at the sign!
Naviagor: It's a trap!
Driver: It's right THERE!
GPS: Recalculating ...

I hope she won’t disclose that, on more than one occasion, I lost my temper with our talking GPS and spoke to it using unladylike language using my UPPER CASE voice. I really hope she doesn’t tell about that, but she probably will.

She probably took note of our tangled mess of hand-held electronic devices that we can’t live without, or properly operate, and about their respective corded chargers that are never respectively attached. As an example, she’ll no doubt mention that for 200 miles we mistakenly thought we were charging the dead cellular phone, and how we would have been if we’d thought to plug in the business end of the correct charger.

I’m pretty sure she’ll tell about the time we pulled in to gas the car and stretch the legs, and when we were through with the latter, we almost drove off with the gas nozzle inserted in the car’s tank. I hope she’ll mention that we managed to avert the disaster … thanks to a last-minute warning that came from the back seat.

“Uhhhh, people? The gas nozzle is still in the tank. I’m just sayin’.”

Surely she will tell about silently standing by on numerous occasions while I tried to gain entrance into our hotel room by repeatedly inserting my key card in someone else’s hotel room door.

They all look alike.

She’ll probably mention the time we stopped at our favorite Interstate restaurant and country store, and ordered our favorite vegetable platter. I was incensed that they tried to pass off half of a smashed baked potato as a serving of country mashed potatoes.

She’ll surely tell that I threatened to send a message to the chef, letting him know that I was on to his short-order shortcuts, and I didn’t appreciate it AT ALL.

Things could’ve gotten really ugly in there, but my husband knows that all it takes is a roll of Necco Wafers purchased from the country store, and I’m putty in his hands.

Oh, yeah. It’ll be a best-seller.