By far the best part of the trip down south was near the beginning when we were in Pennsylvania after we’d gotten lunch and were headed back to the highway. I am still a bit shaky when it comes to driving stick shift and I was in the wrong lane on a very steep hill. This will be a shocker, but I started melting down. There were a lot of tears. I finally was able to engage the gear shift, get back into the correct lane and turn the corner in the right direction, but I was still crying. T said in a very frank way, “Mommy! Why are you freaking out?” At least he got me laughing. At the next light I started up again, sort of grinding the gears in an unfortunate way. T called out, “Oooh! Was Mommy not careful on the cluck?” My cluck handling still does leave a lot to be desired….
The second best moment happened on day two of driving. We were barreling through Johnson City, Tennessee and T announced that he had to poop. We asked if he could hold it until we got to a bathroom and he said no problem. His bowel control is really something else for a three year old. At the next exit we pull into a BP station that looked pretty run down and I topped off the gas while Z hustled T into the men’s room. As they stepped inside T, “It smells in here.” Z, “Yup, it does.” T, “It smells like animals in here.” Z, “It kind of does.” T, “Do you think there is a goat in here?” Z, “I don’t know, maybe.” T pointing at the toilet, “Maybe the goat is in the water.” Z, “Maybe it is.”
And finally, a thought about drivers in the south. I know Southerners are known for their hospitality and good manners, but they are assholes when it comes to left lane etiquette. We try to keep it about 10 miles over the speed limit. But a large section of the southern population clearly doesn’t believe in speeding at all. They happily park themselves in the fast lane going 71 mph when the limit is 70 mph. And they will. not. fucking. get. over. I started narrating their thoughts to Z in a tragically bad southern accent, “Seventy one miles an hour is quite enough! Where do you have to be? I’m just saving you from yourself! You don’t want to get a ticket do you?” On the drive to Winston-Salem from Asheville Z cruised up behind a car and it immediately moved into the right lane. Z and I were speechless. As we drove by I noticed the licence plate. It was Ohio. You know, where they understand driving etiquette.