Sunday, January 02, 2005

Notes from the Road - Day 2

Second in a meandering series...

Still Cold

At the midpoint of our psychotically long drive, we awoke to frost on the car windows. I'm sorry, but Georgia shouldn't be this cold at this time of year; not when we have fatigue-induced thoughts of palm trees dancing through our heads.

Towers in the Sky

While packing the car in the pre-dawn murk, I noticed a giant Waffle House sign hovering in the sky over the hotel's parking lot. These signs - 7-to-10-storey monstrosities that dot the edges of the Interstate's skyline - quickly became a signature of our drive.

During the day, they would obscenely pop up in the most pathetic places, like the middle of an otherwise-stunning mountain or valley view, or in dense, repetitive clusters leading up to the next offramp.

At night, they floated like lit beacons in the sky, marking the edges of an otherwise-inky-black road. It was strangely comforting to drive down the middle of this glowing corridor of commercialism.

At Every Exit a Washroom

Our little guy decided to test our resolve just south of Atlanta by saying he had to pee no less than three times within an hour. Although we believe no one on the planet has such a small bladder capacity, we didn't want to test this belief. So stop we did. Often.

Thankully, the highway soon became stunningly wide and straight - parts of it were originally designed to be used as airfields in the event of a Soviet attack up from Cuba - so we were able to, um, use increased rates of velocity to make up some of our lost time.


Just before the Florida border, our daughter noticed the first palm tree beside the road. Just after the border, Noah noticed his first orange grove. It was hard to keep the lump in my throat down as I heard and felt the excitement in their voices. The beauty of childhood often lies in how purely their emotions are expressed. They haven't yet been beaten down by the cynicism of the adult world - something we should all appreciate to a greater degree.


By lunchtime, it was clear we'd make it to Bubby and Zayda's (Yiddish for grandma and grandpa) house today. The kids counted the minutes while I ticked off the kilometers in my head.

We zoomed down Florida's Turnpike, my wife expertly navigating us through the dark, off the highway, through the streets of Deerfield and, finally, to their front door.. Funny how the anticipation of getting there seemed to mask how tired we all were.

As I watch our kids sleeping soundly, tucked into bed at their grandparents' house, I'm thankful we made it here safely and happily. I know the return trip hangs out there at the end of our vacation. But we'll worry about that when the time comes. For now, we'll focus on making sure they never forget their time here.


L said...

I 've gone crazy on long drives like that; but at least the weather is relatively mild, eh?

And I hate to tell you, but the entire state of Florida is plastered with Awful (I mean Waffle) House signs... Where I live in Tampa the only thing outnumbering Waffle House are the strip clubs and McDonalds.

wishing your family an enjoyable trip :)

L said...

oops. I'm really tired from these drugs--

I KNOW you already came back from your trip. I'm obviously losing all brain cells at this point... blame it on being sick ...