Monday, August 16, 2010
The road to Hell (Michigan)
I wanted to be like Bill Bryson, actually I think I wanted to be Bill Bryson. I wanted to visit places like Buttsville (Pennsylvania) just to see how many arseholes lived there. I had to see if there was a Dentist in Snaggletooth (California). I wanted to know how demanding the ladies were in Iron Knob (South Australia). Would Dissapointment (Kentucky) really be one? And I really, really needed to know what they drank out of on Whisky Dick Mountain (Washington). That was it, I had made up my mind, I was doing it.
My wife, once she had stopped laughing at me however, had other ideas. What about the children, who was going to look after them whilst I was off gallivanting in search of funny sounding places? A good question, as much as it pained me to admit it. Sod it, I would take them with me, although that would rule out visiting Titty Hill (England), as what was the point if I had the kids with me?
They are actually easier to control in the car anyway, they’re locked in place for starters, and if their noise got to be too much I would unleash the secret weapon. Normally I’m only allowed to have the car stereo’s volume at a maximum of 14, and only that loud if it’s a track the wife particularly likes. But I have discovered (when she was at work of course) that if I play Marilyn Manson as loud as 19, the kids kind of go into a trance, all slack jawed and silent. Works every time. She also said we had to be back by tea time, which seriously put paid to my plans of visiting Twatt in (all of) Scotland.
I decided to visit Butts Green (Essex), the kids spend so much time rolling around the grass anyway, and it was only 35 miles from home. I packed a bag full of healthy snacks and drinks, as well as a big bag of sweets to help with the bribery. I had my notebook, two pens and a Valium so I was set and we were ready to go.
We managed to get to the top of the road before the five year old informed me that she was busting for the toilet. My eldest is 16 for God’s sake, you would have thought that I had been in this game long enough to make the kids go to the toilet before we left. Then again, I’ve been carrying a wallet since I was 16 and after we had dealt with all things toilet and re-departed, we had to return again to pick that up.
The only excuse I can offer for having to return a third time is that I have only been carrying a mobile phone for a mere ten years, so was bound to have forgotten it given my track record. I’m sure our neighbour, as she waved us off for the fourth time, was starting to think I was trying to catch her stealing my plants or maybe the lid from our bin, as I had noticed hers hadn’t got one.
We hit traffic within 10 minutes, of course we did, why should I expect that anything in my life was going to be plain sailing? The bag of sweets turned out to be sugar-free so they went out of the window. I ask you, what kind of sick mind invents something like that. I bet it was the same kind of idiot that believes in telling children there is no such thing as Father Christmas, as it just perpetuates the commercialism of the birth of Jesus, or some such lily livered tree hugging codswallop. I was not happy, and obviously nor were the kids, they can smell a phoney a mile off.
I went to put the Marilyn Manson CD on but it was missing from the case, this was dire. I made a frantic phone call to the Wife to see if she had moved it, she had. Apparently me picking her up from church every Sunday, blasting Mr Manson’s version of ‘Personal Jesus’ had been deemed inappropriate. I do have a history of allegedly playing the wrong song at the wrong time though. Whenever the Mother in Law starts to leave our house after another visit, I have a habit of blasting ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on the stereo. Some people just can’t take a joke, and now the joke was on me.
I tried to fob them off with raisins but that only resulted in a food fight, which then obviously ruled out giving them an apple. The last thing I needed was to be hit with one of them whilst driving at 50 mph. That was of course if we ever got to go any faster than the tortoise mph that we were currently doing. Thirty minutes later I gave in, and turned the car around in defeat.
As we pulled up and trudged out of the car, my neighbour asked me what I had forgotten this time. With a sigh I replied “I forgot that you don’t have to go to Michigan to visit Hell.” She gave me a quizzical look, put the lid on her bin, and scurried into her house.