Monday, August 16, 2010

The road to Hell (Michigan)

This week, undoubtedly fuelled by being trapped indoors by the rain with only the kids for screaming company, I decided I wanted to become a Travel Writer. Not one of those ones that visit Venice and remark that they found the quaintest little coffee shop just behind the third piazza on the right. And I definitely did not want to be one of the ones that wrote ‘Ten rambles through the Salisbury plains’ either.

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.


Motorbikes_Lady said...

That is so true at times. Hell can be right at home.

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

I've always fancied being a Mrs Bryson (not by marrying the old beardy, you understand) so I feel your yearning and frustration. However your readers enjoy the bits where things go wrong so you must embrace the shite, so to speak. All the bad bits of my holidays are always the most entertaining parts of my blog; it's yin and yang my friend!

Cate P said...

Another funny read J, had me snorting.
BTW, as someone who lives not far from the town, I know the ladies from Iron Knob are so demanding that the men all moved to Mount Bryan.
And Bryan is not too happy about it, let me tell you...

Deer Baby said...

Hilarious! I'd sooner read you over Tim Dowling, Jon Ronson or Phil Hogan any day.

You could have visited Big Bottom on your way - we go there a lot. There's a lot of Bottoms on the South Downs.

My husband blasts out a lot of rap - so my 10 year old knows the lyrics to Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg. Now he knows the words to ACDA and Led Zeppelin. I may have to remove the CDs from the car.

Deer Baby said...

Hilarious! I'd sooner read you over Tim Dowling, Jon Ronson or Phil Hogan any day.

You could have visited Big Bottom on your way - we go there a lot. There's a lot of Bottoms on the South Downs.

My husband blasts out a lot of rap - so my 10 year old knows the lyrics to Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg. Now he knows the words to ACDC and Led Zeppelin. I may have to remove the CDs from the car.

The Dotterel said...

Lots of Bottoms in the South Downs, eh? That's my kinda road trip...

Russ said...

Oh, I get wanderlust from time to time too. Just never had the guts to do it with the kids. Sure we didn't the brag-n-drag after they were born, but Mr. B was heavily sedated by the travel DVD.

Thanks for the tip on Manson, I'll have to try that one out.

Humdrum Mum said...

I can just image the car journey! Very funny. I research coal mines (fascinating, woud rather work for sanitation ha ha) and there are a few lovely ones Wet Beaver being my favourite. I think your Almost Travel Book is in the offing already, there's Chapter 1. I'd buy it!. -HMx

Judy said...

What fun...a roundabout trip to nowhere ! Had you made it to Butts Green, you'd have been 5 mins from me I might have supplied a bottle of beer!!

Modern Dilemma said...

Please write a travel guide to anywhere. After this I promise I will buy it as I'm crying with laughter, in a good way of course. Brilliant.


PS and now I've just read Cate P's comment about Iron Knob. Seriously, stop it I've had 3 kids. I can't do laughing like this without repercussions

niftyknits said...

kids'n'cars - what's not to love?

goonerjamie said...

Motorbikes - And quite often is.
Trish - My kids are bad enough, I'm not bringing Yin and Yang as well.
Cate - I bet he loves it really.
Deer Baby - Your husband has great taste obviously.
Tim - I thought it would be.
Russ - God bless travel DVD's, until they break of course.
Humdrum - You had me at Wet Beaver, lmfao
Judy - A bottle of Vodka would have got me there.
M.D. - I suggest some pelvic floor exercises.
Nifty knits - Kids in cars, that's what.

Posh Totty said...

... and what was it you were saying about women and cars? ... is that a bit like men and road trips? hehe!!

Debra Snider said...

Why am I dying to know what you and your jumpy travel companions would make of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico??

River said...

She put the lid on her bin? That would be YOUR lid on HER bin? Since you'd already stated that she didn't have one.....

I love Bill Bryson's writings.