Yesterday, I climbed behind the wheel of a rental car – having sold the Penis Truck, we are down to just the minivan, and Willem needed to be able to get some stuff done in NH while I was off gallivanting with my sister – and drove to western New York State. It was a horrible, long, filthy, nasty, rainy drive, at times pouring so hard that the wipers’ highest speed wasn’t enough to provide decent visibility.
Plus, because of the pregnancy, I needed to stop at every other rest stop. Not just to use the facilities, though that was inevitable, but also to walk around… can’t have as much caffeine to force myself awake, am skipping my now-daily nap, and pregnant women are more vulnerable to deep vein thrombosis, so a few laps around the building were in order, as well. It ended up stretching a potentially 6-hour drive into an 8-hour experience.
Coming home, it was just more of the same, though it was raining even harder and there were several bad accidents which created long standstills in both directions. (Which, I certainly understand the need for traffic to come to a stop on the same side as the accident, but the rubbernecking “curiosity slowdown” on the opposite lane makes me insane. Mind your own business and keep driving, people. Let the passengers ogle the crash scene, and keep your eyes on the road.)
I had my iPod, on its little car-radio adapter, which works great if I stay in a relatively small geographical area, but which needs constant fiddling if I’m traveling, because it needs an unused FM station to broadcast and that changes from town to town… especially when driving through, say, Boston, Albany, Utica and Syracuse. And back again.
The rental car (some sort of Suzuki, about the size of a child’s wagon) has no lumbar support at all, meaning that by about Hour 4 each way, my back was screaming at me. By Hour 5, it was speaking in tongues.
It was worth every single second on the road, every iota of effort, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
The expressed purpose of the trip was to go see the Cirque du Soleil’s Allegria show. My sister Sarah – an MSW student at Syracuse University and an incurable sweetheart – had bought tickets for the four of us (mom, Mary, myself, her) but then kind of forgot to tell me about it until Tuesday. Initially, I didn’t think I’d be able to go – too last-minute, Willem wouldn’t be able to get anything done if he was home with the kids, we only have one car, logistics, logic, etc. But Willem suggested renting a car and insisted he didn’t mind if I went, and I couldn’t come up with any good reasons not to have a fun weekend at my sister’s, so away I went.
And the performance was very cool, lots of “holy crap, people can do that?” moments, very smooth and well-done. And if it had been canceled at the last minute due to a swine flu outbreak or some such, it still would have been worth every second. Because my sisters really are just beyond amazing, and their mere presence is a delight.
I could feel the heartache of already noticing a difference in Mary… she’s been at college for two weeks, and already just seems a little bit different… a little more grown-up, trying out different outfits and hairstyles, figuring out who she’s going to be now that she’s not a child living at home.
As for Sarah, I always carried around a vague guilt because I never was able to go see her apartment at her undergraduate school, so I was happy to have seen this place. It’s a great apartment, enormous and just run-down enough to be perfect student housing, and since it’s shared by four girls, it is pristine and pretty inside, even with the obligatory curbside furniture and minimalist decorations. And we’re each so busy that it can be hard to find time to have a long, satisfying phone conversation – particularly because I’m very finicky about the telephone, sometimes really enjoying a long talk and other times wanting nothing to do with the device. But this morning, we slept in late and then went out for breakfast, which we stretched out into a more-than-two-hour event, just talking of everything and nothing, remembering that there’s something special about sisters and wishing that geography wasn’t such an obnoxious obstacle.
So, yeah. Worth every rainy, wet, cloudy, back-aching mile. Without a doubt.