5.2.09

Not technically a man. Not technically a van.

Winter won't last forever, and when it ends, the next road trip season begins. I thought last year was going to be my last road trip season, but a) I didn't really go on any trips, and b) the 2009 edition's going to be split between four people. A road trip by oneself is a serene, thoughtful experience. With four on the floor, it becomes a wacky half-hour sketch comedy show.

And so: one more time.

One interesting twist to this trip is our tour guide. We were discussing our driving habits and quirks today, and she mentioned the "funniest" story... apparently, she once cried for half an hour because she didn't have time to stop at Tim Horton's. At first, this might seem disconcerting. Still, she's the Scooter of our little group -- not only is she the man with the plan, she's the man with the [i]van[/i]. So, let's try to put that Tim Horton's incident into better context.

First of all, Scooter was clearly going far too fast for any Tim Horton's. She'd broken the coffee barrier -- not just the standard coffee barrier, which is the speed at which you drive past the last possible turn-off, but the telecoffee barrier -- unable even to phone ahead for pickup. Truly, an astounding feat.

The thing about speed is that it compresses time's perspective -- the faster you go, the nearer both the past and future seem. She might as easily shed tears for the future... for coffee not yet served. Was it a botched delivery? No, still too mundane.

{erha[s it was a race, where Scooter's opponent had the cheek to stop for a coffee while they were in the lead? That's cold, but not worth the waterworks. I do like the idea of a race, though... okay, I can work with that. Here, then, are the details behind that story -- as I choose to interpret them:

Scooter had actually injured her foot that morning running up some stairs to class (this was while she was a student, obviously, as that's when dumb things tend to happen), and had over-iced it. Thanks to the temperament of her beater, the heat wasn't working that day, and as she leaned her stiff ankle onto the gas, it got more and more numb, until frostbite started to set in. But the roads bore the threat of black ice, so she kept her car straight and steady, not slowing down, not deviating from the path, focusing only on the goal -- to win the race, for the prize was the last decent apartment vacancy left in the city. By the time she passed the Tim's, the cold was lancing up her leg, and her fingers were starting to cramp on the wheel. Had she the time, she probably would have picked up one coffee to drink, and another one to pour over her feet... but the apartment wasn't going to be available for long, and her new ex-roommate was in the car beside her.

Finally, though, the loss of sensation forced to her bring the car to a halt, and her hopes for reasonable accommodations died with the engine. Afterwards, she ended up in Medicine Hat... but now, this road trip will settle the score which drove her from her homeland.

And this time... we're bringing the thermos.

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.