We’re on the road. The game is on. The rules are simple. Each time you pass one of those signs that tells you how far to the next towns, you guess what the mileage will be on the next one. Closest one wins.
Or do they?
I find myself always guessing way high. I lose. Never close to winning. But I might also feel the happiest about the results. I think i’m tricking myself into thinking we’re further than we are; that time is passing more slowly than it really is. Every time we pass the sign, it’s a relief. We’re almost there! It’s not as bad as I thought.
Normally I’m not that anxious about getting there. Obviously there is the lingering anxiety that comes with being strapped inside a tin can that’s speeding down strips of tar faster than evolution ever intended. Death looms. (And sitting is bad for you, too! I read that! It causes cancer and other stuff you don’t want. We were built to walk and run. Sitting there is crap.)
But with two kids in the car, one that’s a ticking time bomb, and the other that’s committed to 5 hours of Bart Simpson ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’ there is a mild urgency.
I’m not overly anxious. I’m at peace, answering over and over, like Homer Simpson: ‘No. No. No.’ And I respect the kid’s persistence. It would come in handy if we were persistence hunting.
But in this case I’m tricking myself, for a brief moment of happiness.
And it works. YOU SHOULD DO IT TOO! IT’S A GREAT WAY TO PASS THE TIME!
When I worked the roads I had a similar trick. I didn’t wear a watch, so I never knew how much time was left in the day. The clock in the truck didn’t work. My boss didn’t take breaks. So I didn’t take breaks either. The day started, and then ended.
Some of the days were spent doing the road stuff. Shoveling, etc. Some of them were spent driving around, fixing signs, closing and opening lanes, dropping things off. Whatever. Those days were the slowest. Sitting there. Trying not to fall asleep. Getting cancer.
Every so often I would have to clean the side mirror. He had a special bottle of cleaning spray in the glove box, and some paper towel. He liked a clean mirror. (SAFETY FIRST!)
I knew where all the clocks were around the city. Mostly they were up on those tall signs that flip back and forth between the temperature and the time. The temperature was never that accurate, but the time was the time.
When I knew one of the clocks was coming up on our route, I’d guess what the time was going to be. But I’d always guess way earlier than it actually was. Then you drive by and it’s jubilations. ‘Oh man there’s only 2 hours left until home time. I guessed four! I’m so happy right now.’
It’s no way to live. But that’s life sometimes.
You’ve got to pass the time!
AND THEN IT’S THE WEEKEND!