Thursday, October 16, 2008

The buzzard caper

My extended family makes it a tradition to go on a week long beach trip together most every year. By extended family I mean my family, my mom's siblings and their families and my grandparents. And every now and then we throw someone else into the mix. There are well over twenty of us. It makes for an interesting trip to say the least. But what makes it fun is that we rent a beach house large enough to fit the entire family. Usually the house is outfitted with everything that you need except some linens and food. We still feel the need to bring half of our worldly possessions with us on these vacations. That's just how we roll.

The summer after I got my license we were leaving on one of these trips. It was a six hour trip to Ocean Isle beach, our final destination. I had convinced my parents to let me drive down. They agreed fairly easily because my mom and grandmother would be with me. My step dad and grandpa were coming down later in the week. Also with us in the car was my best friend Julie. It was going to be her first adventure with us to the beach.

We pilled into my jeep. I was in the driver's seat, my mom in the passenger seat, Julie and Mamaw in the back. Also in/strapped onto the jeep was our luggage, cleaning supplies, select food stuffs, pillows, beach chairs and paraphernalia, and a rotating fan that was lodged in the floor at Julie's feet. There was so much crap in my car you only had enough space to breathe and I'm pretty sure they left only enough oxygen to last us all the way there.

Add to this equation that we were following my Uncle down there. He was in his van with his pregnant wife who had all-day-long morning sickness and his small son and twin girls that pestered him regularly about how much longer the drive would be.

I'm still unsure how I didn't get a speeding ticket on the way or crash and die trying to follow him all over the interstate. He was driving like a madman. My jeep achieved speeds it never had nor has since seen.

We didn't stop for lunch either. We did pull off briefly (once) so that we could relieve ourselves if need be. I had never made a trip that long before as the driver and my hips were killing me. I've had trouble with them since I was a teen and I couldn't take the pain anymore. I gave up the driver's seat to my mom and took control of the crap in the back with Julie.

Oh yes, and let's not forget the air conditioning, or lack of it. My Jeep has three A/C settings. Normal (only blows out of the front vents), Max (only blows out of the front vents, and Bi-level (blows out of the front and back vents, but is the weakest). I said that we should use Max to cool off the whole car as quickly as possible. I was quickly vetoed by my mom and grandmother because they felt sure that bi-level would cool everyone off faster given that it puts out air all over. I knew this would not work out because, well, I'm a genius. When they didn't get cool they decided there must be something wrong with my A/C and so we shut it off completely. No A/C the whole way down. Fabulous.*

Finally the end was in sight. We were almost on the island. If you've ever taken a trip to Ocean Ilse Beach then you know that everyone leaves and arrives on the same day and usually around the same time. This makes traffic a tad congested as OIB is an island and there is one bridge onto and off of it. So you almost get there and then get to spend an extra hour or so sitting in traffic until you actually get onto OIB.

There we were sitting in traffic; hot, tired, cramped from all the stuff around us and Julie was a little carsick. All anyone wanted to do was get out and start walking, but we didn't; I still don't know why. Then in the traffic crawl we came upon a dead bird on the side of the road. That's when the argument commenced. My mother thought it was a pelican, my grandmother thought it was a buzzard, Julie and I really didn't give a rat's ass what it was. It was so mangled from being run over there really was no way of looking at it and telling. It took us twenty minutes to drive past that bird; it took them another twenty minutes to stop arguing over what kind of bird it was. At that point Julie and I had managed to find the humor in the situation and were laughing so hard we cried. I don't think Mom or Mamaw thought it was funny. They were genuinely interested in what kind of bird met it's fate on that highway.

We did eventually make it over the bridge and to the house. As soon as we were alone Julie and I decided that we were going to use the rest of the week to convince my family to let us drive back alone. And so we did.

This is most of us that were on that trip.
The rest of the week was much more enjoyable.

*I used my A/C without any problem before and after this trip. When my step dad got there later in the week my mom told him there was something wrong and he needed to take a look. He asked what setting we used and when she told him he said, "Well you should have used max, bi-level wasn't enough air for all of you."

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