Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear

Remember when road trips were fun? When you’d hop into your cute black Jetta and grab a 6 pack of Diet Coke and big bag of Doritos and you and 6 of your closest friends would jam into your car and (sing) shout along with Hootie and the Blowfish or Steve Winwood, Jimmy Buffet or even, gasp, Milli Vanilli? Remember when you did this at 3 am because you had to shop at LLBean in Freeport at that hour? Remember road trips to the Cape, (Cape Cod) Newport and the Jersey Shore? Remember when being in a car for more than two hours was actually fun?

Where have those days gone?

My road trips these days are vastly different. I have my loaded up Yummy Mummy Van packed to the hilt with waters, juice boxes and home made blueberry muffins. I have the requisite CDs and DVDs. I have the Nintendo DSs, blankets and stuffed animals. What I don’t have is what I need most. I do not have is one of those plastic dividers you find in New York City Taxis. I need one. Desperately! I also need a recording of a famous celebrity, in this case either Miley Cyrus or Obi Wan Kenobi, telling my passengers to please buckle their seat belts and to pick up all their belongings when they leave the car. I could use a meter as well. I would like to charge them for all the miles they make me drive. Tolls would be additional. I wonder if the New York Taxi Commissioner would trade one of his Siennas for mine?

We are not even out of the driveway when the bickering starts already. Who is listening to what. Rebecca wants control of my iPod and yet she complains my songs are too “old fashioned” for her. She loves Gwen and blasts B-A-N-A-N-A-S so loudly I think I have temporarily gone deaf. Fergie’s London Bridge is next. “Oh Shit!” Yep, Daddy had downloaded it from iTunes… not the family version! I had completely forgotten about this. “Oh Shit!” Kids think it is funny. “Oh, Shit!” We still have 2 hours and 17 minutes to go according to my nav. I am barely on the Merritt Parkway.

We break out the muffins and juices and I have some quiet for a few moments. But Alexander won’t eat. He is upset I did not give him a plate. For crying out loud after my first two slobs the baby has to be neat???? I tell him to deal with it. He won’t eat his “mussin” until we get to Moo and Popsy’s house. Oy vey.

Rebecca’s still controling the iPod. 100 years is the next song. Ohmigod I love this song. I cry every time I hear it. Every time. Yessiree. But, according to my 9 year old Music Critic the song is soooo overplayed. She tells me this as she flips her hair, grunts and rolls her eyes all in one motion. If I attempted such a move I would have whiplash. Major whiplash. “Shut up and let me listen to my song! I want to shout. I want to cry and be sad that I am growing old and that you are growing up and are not the cute quiet peaceful little girl you were!

Then they all pipe in. Christopher says the music is too loud and Alexander is still pissed off that he doesn’t have a friggin’ china plate to eat off of. Arghhhh! Rebecca is yammering on about what she would have on her iPod… Miley and Taylor Swift and yadda yadda yadda… the Jonas Brothers and Yadda yadda yadda… did you know yadda yadda yadda… I tune them out. All of them. I don’t care which Jonas Brother was born in 1989. I don’t care if Alexander never eats off another plate ever again. And I don’t care if the music is too loud for Christopher. We are in OrangefrigginConnecticut and my kids won’t shut up and I still have 2 hours to go.

Now Alexander is trying to ask me a question and I can’t hear him. I turn the music down and ask him to speak up. I still can’t hear him. I ask him a few more times before I just say Yes to him even tough I have no idea what I am saying Yes to. Why is it that the kids can’t be quiet at home and yet as soon as they are in the car you have to ask them to speak up? Why is it that kids do not ever stop talking the moment they get in the car? Why can’t a mom be allowed to drive in peace and quiet? And They say cell phones are distracting… Did They have kids? I think They should ban all kids from cars! Hey now, I think I could be really on to something there!

Finally we drive through New Haven. Gross stinky city. Some redeemable parts but for the most part gross and stinky. Just like the mammoth garbage pile towering to the right near all the huge oil barrels. Just a shame Yale has to be in New Haven. I tell Rebecca she would be happier at Princeton. It’s much prettier there. I can see Christopher at MIT. Boston was a great place to go to college. Alexander declares that he is going to college too. I ask him where he’s going and he tells me “with Steve!” This is only funny to you if you watch Blue’s Clues. Then, it is pretty hilarious really. So much so that the whining and bickering and bantering and craziness stops for a moment for a good hearty laugh.

and then… there is quiet! Wahoo!

and we seem to pass by the towns… Madison and Guilford and Clinton and WHOA! I once again wish I was sans kids… I want to hit the outlets. I want to go to Saks and JCrew and Ralph Lauren. I stifle a tear or two as I pass them by… we are nearing Old Saybrook and Mystic (Nope, I have never eaten at Mystic Pizza if you are wondering) and then there we are I see the big sign welcoming us to Rhode Island. And the sun is shining. I have about an hour to go. This last leg of the journey is a lovely one … through the pretty farm lands and towns, over the bridges and finally through Newport. I think I can handle it. I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!