“Road Trip” is one of those terms that once filled my head with images of bikini clad girls in a convertible jeep being mooned by a station wagon full of frat boys chugging beer.
Now, it just fills me with a sense of dread. Well, a different kind of dread, not being one to favour bikini tops or college boys’ arses.
Last Friday, I set off on a 900km trip to Sydney with my three kids, my husband and my mother. Since we couldn’t, in all good conscience, put everyone in NASA-issue diapers and drive the whole thing straight,we chose to do it over Two Big Days.
The road trip started optimistically enough. Every time we saw a sign mentioning our destination, my mother would shout “Woo hoo!” and my husband would shout “Spring Break!” and the kids would echo it. That was for the first hundred kilometres. After that the adults fell into a deep pit of depression. The distance felt so great that any sign reminding us of how far there was to go felt like an affront to our very persons.
That night in our stopover accommodation, the adults turned to alcohol and the children threw mini-soaps at each other until they passed out asleep.
It wasn’t until the final 100km on the second day that the mood became hopeful again. The ‘Woo Hoos!’ and the ‘Spring Breaks’ returned. I was on my way to a two hour hair appointment in central Sydney without the children. Things were looking up.
But then I made two fateful errors.
Since my hair appointment was at 2PM, we only had time for a ‘drive thru’ lunch – yes, I’d become the kind of person to put my hair before my children’s nutritional needs. But then, if you had the kind of three-toned regrowth that I was sporting, you probably would have done the same.
At 11:30am, we approached a McDonalds.
“It’s too early for lunch. We’ll go through the next road services!” I said to my husband.
After all, I had read there were now more McDonald’s along the Hume Highway than there were towns. Why wouldn’t there be another McDonalds in 50km just when and where I needed it?
Mistake Number One.
And then I made my second mistake. I turned to my husband and whispered: “You know, the kids have been great on this trip!”
Look, I honestly don’t know what had gotten into me. I mean, we all know that, as parents, we’re allowed to think these things but that we should never – EVER – say them out loud. It only gives karma an excuse to bitch-slap us.
Turns out my casual remark to my husband was Tiddles McGee’s cue to kinghit his sister and for all hell to break loose in the back seat, shit itself and then rub my nose in it. You see, we went on to drive for almost an hour and a half (with the kids hysterically screaming) without a single Fast Food outlet in sight. An hour at a half. At 110km per hour. That’s over a 150km of food-free hell.
In desperation, we turned off the highway only to find ourselves driving through an industrial wasteland. Meanwhile, the air temperature outside suddenly rose ten degrees and I started wishing I had worn a bikini top after all and, moreover, I started thinking that chucking a brown eye out the window might just be the best way of showing Sydney what I thought of it and its lack of roadside services.
But then, finally, after ten minutes of driving off the highway, there they were: the Golden Arches of Salvation. All I can say is trans fat has never tasted so sweet – but then, that may have something to do with the sugar they put in the burger buns…
FOR THE RECORD:
- I made my hairdressing appointment on time and got to sit around with foils on my head looking like a “Tin Rasta” for the first time in my life. My hair now looks fabulous (Thanks to my sister, Belle).
- The McDonalds logo will forever more look like a big yellow bottom pointing at the sky and saying “Back in your face, Karma!”
- We still have the 900km return journey home to look forward to.