So, our “Superfriends Fall Getaway Weekend 2008” began with an 8 hour drive to Baltimore. For anyone with the slightest inkling of east coast geography, this seems pretty unbelievable.
It all started with the traffic. The big World Series victory parade was in the afternoon.
(BTW–I went to this “parade” and it was kind of the craziest thing I have every witnessed…even thought the parade itself was just a few flatbed trucks holding the players. Imagine ridiculous drunkenness everywhere: men climbing trees and signs…shaking the port-o-potties…lots of public urination…red t-shirts everywhere…pointless screaming…police choppers abounding.)
We thought we were being super smart by leaving at 4 pm. Plenty of time for leisurely costume changes and fancy dinner. We were filled with excitement as we drove out of the Navy Yard.
Ha! The gridlock extended miles and miles away from the stadium and parade. I-95 was filled with drunken sports fans in stop/go traffic. Boredom and frustration weaseled its way into the car.
And then…when we were FINALLY in Maryland, about 40 miles from Baltimore (this was hours later)…all at once, three things happened: we heard a weird sound coming from the car, the “check engine” light appeared, and we were surrounded in smoke.
Fortunately, we were really close to the Chesapeake House rest stop. We pulled into the gas station and popped the hood. Immediately we realized that this “thing” inside was leaking some greenish liquid. Since we’re both supergeniuses, we decided it was anti-freeze. I turned to Janelle and asked, “Where is your owner’s manual?” She laughed, but I was dead serious. I truly believe that anything can be fixed with a good instruction manual, a little bit of time, and Lava soap (the best thing ever for cleaning oil paint from brushes, too).
Some guys started helping us. One of them was an actual mechanic. At this point, everything becomes a blur. I remember talking to Janelle’s dad on the phone. A tow truck was called. We were going to have to wait an hour for the truck. The gas station offered neither good cigarettes (and they cost $7) nor vegan snack options. Everything was looking grim.
But then…the conclusion was reached that the radiator cap was broken. Janelle gave $20 to a boy named Tom so he could run to the auto parts store for a replacement cap. Five minutes after he drove off with the money, the mechanic began to suspect that the car had a more a serious problem. Just then the tow truck pulled up, much earlier than anticipated.
We explained the situation to the driver, Brian. The problem might just be the cap. So we could wait for Tom to return with a replacement. But…it could be something more serious…and if we got to an auto shop before closing, we could still make it to Baltimore for the Pygmy Lush show.
The mechanic really felt that we had a serious mechanical problem on our hands. Brian offered to tow us to a Pep Boys in Newark, DE that was open until 9. At this point, it was almost 8. We decided to take the trip back to Delaware. Sure, now Janelle was out $20, but at least we might still make it to the show.
sad car-towing pose.
While in the tow truck with Brian, his wife, and their dog Toby, we hatched a back up plan. Janelle was really stressed out and I knew she was sad about the possibility of missing the show. I was convinced that we could have fun NO MATTER WHAT! I decided that if the car couldn’t be fixed, and we couldn’t get a rental car…then we would get a hotel room, lots of liquor, don our costumes, and go to TGI Friday’s for dinner and ridiculous blender drinks. We could drink and watch scary movies. It would be fun!
At Pep Boys, we were informed that the radiator had a hole in it. Crisis! Apparently that particular location normally did not stock Honda radiators…but just last week, they had received a shipment. Unfortunately the mechanic was gone for the day. After hearing this, I started looking on Hotels.com for a website (hooray for internet-enabled phones). Just as I found a room at Howard Johnson (conveniently located near TGI Friday’s), the manager offered to fix it for us!
making lemonade from lemons at Pep Boys.
We walked out in search of cigarettes (which Janelle later sold to someone for $10 at the show). There were no food options anywhere…but suddenly we found ourselves at a high school football game. And then we wandered back to Pep Boys…where we hung out until 11.
at the game.
Finally, the car was fixed and we were back on the road. We stopped at the Chesapeake House (again) to change into our costumes and buy coffee. While Janelle was waiting for me (and trying to find us food), a weirdo said, “your thumbs are amazing!” She returned to the bathroom to watch me straighten my cape.
Our remaining drive to Baltimore turned into a caffeine-crazy singalong.
And then we were there…finally! Of course, we missed 75% of the show, including Pygmy Lush. I drank a lot in a really short period of time. I was under the confused impression that everyone in the band was named Mike (only two Mikes in the band…too many costume changes for one of the Mikes).
finally…at the show! We drank really bad whiskey, because it was free.
Also: I watched Mike throw up on the side of 95 on our way to Virginia. His head was perfectly framed in the side view mirror. We pulled over in a rush because he was hiccuping with his head on my pillow.
I peed behind a McDonald’s. Then I drunkenly and briefly abandoned veganism to eat a McFlurry (this was Janelle’s idea…and I was starving).
We crawled into bed at 4:00 am (or later).