Monday, April 20, 2009


Dear Reader,

This past week I was driving my husband and my children crazy, so they suggested I go somewhere, anywhere, for a little get away. I realize I am ever so fortunate to have such a generous husband! I called my sister and we headed north for a weekend of fun in the snow. I love my family, but they are a freaky, moody and temperamental lot. For instance, I have never eaten in a restaurant where at least one member of my family did not end up in the parking lot crying, in the kitchen making out with the busboy or on top of the table hurling corn on the cobs at each other. You know, the usual family meal sort of stuff.

Driving in a car on a long road trip is another matter entirely. First of all, the food is bound to be different as it is mostly acquired from rest areas and service stations. Second, if you are fighting in a car with someone, inevitably the passenger is faced with a choice. While always tempting to shout, “Stop this car, I’m getting out!’ it’s usually a terrible idea, especially when traveling through the back woods of Maine or at an absurdly high rate of speed due to driver’s leaden foot pressing down on the pedal in abject anger. If you do go this route, you back yourself into a corner. No doubt the driver will speed off, leaving you for a moment relieved, and then for a longer moment, terrified and alone on the side of a god forsaken road in Stephen King country. Then when said driver returns, she will roll the window down, and follow along next to you imploring that you “get over it” and get back in the car – which is the last thing on god’s green earth that you want to do, but given that your footwear is inadequate for walking the 700 miles back to civilization, you are obliged to do so, leading to feelings of humiliation, degradation and further hostility. A no-win situation if ever there was one.

So this week I offer you sustenance for such occasions, inspired by my weekend road trip with my sister, whom I love very much.

With deepest sympathy,


SmorGasStationboard for Car Trips With Family Members

You will need:

Credit cards
Cell phone

Begin with sister driving car. Tell her, pointedly that she is following too closely to the car in front of her, knowing full well that this will send fumes out of her ears. When she tells you that you don’t know how to drive as you took Driver’s Ed fifty years ago, calmly reach into her bag of candy and eat all of the Sour Cherries, leaving only the stale Swedish fish and a quarter inch of sugar at the bottom.

Ride in strained silence for the next five minutes then try to break tension by beginning dialog about that man’s weird finger that looked like it was two fingers inside one finger skin. When she snaps, “What if that were your child?!” smile smugly and ask her what is her point. When she replies, “He’s somebody’s child and you are being obnoxious,” remind her of the time at Orso in LA when she said the face on a woman at a nearby table was going to make her throw up, then hang on tight because she’s going to careen off the highway.

Pull out Sweet Chili Doritos procured at last rest stop and stuff them inside the rest of your Veggie Delite Subway sandwich from earlier in the day. Use caution when biting down as pointy Doritos can cause painful lacerations on the roof of your mouth.

When sister screeches into Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot and storms off, go to back seat where you have your stash of magazines and take the People, the US Weekly, In Touch and any other magazines you know she wants to read and quickly throw them in the garbage before sister sees you.

Walk into Dunkin’ Donuts and stand behind your sister, too close, making sure that she can feel your breath on the side of her face to further enrage her. Order yourself an egg and cheese croissant, twenty munchkins and a large coffee, as it’s going to be a long ride.

Back in car, use cell phone to find nearest rental car facility, just in case. When sister extends “olive branch” point out that the act of extending an olive branch does not begin with the phrase, “Here’s why you’re such a jerk.” Turn conversation to other, more pleasant subjects such as other family members, former boyfriends and what to eat next.

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