Road Trip with the Kid
I drove Piano Boy up to Whitehall Tuesday. The trip turned into a
disaster when the car broke down, but before that it was a blast from
the past in a way.
We started the trip with a visit to McDonald's. We hadn't had time
for lunch at home because we'd been delayed so we got two
#10s—10-piece nuggets, fries and coke. I haven't eaten anything like
that in years. We ate our meals as we headed West across the state on
I 96. Reminded me of old times. It rained.
PB had uploaded hundreds of my Grateful Dead songs to his iPod he
stuck the ear bud in my right ear so I had Dead tunes—cruising
music—in my ear all the way up to Whitehall for four hours. Reminded
me of old times. It rained.
I'd bought him a new cell phone as we were leaving and he played with
it most of the way up, activating it, charging it, loading it with
minutes and air time, and programming in all his friends phone numbers
from his iPod. It rained.
Outside the window, the rain went by, and the beautiful Michigan
Farmlands. The windshield wipers swept back and for the, and the old
barns, yellow wheat fields, beef and dairy cattle all flew past the
We got temporarily lost twice, by missing exits because 18-wheelers
were blocking our view of the signs. Piano boy attempted to navigate,
a skill he has yet to master.
On the whole trip, PB was amazingly nice, sociable and reasonably
intelligent. We carried on a number of very interesting
conversations. Not once was he his usual intractable, sullen, silent,
mean teenage self. He was quite human and pleasant. He did not
revert to being unpleasant until Biker Buddy arrived to rescue us from
a dead car. I was amazed. Before that, we'd stopped at McDonald's to
get him some supper. I wanted to have something a little healthier.
When the car broke down in the left turn lane in the center of
Whitehall, not far from the motel, he was helpful, directing traffic
the piled up behind us. As we were towed to a garage and taken by the
"wrecker" to the motel, he was quiet and pleasant. Then he settled in
the motel to watch South Park. I went to retrieve stuff I needed from
the car and then to dinner. Then I watched some of South Park with
him. I'd never seen it before. It was hilariously funny and socially
and politically pertinent—but very violent. It was an interesting
experience for this non-TV viewer.