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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More Trip Talk

My parents drove with me down to Chicago. They're usually not too bad to travel with, although they have one habit that makes me absolutely insane. When they give me directions.

It's pretty easy getting down to Chicago, but once we reach the outskirts of the city, I need someone to tell me where to go to reach my aunt's house. On one of our previous trips, I'm tootling down the express way, we see a sign that says Golf Road 1 Mile and they proceed to argue with each other as to whether or not that's the exit I should take to get to the hotel. I'm like, uh, guys, make a decision. Then, at the very last second, they say exit. Argh! I get angry because I'm stressed and traffic is heavy. I need advance warning. They get angry because they haven't lived down there for a while so how are they supposed to know which exit to take? Hey, I'm driving, I'm not the one holding the map. Gah!

So anyway, knowing my parents have done this last minute instructions thing to me a few too many times, I asked them when we were about midway through Wisconsin if they knew how I needed to take it to get to my aunt's house. Oh, yes, I'm assured, they know exactly which way to go.

I believed them. I shouldn't have.

As I'm going down I-90 in Chicago, we come to a split where I-290 breaks off. They start arguing with each other about whether I should get off there or keep going straight. If I wasn't enmeshed in heavy traffic and going about 65 mph, I would have banged my head against the steering wheel. My dad told me to keep going straight.

And a few minutes later we pass over Mannheim, but there's no way to exit onto it. That, of course, was our road. Gee, he says, maybe we should have taken 290.

Okay, Dad, that's good, but you want to tell me what the heck I should be doing NOW?

So I ask at the next toll booth. BTW, Illinois has raised their tolls considerably for cars not using I-Pass. Instead of 5 tolls at 40 cents each, there are now 4 tolls at various prices ranging from 80 cents to $1.60. Yikes! First toll was $1. So of course, we're digging for more money at the toll because we weren't prepared at all. I hate tollways. Grrr.

The guy said get off at the next exit and do this, that and the other thing to get to Mannheim. So two more lanes of traffic come in after the toll booth and I have to try to cut across these darn things in the rain in heavy, bumper to bumper traffic while my parents are arguing over the toll guy's instructions. They stop discussing it just long enough for my mom to tell me that I need to get over. You think, Mom? Another bang-the-head-against-the-steering-wheel moment because I was trying to get over.

Once we got onto Cumberland, though, they remembered enough to get me to my aunt's house without too much more discussion. Until I parked the car, then I was told I had to make sure I was close to the curb. Do you think two inches qualifies as close? I do and that's about how far out I was, but to make them happy, I repositioned the car until the wheels were practically scraping the concrete curb.

Let's just say I was really happy to be able to turn off the engine and call it good.