I’m really sorry, but there won’t be a “Just humor me” column this week. My wife Kara and I just got back from vacationing in Michigan (where else?), where I had every intention of writing a column, but, honestly, I just never got around to it.
I truly intended to write one — I even stuck my laptop in my book bag and brought it in the car, figuring that I could get a good start on the column on the way to Mackinac Island, which is a good fourteen-hour drive from our house. We decided to drive because, not only did we hear the open road calling our names, promising to whisk us away on grand adventures, but also because all of the flights we could have taken were priced as if the Beatles were playing a reunion concert on board, serving pâté de foie gras with puréed Dead-Sea-Scroll-and-almond truffles after the show.
I know that the airlines are having a tough time right now, but they can’t expect me and Kara to pull them out of bankruptcy all by ourselves. Maybe if they started giving us the whole can of soda, instead of just the plastic cup, we’d consider it. Until then, no deal.
My point is that, because we were driving all that way, I thought I could write the column when Kara’s turn to drive came around. As it turns out, though, the idea of Kara’s turn to drive, like Neverland, exists only because I believe in it. Like world peace and solar-powered cars, Kara’s turn to drive always seems just out of reach; somehow it inevitably manages to slip away, further into the future and the passenger’s seat, eating nacho cheese Combos.
While I didn’t get a chance to write anything on the way up to Mackinac, if James Patterson spent as much time writing last week as I spent driving, he probably wrote three novels.
All that time behind the wheel gave me ample opportunity to think about everything, like the direction I was taking with my life, all the chances I’d missed and the chances I’d taken, but mostly I just thought about how our bike rack looked as though it was going to wrench itself off of the trunk and skitter under an eighteen-wheeler at any moment.
A related discovery I made recently is that there is a direct relationship between how badly you attach a bike rack to your car and how much room the closest tailgater will give you. For the first few hours of the trip, before we pulled over and tightened the straps on the bike rack, we had a full mile of open road behind us. After tightening them, the tailgaters felt safe enough to cruise along behind us at such a distance that it would have taken an electron microscope to tell that our cars were two separate entities. We pulled over and loosened the straps again.
The last time I did the drive up to Mackinac, it was with three of my high school buddies. I noticed some differences between that drive and the one I just did with Kara. For one thing, Kara and I never felt compelled to pull off the road in the middle of the night to rearrange the letters on a sign from “WELCOME TO MCDONALDS” to “COWMEEL MAD COLD SNOT”. I’m sure that if we had, though, we could have come up with something better. Also, with Kara in the car, requests to have my neck rubbed resulted in a rubbed neck instead of a bruised arm.
I hope all this blathering made you forget that there’s not a column here.