Last Thursday, for the fourth summer in a row, my beloved and I headed to the Chicagoland area; me to go to the Celebrate Your Life convention, her to visit with her only sibling. We left at about 10:30am expecting plenty of road construction along the way. I made sure I hadn't forgotten anything as I locked the front door and stepped into the car.
As usual, I'd brought about 20 CD's to listen to during the trip. As we got underway, Dori said, "We're not gonna listen to a lot of country, are we?" Though I'd brought some Vince Gill and George Strait, most of the rest were of the pop genre. We got underway with Genesis' greatest hits album. An hour later, I put on a CD that consisted of 70's and 80's TV show theme songs. My love had a good time trying to guess what some of them were. A few of her favorites were: "M*A*S*H", "St. Elsewhere", and "Little House on the Prairie".
By this point, we were well into Wisconsin. The temperature that afternoon was around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Two days before, we'd experienced an incredible warmup. The high had been 98 degrees. I thought it was bad when I mowed the back yard a couple of days before when it was 93, but five degrees higher is even worse.
About halfway through 'Sconnie, we stopped at Subway for lunch. It turned out to be the same Subway we'd been to once before when driving to the Land of Lincoln. I chuckled while ordering my sub as the cashier looked awfully familiar. When he was ringing us up, I said, "Do you know who you look like? McLovin from "Superbad."
He neither laughed nor frowned, just said that he's been told that numerous times before. Poor guy. He should look into getting contacts.
I have this thing that I've done for years when I see roadkill on the highway. I look at the body as we go by and then lift my eyes quickly to heaven as if to say, "I know you died there, little fella, but am confident that your consciousness continues to exist". I do this not once, but three times for each animal I encounter. This doesn't happen much in the city limits, but on our ride last Thursday, occurred at least a dozen times. Damn if I didn't get a bit tired of doing it, but some habits are hard to break. Besides, after I pass one, I don't want some raccoon saying, "Hey, thanks for not acknowledging me, prick!"
A curious thing happened as we continued. There'd be signs that would say "Road Construction 3 Miles Ahead". My response would be, "I expected this and am ready for it". Five minutes later, I'd see orange barrels on the shoulder of the road, but none blocking any of the lanes. There would be a slightly reduced speed posted, but certainly not the kind of backups I'd been expecting.
The next disc I listened to was Maroon 5's new one "Hands All Over". A gift from my woman for my birthday, it had sat unopened for more than six months. I opened it up and listened to it as we drove through Madison and was impressed with the groovy sounds it offered. It was their first production with Mutt Lange, a man who'd worked on albums with Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, and Shania Twain.
We stopped at a truck stop shortly before passing over into Illinois. A man was giving what appeared to be his son a hard time saying things to him like, "You broke my fuckin' credit card" and "Let's go, boy". Just then, I thanked my old man for rarely exhibiting such theatrics.
We'd brought ten dollars worth of quarters for the tolls we would be encountering in the state that Obama was a senator of before making it to the big time. All was well as I turned off to the exit that would lead to my girl's sister's apartment. One problem, though: as I went through the toll area, there wasn't any place to put the 30 cents. Just a number of cameras. The person behind us honked and I lifted the money into the air as if to say, "Where the fook do I put this?" Not getting a reply, I continued on. Dori talked about possibly being fined a hundred dollars and said she'd talk to her sister about how to proceed.
Once we arrived at her loved one's, I helped bring her luggage in and asked if I could check my email. I did so while Dori gave her sister some late birthday presents. I was asked if I wished to stay a bit longer, but wanting to get checked in and have a bite before winding down was uppermost on my mind now that it was after 4pm. I said goodbye to the girls and got in my car, eager for the next step in my 4-day journey.