After waiting in line for tickets. In a freakin’ online snow storm.
After printing out The Celine Dion post and keeping it under your pillow. Because it’s comic genius. And because you like to laugh in your sleep.
After applying for citizenship in a new land.
Everything you have done has led you to here, my friends: an intimate, acoustic, one-night-only performance in the smallest amphitheater in the blogosphere.
Please welcome the wonderful and talented Empress from Good Day, Regular People!
(cue air guitar medley)
Marriage and Travels and Travails
by The Empress
A Road Trip with your spouse.
Upon hearing those words, there are those who find themselves shuddering with unpleasant memories, and others who smile serenely, and say, “oh, I LERVE road trips with my spouse!”
I’m the one shuddering.
There can be little more that is as stressful a situation for me. Aside from bringing home your first baby, being on the road with your spouse can make you question, “for better or for worse,” because “for worse” is all the scenery you get for a good, long while, incarcerated in that car.
I remember being so very shocked at the personality change that would overtake my husband once he got behind the wheel of a car, destination in mind, a precisely creased folded map in his lap (should’ve been my clue as to his personality…umm…”type”) and the next 3 states ahead of him to cross, timeline in hand. In this case, we were headed to Indiana, from Wisconsin.
You see, I saw this travel time on the road as an opportunity for bonding, for speaking, for sharing our deepest thoughts, for discovering who we were, and laying out our hopes for the future, “our” future, together. I was ready for a solid day of travel in a car with my best friend, my husband, our bond deepening as we chatted merrily all the way.
My spouse, however, saw it this way: a personal challenge to cross 2 state lines before nightfall. He was armed, mapped and dangerous.
And, herein begins the 1930’s classic TNT movie of the babbling, blubbering crushed wife, and the James Cagney grapefruit-in-the face husband.
Because, oh, yes, it went down just like that.
Three hours into the trip, I found myself in the delicate, non-moveable state of the fullest bladder I have ever had. So full, I literally was sweating with fear that it would explode. I could hold my full bladder no longer. My husband, on the other hand, needed to clock 20 more minutes on this leg of the trip, or he wouldn’t stay on his schedule. Yes, on schedule.
Since he had a schedule, that meant my bladder-emptying needed to be done on schedule. I was told I had to “hold it.” Do you feel my incredulousness at the thought of being told I had to “hold it?”
Now I knew how our children felt.
No, I could not “hold it.” I had to go, and I had to go now. And the importance of his schedule just became more apparent as the trip went on.
I wish I were saying, “and the trip just became more wonderful as time went on,” but I can’t, because that would be lying.
I was allowed to finally relieve myself at the filthiest gas station ever seen by human eyes. I was in such pain, such crippling pain, from the dangerously overextended bladder that I actually had to hobble into the gas station.
The filth of the restroom was such that you could hear my screams 6 states away. I was not going to sit on that toilet seat in that gas station, oh no. I would hover – which, if you are able to take the crippling pain of my permanently disfigured bladder into mind, should have you in sisterly tears with me at this point in the story.
My husband had pulled over, and kept the car running the whole time.
Now, for a woman, you know what is next in importance to bladder emptying, right?
It is low blood sugar.
With the painful reminder of a full bladder now alleviated, my hunger came roaring full force to the forefront. Just like a baby after a fresh diaper change, I now needed to eat. Not wanted to eat, as in a little hungry, but needed to eat, as in black spots before my eyes and a perspiring upper lip hungry. But guess when I needed to eat?
Yes, “on schedule.”
Guess what wasn’t penciled in to occur just yet? Yes, a “food stop.”
“We can’t eat until we’ve been driving 6 hours. Have a snack.” A snack? I needed to eat a full, warm, 4 grams of protein-minimum. We continued to drive under these 24-hr fasting detox conditions for about an hour, when soon things began to swim before my eyes. My palms were getting sweaty, and my vision dotty.
“Please,” I turned to face my husband and weakly begged, “please, can we stop? I’ll eat fast. Anywhere. Please.”
I must’ve looked the part, because prior to my partial black-out, I remember my husband’s eyes widening as he looked over t0 me and quickly pulled over. I was allowed 20 minutes, but was told no further bathroom breaks in order to make up the time.
I was so low on the blood sugar level, I agreed to anything. Just feed me, since my hands are too shaky to hold a fork.
We did finally arrive at our destination of Indiana, although 1 hour and 45 minutes later than he had clocked the trip out to be.
Not something that was easy for him to accept.
I now see how he saw our road trip as a project to be delivered on time, and I saw it as the awesome opportunity of having a captive audience listening to me, me, me.
We did survive our first road trip together, and we love telling this story now, and laughing about how different we both thought that this trip would be.
And that is what being married can mean, in so many other situations, too.
It’s seeing the different expectations, and acknowledging them, and realizing, “yeah, that was pretty bad, but I’m still here.”