Randy and I get along so well.
Except for when we don’t.
Traveling. Traveling makes Randy stress out and then I react to him stressing out and hilarity ensues. By hilarity, I mean we have had some amazing battles.
It only took 17.5 years for me to figure out that if I just let him get it out of his system and not react, then all is calm. At least that is how it seems based on the last two trips we took to Tennessee to visit friends. It could just be that we’ve gone there so often that Randy is no longer stressed by the trip.
I’d ask Randy what he thinks, but his response would be: What? I don’t do that.
Our most epic of all vacation battles happened in February of 2005. I turned 42 that year and for my birthday, we planned a long weekend in New York City with our friends, Tim and Diane. Tim had lived in NYC for 25 years, so it was nice for him to go back for a visit and it was nice for us that we would have a guide to take us to all the best places.
I just had a simple phone back then. No GPS. We didn’t even print out directions to the hotel we were staying at, because Tim knew where he was going and we were following Tim.
Shit went awry, y’all.
We had fallen a few cars behind as we drove into the city 3 hours later than expected. We were in a massive snow storm. Tim got off the wrong exit and headed into New Jersey. He called and said, don’t follow us..just go straight through the (unintelligible) tunnel and then…..dial tone.
We lost cell service.
I’m not sure which tunnel we took in. The Lincoln tunnel? We landed on Canal Street. I was driving. I had no idea where I was going. It was snowing so hard you could barely see and I had to get to 38th and Lexington.
It was driving down Canal Street that shit got bad. I was sliding all over the place. There were bike messengers riding their bikes in and out of traffic and a bunch of the store fronts had dead chickens and geese hanging out front. Just like the movies. Any New Yorkers reading this, stop rolling your goddamn eyes. We just have Kroger in my part of the country. Our poultry is stacked in freezers and they don’t have necks.
Randy was yelling at me to stop using the brakes and to downshift instead. It was the brakes fault that I was sliding. It couldn’t be that there was 4 inches of snow in the street. Also, I WAS IN FIRST GEAR.
Randy: Downshift! Stop putting on the brakes. That’s making you slide.
Me: What gear do you suggest I downshift to? I’m in first fucking gear. The light is red. I HAVE TO PUT ON THE BRAKES!
I pulled alongside a policeman and rolled my window down and shouted ’38th and Lexington’. He said, turn left on the Bowery, you’ll go down to 39th and circle back one block and you’ll be there. Don’t go over the Manhattan bridge.
That warning sounded dire to my Midwestern ears. Don’t go over the Manhattan bridge, you’ll be in a post-apocalyptic world and you will never survive!
The thing is, the cop meant RIGHT on the Bowery. Not left. It’s one way, I couldn’t turn left, but I was all the way over in the left lane. I had no choice but to go over the Manhattan bridge.
I slide very nearly sideways into Brooklyn. Randy was beside himself.
This is the worst trip we’ve EVER BEEN ON. I hate this city. I hate this trip and we will NEVER find our hotel.
I circled around a block and pulled the car next to the sidewalk and turned it off. I turned and very calmly (not calmly at all) said to him. You are right. We will never find the hotel. It’s impossible. So LET’S JUST GET OUT OF THE FUCKING CAR, LAY DOWN ON THE SIDEWALK AND DIE.
I told him that I had to drive back over the bridge. I told him that I was probably going to slide and I told him to NOT SAY A WORD when that happened.
To his credit, I don’t think he spoke when we slide down the bridge back into Manhattan.
I stopped at a gas station and animatedly told them my tale of trying to find the hotel in the Murray Hill area. The guy laughed his ass off. Told me to pull left out of the lot and to start counting street numbers.
By the time we reached 25th street, Randy realized that I knew where I was going and that we were, indeed, going to find our hotel.
I’m sorry. I’m such an asshole.
I burst into tears and agreed that he was an asshole and told him that he didn’t get to apologize to me.
Tim and Diane beat us to the hotel. Tim was waiting outside for us and greeted us with: When you guys get checked in, Diane says to go right to our room.
I shook my head: Nope. We’re going to our room. I’m going to need at least 30 minutes to yell at my husband.
Randy looked at Tim and said: Yeah, dude. She’s right. I can’t even argue.
He looked so adorable in that moment. I lost all the fight. I probably yelled at him a LITTLE in the hotel room, but it was no where near the full 30 minutes.
We had dinner at some Mexican restaurant that night. Randy and I were still keyed up from the trip and ended up going down to the hotel bar and spent a third of our budgeted money on cosmos and beer. We had no idea how expensive the booze was in the hotel bar until we got the tab.
The rest of the trip was fun, even though Randy and I both came down with a bug the second day. I remember walking blocks from our hotel to Times Square. We were both running a fever and leaning on each other because we were weak, but goddammit, we made it.
We went back a few years later with Joey. We went to Maine first and then Boston and then finally New York City. I drove in again. I told Randy that NO MATTER WHAT happened, he was not to say anything at all. ANYTHING.
We were going through some toll bridge and the signs clearly pointed out what lanes to get in. Randy pointed out what lanes to get in. I did not get in the right lanes. We ended up having to pull way over to the side while a toll booth guy, or maybe it was a cop, I don’t remember, came over and collected our money then helped ease us back into traffic.
To Randy’s credit, the only thing he said..and he said it calmly was: I told you what lane to get in.
I kind of had to give him that one.