Dec 152009

Originally posted by me on Associated Content

It was the Christmas of 2004 when my partner Joey’s parents gave us what we thought would be the ultimate gift: a family trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Even though the trip itself was wonderful, the travel there and back was a car ride wrought with trouble. Even though we made it back (barely) alive, I wish I could block those 36 hours if driving from my memory.

I knew that the trek from Indiana to Florida in the back seat of a Jeep Grand Cherokee would be arduous, but I had never been to Disney World before and 25 years seemed like long enough of a wait. Everything was smooth sailing until the Jeep made it to Tennessee It was then that we hit the worst bottlenecking traffic jam I had ever seen in my life. People were turning off their motors to save fuel, while children left the confines of their vehicles to answer the call of nature. Each minute that passed seem to agitate Joey’s father further, which wasn’t a frame of mind someone in charge of driving the entire way should be in. I tried to remain oblivious in the backseat as the profanities from the front seat increased, and eventually I resigned myself to taking a nap.

I awoke to find the Jeep barreling down a stretch of unlit and deserted county road. Joey’s father said we got detoured off of the interstate, and he was trying to keep up with the people who had exited in front of him in hopes of preventing us from getting lost. Rather than say anything, I went back to sleep and tried to stop my imagination from conjuring images of cousin Jeb and his banjo by fantasizing about a first-class flight to Orlando, complete with champagne and hors d’ourvres. Finally, hen daylight broke and I wiped the sleep from my eyes, we were in Georgia and back on the interstate. The rest of the car ride was uneventful and we found ourselves in our hotel room before night fell again.

After a few days of fun in the Florida sun, the time came to pack the Jeep back up and say goodbye to Disney World. We barely made it back across the Georgia border before it hit me; a wave of nausea so intense I would have likely fallen down had I not been sitting. As fast as I could, I dumped the contents of one of the souvenir shop bags on to the floorboard and wretched violently into it. Without even asking, Joey’s dad stopped at a gas station. It was a good thing too, because that was when the abdominal cramping took over. After what seemed like an eternity, I emerged from the filthy restroom and returned to the Jeep. While I had been “indisposed”, Joey’s mom had bought me some Pepto Bismol and Dramamine. Without hesitation I took a dose of each and drifted off to some sort of sleep and hoped my body wouldn’t try to eject anything unsightly while I was unconscious.

I only had to have Joey’s dad pull the Jeep over about every two hours, which turned an 18 hour trip into a 21 hour trip. We ended up staying in a hotel on the way back because I was so sick and everyone else was so exhausted. By the time we got back to our apartment in Bloomington, Indiana, I was completely drained and felt like I needed another vacation in order to recover from our trip to Disney World. It actually may be the “happiest place on Earth”, but getting there and back involved two of the unhappiest car rides I have ever been a part of.

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