It was 11PM, and I was still driving. I’d been driving since 10AM, and other than getting lunch and refueling, I hadn’t stopped. I was moving from Colorado to Texas and it was a 15 hr. drive.
It’s a hard-to-swallow fact that we can get by with much less than we have. I may have over-proved that fact on this trip. Usually I have a topper on my truck, and am able to move a decent amount of possessions. This time, I didn’t have that topper. Why? Because it’s “uncool…” I own a green, 2001, 4×4 Toyota Tacoma extended cab. It’s a really cool truck. The topper, on the other hand, is a blue, universal topper for an uncool 90’s model. So I took it off.
When moving across states (which I do about every 3 months), it’s not uncommon to run into bad weather. It was therefore necessary to pack everything I was taking with me into the cab of my truck…
“Maybe I should have kept the topper on.” I said to myself as I steadied my computer from falling off the stack of clothes in the seat next to me. Everything I would need for the summer was in the cab of that truck with me, including my violin.
It had been a long drive, and I was getting tired. To help keep myself awake, I rolled down a window and turned up the music. Suddenly a voice blared out:
“Off route, recalculating route.” It was my GPS, which was hooked into my truck’s stereo system.
“Oh, great, not again.” I’d missed my turn. This happens frequently. It’s like Murphy’s Law plagues my driving. If I can get lost I will get lost! This is ironic, considering part of my job is to drive around and find people…
“Okay, let’s pull over here.” I pulled over, examined the laptop, and figured out how to get back on route. I know you’re thinking, “How on earth does someone get lost with a GPS?” Well, it’s not entirely my fault.
The GPS unit was a relatively inexpensive package we got on a product exchange at Best Buy. This is not a military-grade GPS unit. In other words, when the GPS says, “Turn right,” It really means, “Turn around, you’ve passed your turn.” I now realize that, but this doesn’t solve the problem of getting lost in the first place. Often, while driving on a highway, I’ll ask, “Where are we?”
“We’re over there,” comes the reply.
“About thirty feet on the other side of that fence, driving through that corn field.”
I really hope the military’s GPS guided munitions are more accurate! Another problem I’ve noticed is this: I input an address and follow the directions. After making numerous turns and winding along roads the GPS indicates I’ve arrived at the address. I look around, and there’s nothing there…nothing but a heard of sheep.
“This can’t be it man, we’re in the middle of a sheep fold.”
“It says it’s right here,” my friend replied.
“There’s no way! There’s nothing here but sheep. Let me see that thing. Hmmm… Okay, forget this; let’s go find the next person.”
I have wasted more gas money following my GPS on wild goose chases than the GPS cost me in the first place.
The story was no different moving to Texas. I now found myself lost again at 11PM. I finally got back on track.
“I should call someone,” I thought. The problem is that almost everyone I know is sleeping at 11PM. “Steve’s in Hawaii, I’ll call him.”
“Hey dawg, wassup?”
Stephen: “Money! I haven’t heard from you in forever, what are you doin’?”
“I’m driving across Texas. It’s really boring, keep me awake man.”
“What’s that I hear?”
“It’s my GPS telling me I’m lost again. Hold on… Okay, there.”
“Haha, I thought that was a woman in the car with you!”
“C’mon man, you know me! Though, I must say, 13 hrs. in a vehicle by yourself will make you wish you were married like nothing else!”
I’ve since rethought that statement: 13 hours of you and your spouse alone in the car would probably make you want to be single like nothing else…
“Haha, How much longer are you planning on driving?”
“My parents want me to get a hotel tonight, so that’s what I’m looking for.”
We continued talking until I found a hotel.
My initial plan was to fit everything in the cab of my truck so that I could stop at a truck stop and sleep in my truck for the night. My mom wasn’t keen on that idea, and so they’d called and asked me to find a hotel. Being the wonderful son I am, I grumbled and complained, and finally agreed. I found a decent-looking hotel and stopped.
“How much are rooms?”
“I don’t want to buy the room,” I was thinking to myself.
“Is there anyplace cheaper in town?” I asked.
“Not with a pool.”
I look over at the pool, the sign on the door states that it closed at 10PM—one hour ago.
“It’s already eleven I won’t even get to use it. Can you give me a discount because I won’t use the pool?”
“Okay, I guess I’ll take a room for the night.”
“I’m sorry, but all of our rooms are booked.”
“Thank you, you’ve been very helpful.”
I finally found a hotel with vacancies. There are two reasons this hotel had vacancies. One, it was so far removed from the interstate that few people found it. And two, this hotel was actually a motel, and most of those who found it decided to spend the night under a bridge instead.
Upon getting into my room, I decided it wasn’t that bad and determined to take a quick shower.
The shower was in the corner of the bathroom and looked a little like something you’d find in the space shuttle—so small that if you dropped the soap, you had to turn the shower off, open the curtain, step out, bend down and pick up the soap, then get back in the shower. The shower head was in the corner, and sprayed directly into the shower curtain—thus, I needed to be in the shower, with the curtain closed, before turning the water on. Then I turned the water on…
Why do hotels think their guests need pressure-washing? When the water hit the shower curtain, it nearly ripped it off the rod, and sprayed water all over the bathroom. The only way I could save the shower curtain was to stand between it and the shower head. As I stepped out of the shower and dried off, I looked in the mirror. I looked like I had gotten severely sunburned. “At least my skin is still there,” I thought to myself—when I was in the shower, it was hard to tell.
Just before the move, some friends had warned me about checking under the mattress in motels for bedbugs. “If I find some,” I thought, “what will I do? Maybe it’s best to remain ignorant.” So, squeaky clean, and slightly tender, I climbed into bed. I had no trouble deciding which bed to sleep in—the one closest to the air conditioner. I turned the air conditioner up all the way, and lay in bed, glad I would arrive at my destination the following day—if I didn’t end up in a pasture somewhere…