Last week, Jan and I took a trip to Springfield, Missouri. Springfield is my home town, and although we hadn't planned on visiting, circumstances dictated that we go. I make fun of my birth place often, as you can see here, but it's actually a pretty nice place. We didn't have much time to prepare and I knew that our car needed a "little" work to make the journey. With our car, a "little" always means a lot, and so after twelve hundred dollars worth of maintenance and repair, it was road worthy once more. Jan's car and my truck like to talk to each other when they are parked in the garage overnight, so the truck, having listened to Jan's car brag about all of the work that had been done on her ... got jealous. The very next day, on an errand, "truckee" decided to quit running, spoiled little fucking brat that it is. I managed to limp it into our car repair place and a thousand bucks later, it was satisfied that it had received equal treatment.
So, 2k in the hole already, we started out on the road. Springfield, Missouri is an 11 hour drive from the homestead, and the first 6 hours, from Chicago to St. Louis, down Interstate 55 is the most boring drive on earth. To add to the boring factor, you have to take into account that if I've driven that stretch of road 50 times, I've driven it over a hundred in the last 35 years. However, once you get to St. Louis, and onto Interstate 44 (old Route 66), the drive becomes more interesting. The people of Missouri have a tradition of naming their towns from the seat of their pants, and it's always fun to see places like Sleeper, Jerome, Cuba, Pacific and Tin Town when you're going down the road. And there are lots and lots of hills. Climb up one and scream down the other side.
Besides keeping your eye on the road and making sure you don't fly off into a ravine, there isn't much to keep you occupied besides finding a station to listen to on the radio. Once you're outside of a metropolitan area, radio pickings are pretty slim. What you can find consists of 10 watt stations blaring out the word of Jesus, on air auctions (Thelma Jean has a crib to sell for 45 dollars) and Rush Limbaugh. Rush owns the airwaves in rural areas.
And once in a while you have to stop for gas. We made it all the way to Eureka, Missouri before we had to stop, and had an argument about where to eat. I wanted to go for the St. Louis Bread Company, but Jan wanted to stop at Applebee's (yech!). Since I had to drive with her for another 4 hours, I gave in. Chains are chains, but some of them keep themselves up better than others. This particular Applebee's had seen better days, and I was wary of the food, but Jan gets mad at me if I don't eat, so ... again I gave in.
An hour later, near Rolla, Missouri, my intestinal track started talking to me and I knew I was about to have a lunch abortion. There's something about the fact that when you have to take a major dump, and you're not near a bathroom, that some lower base level of your brain takes over and your primitive instincts kick into gear. Remembering that there used to be gas stations in Rolla, I veered off the nearest exit without explaining to Jan why we were doing so. While she yammered in my ear, I sped through a construction zone and careened down a service road, looking for a potty.
Since the last time I had been in Rolla, it appeared that no one needed gasoline anymore. My next choice was a motel, but none of them looked to have lobbies that contained restrooms. When all seemed lost and it appeared that I would have to stop by the road and blow a load into the nearest ditch, I spotted ...
At this point, I would like to thank the good people at St. Johns Regional Medical Center in Rolla, Missouri for having a restroom in the lobby. Next time you're in Rolla, be sure to stop and use their excellent restroom facilities. You won't be sorry.
The only problem with the restroom, was that I wasn't the only one who wanted to use it. After I had locked myself in and was giving thanks to the Lord that I hadn't shit my pants, the following happened:
Door to Restroom (DTR): Knock, Knock!
Me: What the fuck?
DTR: Knock, KNOCK!!
DTR: KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK!
Me: Hey Asshole, someone is in here!
Me: That's it ... I'm going to kick some ass once I wipe mine!
Once I'd finished my business and washed my hands (I'm Mr. Hygiene), I jerked open the door, but no one was there. I have to figure they ate at Applebee's too, so I felt a little sorry for them, as they probably had to use the ditch.
Anyway, back on the road and three hours later, we arrived in Springfield, where Jan announced that if she couldn't get out of the car in one nano second that she was going to fucking scream her head off.
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