The Long Drive
A few months ago, we attended an out of town birthday party. It was only a 45-minute drive outside of the city. My wife and I took our daughter and two unsuspecting single friends.
The drive there was uneventful. The event was fun and eventful. The drive back was the reason this post is categorized under the Daddy Disasters section of this blog.
On road trips you are only guaranteed a one-way ticket for good behaviour. One way will be easy. The other way will be torture. Your child will not peacefully sleep both ways.
Our 45-minute drive took 45 minutes on the way there. It took nearly three hours on the way back.
There was an accident on the highway. We were stuck in the inevitable backlog of rubberneckers. When we made it past the minor accident, the traffic did not let up. The traffic continued. Something was amiss. It was gridlock.
There was another accident. Again minor.
Traffic was moving at a snail’s pace. Birds flew by overhead at double our traveling speed. We eventually made it past the second accident and traffic began to move. It was that post accident freedom when you begin to attain normal highway speeds.
It was glorious. And only lasted for a moment. Until we hit the gridlock of a third accident. It was unbelievable. Three minor traffic accidents back to back to back.
It would have been nothing more than an entertaining story for a cocktail party if there wasn’t a baby in our car. A baby who didn’t want to be in the car.
A baby who began to cry. She refused toys, and books, and distractions. The carefully curated grownup playlist – gone. Instead children’s songs. “All the Babies Love Bananas”, “Row Row Your Boat” and more. The music had no effect. Our terrible singing didn’t help.
If only we had a soother. We didn’t. If only our crossover utility vehicle was a time-travel ready Delorean. It wasn’t.
We were trapped.
The child was in full-blown tantrum. Crying, fussy, red-faced. Our single friends likely asking themselves what they did to deserve to be trapped in a sonic wall of wailing baby screams.
When we arrived in the city, one of our single friends quickly jumped out of the car as we stopped at an intersection. “I’m almost home,” she said. She wasn’t. “I’ll just grab this bus.” There was no bus. Her flight instinct had taken over. She saw her first chance to escape and took it.
For us, the parents, this abuse was something we signed up due to our successful consensual relations. But for our unfortunate friends who had neither a child nor a vehicle. They just wanted a ride to the party. It was a ride they’ll likely never forget.