Monday, February 8, 2010


In junior high and high school, I spent a lot of time at my best friend Jennifer's house.  Her parents are/were quirky people.  I mean that in a good way.  I like quirky people. "Normal" people scare me.  I find myself waiting for the big scary to come winging out at me from some unknown direction, so I live in fear of not ducking in time.  I went on vacation with Jennifer's family twice to Kiawah Island.  There were six of us: her parents (Frank & Barbara), her brother and his friend (Todd & Craig), and Jennifer and I all in her parents cadillac.  There was always one kid in front with the parents.  We all brought our walkmans.  Does anyone still have a walkman anymore?  I don't think so.... I digress.

It was a long car trip (both times).  And my memories of the trips are intertangled because they were pretty much the same.  Imagine four kids with walkmans and two girls who liked to sing (out loud) and two boys who didn't want to hear anyone sing out loud.  So there were periodic bouts of arguing about that. All the ladies brought books.  Frank drove the whole trip.  The best part about the drive involved the air conditioner.  Say what?  You heard me.  This is summer.  It is hot.  All the windows are down.  Four kids are oblivious to everything because they have their walkmans blasting when all four simultaneously realize that Frank is rolling his window down and slapping at the controls for the a/c saying, "Well, if you don't want the air on we'll just keep the windows down."  You have never seen four teenagers and one wife move so fast.  Up go three windows and we wait with expectation; the sweat rolls down all of our faces.  We realize the moment is lost when the a/c does not come back on and we all roll our windows back down.  I wish I could tell you how many times this happened, but I can't.  We weren't fast learners. 

We also got "lost" once in Charleston.  Barbara was in charge of the map and she couldn't find us on the map to get us found again.  Frank was very frustrated because he didn't know where to turn.  I think it was the closest I had ever seen them come to ever having a real fight.  Words were defintely exchanged back and forth and I remember being uncomfortable at the time.  It wasn't until many years later and several relationships of my own that I understsood that all couples get frustrated with one another.  In point of fact, all people get frustrated with one another.  The fact that they didn't actually fight...kudos.

We did a lot of walking, but not together.  Frank is a very fast walker.  He has long legs and believes in walking fast wherever he goes.  He has never voiced this philosophy, but actions speak louder.  Todd also has long legs and this was an oppurtunity to decide if he wanted to go out for track.  Craig was shorter than Todd so he, too, was considering track on those trips.  Jennifer knew she didn't want to go out for track, but she didn't want to get completely left behind so she was always somewhere in the middle of the group.  Me?  I didn't know what to do.  Barbara was a slooooow walker.  I was afraid that if I walked with her we might never find the rest of the group.  Ultimately, we looked like we were stretched out on a string.  No one ended up walking with anyone else.  We all just hoped to keep up to the next person in the line of sight.  One time Frank got so far ahead that he disappeared completely. When he realized it, he came back and made an arrow with his arm like a turn signal and kept going.  Of course, we were blocks and blocks away so that meant nothing.  I was laughing so hard on the inside.

If you are thinking to yourself, this sounds like a horrible marriage, it's because you're looking at the surface.  Maybe Barbara laid in bed at night being angry at Frank about fast walking, maps, or the air conditioner in the car, but I doubt it.  She probably thought about all the laughing they did on the couch while he rubbed her feet or maybe what they did after that (which I REALLY don't want to think about) and went right to sleep.  That's what I think.

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