The first time I visited Chattanooga on business, Our Fearless Jackass President was visiting the Chattanugget and the interstates were shut down, and I got terribly, back-assedly lost. I stopped for directions at a BP station, and a hillbilly came running into the building shouting, “The prayseydunt’s in tayun! The prayseydunt’s in tayun!” and I expected him to dance a little jig and maybe shoot two shotguns in the air in celebration. Actually, in my mind, this is exactly what happened, and he looked like an old-timey prospecter, and he also said “yee-haw.” He did not buy any gas. He was just spreading the good news and then was off to the next business establishment to (again, in my embellished version) dance his jig with his raggedy burlap Li’l Abner pants and his brown jug marked with “XXX.”
So Friday, on my visit to Chattanooga, I stopped into the ice cream/ coffee shop/ convenience store run by a very lovely lady who gave me great directions. And a young man– maybe twenty years old– came in exclaiming that a car had just caught on fire and “blowed up so hard the tires done came off”. And that it had just happened, just up the road a piece, and that he had pulled an old woman out of the car just in the nick of time. And this time, I am not embellishing, though my suspicion is that the young man may have been. But the woman behind the counter was blown away (no pun intended) by the story and praised the kid over and over until he was a little bit embarrassed, and said she had just been telling his daddy what a fine young man he’d become.
My point is that if you go to Chattanooga and want to know the dramatic goings-on in the area, just go to a gas station or convenience store and a hillbilly will come running in, out of breath, running from building to building to keep everyone informed of any new developments.
Here are some travel tips I compiled for you from the road:
Don’t drink soda on a long trip. You will feel like shit. If you go to any SONIC restaurant, they will provide you with a gigantic cup of icy, icy water with lemon for free, and it will be so giant and so cold that it will still be cold when you come back out to your car after your SECOND patient visit, five or six hours later. I do not kid! Giant and Cold! It won’t be free for long, once you do it a few times and they’re on to you. Expect to be charged eventually, but minimally.
Also, don’t eat things that make you feel like you might shit your pants. And do not eat these things if you are getting ready to walk into someone’s home. You know what these things are. Don’t be dumb.
If you bring your camera, nothing wacky will happen, except for the stuff you’ve already seen. But you will at least get your own pictures of it. (The spaceship house is for sale, y’all. Somebody buy it so I can come visit and then laugh behind your back because, after all, you bought a spaceship house.)
Mapquest beats Google. Mapquest beats Google. Mapquest beats Google. It’s a hard and fast rule.
Wear your flip flops until the last possible minute, even if you are only making a twenty-minute trip. Put your heels on in the car, go to your appointment, and replace with flip flops at the earliest opportunity. Also, unbutton your pants in the car and do not–ever– tuck anything into anywhere until you are parked in front of your destination and family members and caregivers are walking out of their home to greet you.
If you’re going to a meeting– and especially if you are meeting someone in their home– you may want to consider wearing a bra. I did not observe this rule on Friday. Hello, I am here to help you, thanks for the tea, and by the way here are my nipples.
Note to self, front seat of my car, date unknown:
More variety of snacks.
Amen, me. We could all use a little more snack variety, and you’re right– that was definitely worth writing twice on the same piece of paper, and thank goodness for the cliff’s notes version.
Wanna talk about Bird? Good. Some friends of ours have a very new, pink baby named Sam. Bird has met Baby Sam a few times at cookouts and potlucks, and she’s mildly fascinated– crouches down to poke him in the tummy and stand up and point at him, announce that he is a baby, and move on. We always explain that Baby Sam is sleeping (because he always is, of course), and on and on about Baby Sam.
Well. When asked about Baby Sam, Birdy squinches up her eyes and draws her mouth into a tight little line, and lays back like a sleeping baby. Sometimes she cracks open one eye and walks around like some kind of bizarre zombie Baby Sam. And recently, she wants us to feed her water from her sippy cup like a bottle while she pretends to sleep like Baby Sam.
I love the Baby Sam routine for so many reasons. For its cuteness and creativity and overall indication that she’s really, really paying attention, of course. But on the very very practical side of things, I love it selfishly. A. and I still rock Birdy all the way to sleep at night before putting her in her crib, and sometimes it’s a long-ish process. If she’s having a hard time getting down to business with the sleeping, I’ll cue Baby Sam, and the pretending nearly instantly becomes the reality, and she is my little snuggling sleepy baby, for at least one more night.