Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Life In a Yahtzee Cup

Ka-chik. Ka-chick. Ka-chik.
Chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik!
Ka-chik.


When you're in the final stretch of a 9-hour drive from North Carolina to Florida, you've either achieved a Road Warrior level of zen, or every last possible petty annoyance is blossoming into a full-on assault on your weary psyche.

Ka-chik. Ka-chick. Ka-chik.

The German is a lovely boy, in many ways the sweetest-natured of our three sweet-natured children. One time, when he and his brother were very young, the Italian was crying because he had not behaved well enough to earn a stamp on the back of his hand from their gymnastics instructor. Did the German gloat and flaunt his stamp? No. He discreetly licked his finger and tried to wipe off his stamp, so his brother wouldn't feel bad. You can't pick'em any sweeter than that.

Chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik!

All the way along the tedious drive, an hour to reach Interstate 95 followed by 488 miles straight down the eastern seaboard of North America, our children behaved better than one could hope for. They watched movies, listened to their iPods, played games, conversed, stared out the windows. Not until the very end did the Italian begin to come unglued, but then weren't we all? We all wanted to stretch our legs and vent some pent up energy. Yes, the children have been wonderful.

Ka-chik. Ka-chick.

That noise? It's nothing. Tell yourself it's nothing. If you ignore it, it will drown in the hum of tires barreling down the road and wind rushing over the van. The German really is a lovely boy.

Ka-chik.

Such a lovely boy...

Ka-chik. Ka-chik.

After eight hours in the van with another hour ahead of him, he deserves an innocent distraction. He doesn't even realize he's doing it. Look at him. He's staring at whichever movie is playing on the tiny screen that pops out of the ceiling, listening intently to the dialogue through the headphones that seal him off from the rest of the world. It doesn't seem to be bothering anyone else, so don't let it bother you.

Ka-chik. Chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik!

Oh, please make it stop! If he doesn't stop rattling that plastic container of Menthos gum, I'm going to lose the few remaining drops of reason keeping me focused on the pending joy of the family vacation we have planned for the next few days.

Why doesn't he eat the gum? Then there wouldn't be any demonic little pellets to rattle like dried beans in maraca! Why would anyone turn chewing gum, innocently soft chewing gum, noiseless and unoffensive chewing gum, into candy-coated castanet innards? Who could have pioneered such an evil scheme against the senses?

Ka-chik. Ka-chick. Ka-chik.
Chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik-a-chik!
Ka-chik.


Damn you, Chiclets!



© 2011 Mark Feggeler

4 comments:

  1. Aaah, traveling with your family. It can either drive you closer or drive you to commit a felony.

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  2. I think I have the same container in my car .....

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  3. I keep forgetting to pack the earplugs...

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  4. I've spent many hours and miles in cars with kids that were snugly packed that offered plenty of he/her touching me. No DVD's just play some game or entertain yourself. The DVD choice was never an option and maybe, maybe not, better that is wasn't.

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