The next morning, I pack up the tent without being asked. During the hike around Devil’s tower, I take pictures, marvel at the dramatic scenery, and comment several times about how the fresh air is invigorating. I keep a smile plastered to my face the entire time.
We’re about 20 miles into the day’s drive to Yellowstone when I start up with her.
“What the hell?” I say.
Shannon looks back at the kids. They’re all wearing various headphones.
“What,” she says.
“You never told me to buckle my seatbelt,” I say.
“You’re a big boy,” she says.
tell me to buckle my seatbelt,” I say.
“I didn’t notice,” she says. “But now that you’ve called it to my attention, buckle your seatbelt, please.”
“Nope, too late,” I say. “This is like when you get dressed up for a party and as we’re driving there you ask me if you look pretty, and I say yes, and you tell me that it’s too late, and that you should’ve never had to ask. This is just like that. Too late.”
“What do you think? That I want you to go flying through the window and die?” she says.
“No, just maimed,” I say.
“Where did you get this theory?” Shannon says.
“Well, I Skyped with Bill a little during the game,” I say.
“And he said if I don’t tell you to buckle your seatbelt, I want you maimed.”
“Correct,” I say.
“So how would it benefit me to have a maimed
husband?” Shannon says. “You wouldn’t be able to provide for the family, and
I’d have to take care of an invalid.”
“I wouldn’t be physically
maimed,” I say. “Just the part of me that’s a jackass would be destroyed.”
Shannon looks pleased with the notion.
“Now that’s more like it,” she says. “I could go for that
“See? Bill was right,” I say.
“Oh, please, you massaged that hypothetical until it didn’t even make sense
.” Shannon says. “Would you
like to see me
go flying through the windshield if it gave me bigger boobs?”
I look at Shannon with disdain, refusing to appreciate the soundness of her logic.
“First of all, that technology doesn’t yet exist,” I say. “And second, why don’t you just admit you noticed my seatbelt wasn’t buckled, and didn’t care.””
Shannon gets quiet, and looks ashamed.
“AH HA! I KNEW IT!” I say. “Even after I was totally helpful and pleasant this morning. I don’t believe it. I’m never gonna take Karen’s advice again.”
I regret these words the instant I say them.
“What do you mean, Karen?”
I shrug. “uh…”
“When did you talk to her?” Shannon says.
“She was…there with Bill…she saw your Facebook status, and-”
“And what? Told you to pretend to be enjoying yourself so I’d be happy?”
I am completely still.
“Well she should’ve told you to be a better actor,” Shannon says, “because I saw right through it. You can’t just automatically be a selfish jerk every time the Celtics are playing and then expect a phony smile to make it all better the next day.”
I don’t like hearing this – being a selfish jerk and then making it all better with a phony smile was my plan for the entire trip.
“I’m sorry,” I say.
“And?” Shannon says. “Are you going to start really
All I can think about is how much of a douche bag I’m going to have to be to see Game 5. It’s not worth it.
“Yes,” I say. “I will actually start enjoying myself.”
“And putting your family
ahead of the Celtics?” Shannon says.
“I’d like an audible answer please,” Shannon says.
“Yes,” I say. “I’m going to put my family ahead of the Celtics.”
“That’s nice to hear,” Shannon says.
I feel like Indiana Jones after he was forced to drink that hallucinogen Blood in Temple of Doom
. "Alright Indy, snap out of it so we can
close the chapter on this absurd subplot."
brainwash is worse – it comes with a price of Game 5.
Shannon leans over and gives me a kiss on the cheek.
“Buckle your seatbelt, sweetheart,” she says.
Links: Travelling: Intro / Book Jacket
, Chapter 1: Cribbagegate
, Chapter 2: Two e-mails
, Chapter 3: Pattern
, Chapter 4: Shattered
, Chapter 5: Hilarious Pee
, Chapter 6: Suicide
, Chapter 7/8: Coaching High school, Shark attacks and appetizers
, Chapter 9: June
, Chapter 10: 18 and oh no
, Chapter 11: DNA
, Chapter 12: Peanut Butter Sandwiches
, Chapter 13: Tom Brady and the McGuffin
, Chapter 14: Game 1
, Chapter 15: Who the H is John Havlicek?
, Chapters 16 - 17
, Chapter 18: Game 2: Great White
, Chapter 19: Pickle
, Chapter 20: Marty McFly
, Chapter 21 / 22: standard deviation, all the pretty flowers
, Chapter 23: Game 3: Black Hills
, Chapter 24: Twister
, Chapter 25: Game 4
, Chapter 26: Patriotic Agony
, Chapter 27: Locusts
, Chapter 28: skype
, Chapter 29: Click
, Chapter 30: Superman
Labels: chapter 29, click, traveling