By the time you read this, I should be in the middle of doing something I swore I would never do again. No, I’m not having another child, although that might actually be a less painful option. I am going to drive for eight hours straight in a car with my children. With my children, I might add, on the inside of the car.
I know, I know: after the last road trip I swore I would never do this again. After the last road trip I swore that the only way I would ever travel more than 200 miles with both of my children in the same vehicle was if they could be kept more than twenty feet apart from each other the whole time, and, up until now, this has been a promise I have managed to keep. Since the last ill-fated road trip we have only travelled on planes, and since I’m the one booking the seats, I have always been able to get the sets as far apart from each other as possible without one child sitting in the cockpit and the other in the rear galley. Actually, it is easier to do this than you might think: it is a simple matter of, upon check-in, when the ticket agent asks you if you would like to have all of your seats together, responding with a resounding “HELL, no.” They usually understand once you explain to them that it’s a safety issue: if you are forced to sit next to your bickering children for the next several hours there’s no way you would be helping anyone with their oxygen mask if trouble should happen to arrive.
A few years ago I had the perfect solution to the bickering on car trips problem, and it was, if I do say so myself, brilliant. I simply bought a HUGE bag of candy at the beginning of the trip, and then told the kids that the entire bag would all be theirs at the end of the trip. That’s all—no threats, no promises. Just that. And then, the first time they started to bicker, I grabbed a big handful of the candy and threw it out the window. (Of course, there was the problem of littering—if only I had been able to find candy in biodegradable wrappers.)
Anyway, that was a great solution while it lasted, but the problem is that now that my kids are older, candy doesn’t really hold their attention the way it once did. And there’s no way I’m going to go down the road throwing out handfuls of video games, CDs, and cold hard cash. (Although sometimes it feels like that’s exactly what they do.)
Luckily, though, I recently came up with another idea, just as brilliant as the one before, and just in time for this trip. And even better, this idea doesn’t cost me anything at all, except maybe for a few bottles of hydrogen peroxide to get out the blood stains.
That’s right: I’m going to pick up a hitchhiker. Not just any hitchhiker, mind you, but a scary one. One that, if you saw him waiting by the side of the road you would think, “Who would ever pick up that guy?”
Well, now you know who would—me.
Just think about what a powerful discouragement to fighting having a potential murderer in the backseat would be. Every time someone started to bicker, or whine, all I would have to do is say, “Now, now kids—you don’t want to upset Mr. STABBY,” And, after a few little cuts (just minor ones, I’m sure—no arteries or organs), there would most definitely be peace and quiet in the back seat. Or at least quiet.
And, on another positive note, if things went terribly wrong, unlike candy wrappers, bodies are always biodegradable.