Because I know some of you are tracking my holiday on-line, (Cygnus Tracker!) and don't want to miss a moment of the hilarity, I will be attempting to keep a running commentary while on the road.
A few things have occured thus far that prompt me to share the first installment of what I can only assume will turn out to be a strong blog entry series of crucial Holiday Travel Rules.
Rule Number One
1. While it may seem that the $30 difference between the "basic" AAA Emergency Roadside Assistance Coverage and the "plus" coverage is significant at the point you are making your annual payment, I promise you that there will never be a garage within the "free" 8 mile towing radius that is included in the basic.
Do the math. The distance between interstate exits often far exceeds 8 miles. Plus what are the chances that within 8 short miles (that's not even a half marathon for those of you who need the perspective...) you would find a repair shop that stocks, juuuuuust for example, your ridiculuously expensive foreign car tire? I'll tell you what the chances are, they are slim to none and slim already left on vacation ahead of you.
Go for the "Plus." You'll thank me later. Which leads us to Rule Number Two.
Rule Number Two
2. You are only ever as good as your spare. When you bought your used car, i'm sure you were wowed by all the shiney things, and the smell of that fine corinthian leather, or maybe it was that suave sales guy or the size of the sales girls boobs. Whatever. I'm betting you never even looked in the trunk. Or, if you did, I bet you didn't peel back the layer and look at the spare now, didja? All cars come with dougnut spares these days. It's a pernicious plot hatched by the industry. The spare cavity, if you will, the well into which the spare is nestled, is only big enough, generally, for that mini tire, therefore, investing in a full size spare is not only costly (wait for it) but also impractical, since it takes up a lot of room in your trunk. When buying a used car, however, check the spare. Let's just say the previous owner of your car used the doughnut at some point. And then, instead of replacing it (since they have about a 30 mile lifespan) they just slapped it back in the well and forgot about it, rendering it about as useful to you in an emergency as, say, a 14 year old boy (wait for this as well). Or, maybe the spare is new, but has about 8 pounds of air pressure in it when you discover that you would like to partake of its services. Either way, you're effed. Which leads us to rule Number Three.
Rule Number Three
3. The only thing worse than blowing a tire on the interstate while passing semis as you're doing about 80 miles an hour, is turning around and immediately blowing the spare.
I'm not sure this needs any commentary, but leads us to...
Rule Number Four
4. When your drivers ed teacher (you know, Coach DeWitt in those bad stretchy coaching shorts and the whistle that he wore both on the field and off) said "It's important that you always keep both hands on the wheel...." he was referring to your strategy for surviving the scenario in Rule Number Three. He was not kidding, and if you've forgotten that advice, it is with the utmost love that I say to you "PUT DOWN YOUR GODDAMN CELL PHONE AND DRIVE WITH BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL."
There's a whole lot of stuff that happens after all this which was, I assure you, hilarious in an "oh my god" kind of way, but I'll leave you with the following and you can let your imaginations fill in the blanks.
Rule Number Five
5. Generally, people in the auto repair service industry, while a little grimey and offputting, are pretty nice. If, however, they seem like they are on the fence about being nice (maybe they're having a bad day, they're surrounded by idiot travelers on the road for Christmas, or maybe they just lost a family member in a hideous and tragic gasoline meets campfire incident and they're really just not feeling super festive right now), slipping a little cash their way seems to do the trick.
Rule Number Six
6. Almost anything can be overcome with a deep breath and a sense of humor.
Rule Number Seven
7. At no point during an untoward holiday travel catastrophe, should anyone ever say anything like "Wow, I don't think this could possibly get any worse!" Because trust me, my darlings, it can. Who knew they could have forest fires in Central Florida?
Stayed tuned for my next installment in what I think can now accurately be described as my holiday ADVENTURE, wherein I address some rules concerning family dynamics.
(Teaser: Rule Number One: Everyone can, indeed, all speak at once successfully, but only if everyone is using their outdoor voices while standing in the kitchen.)