Road Trip

“Road trip!” Those were the excited words shouted by my fiance and two of our friends as they discussed how best to get to Tennessee for a pro wrestling show on which they would appear. At this point I should mention that all three men are professional wrestlers, one a 10 year veteran of the pro wrestling circuit, one a brand new student of his, and one somewhere in between the two. Rather than fly, because airfare was outrageously expensive, the boys decided it would be fun to drive down. My fiance, CJ, invited me to go with them. Having nothing better to do that weekend, I agreed, and plans were made.

We set out on a Friday night in January, the four of us in Bubba’s car (no, that’s not his real name), Bubba driving, Eddie riding shotgun, and CJ and I in the back seat. It was bitterly cold outside, but it was actually a nice drive. As always on any road trip I’ve ever been on with these boys, we somehow managed to stop at nearly every truck stop/rest area on the way, spending a ridiculous amount of time at each one. Somewhere around the time we entered the state of Virginia, Bubba declared he was too tired to continue driving, so Eddie took over. Not ten minutes after he started driving, CJ and I noticed that he looked as if he was beginning to doze off, so CJ asked very loudly if he’d like one of us to drive instead. Being prideful and stubborn, Eddie denied us, and, after satisfying ourselves that he was awake enough to drive, we went back to watching “Freddy Vs. Jason” on Bubba’s new portable DVD player in the back seat. Less than ten minutes later, Bubba turned to us and said “Watch this.” Such a thing coming from Bubba could only mean trouble. He had evidently decided that it was time to mess with the new guy. Eddie looked awake to us, but you never know. Bubba grabbed Eddie’s arm and yelled “WAKE UP!” at which point a startled Eddie jumped and jerked the wheel just enough on the icy road to send us into a spin. The situation quickly lost its humor as we realized what was happening. Eddie attempted to correct the car and get us out of the spin, but the road was too slick, too icy, and he couldn’t regain control. I burrowed into CJ’s side and braced myself for the inevitable impact. BANG! We hit the guardrail and slid backwards onto the road.

Once we had come to a complete stop, I raised my head and noticed smoke coming from the car. I shoved CJ and said “smoke,” and we were both out of that car like a shot. Noticing that CJ had made sure to “save” the DVD player, I almost cracked a smile until I realized that the car was probably totaled and we were in the middle of nowhere in Virginia in the middle of the night. Then I started to tremble and shake. Lighting a cigarette, I watched Bubba and Eddie get out of the car, both walking, which was a good sign. Eddie looked as though he had smacked his face against the steering wheel in the impact, and seemed pretty shaken up, which is completely understandable. After all, he had just totaled his friend’s car. The blame was not all on him, however, and Bubba knew it.

As everyone checked everyone else out and made sure we were all alive and kicking, we realized the car was still in the middle of the highway, and there was a very large tractor-trailer barreling toward it. The three men pushed the car to the ditch at the side of the highway in just enough time for the truck to pass. During all of this activity, not one of us placed a call to 911, the police, or anything of the sort. However, mere minutes after the car was safely on the side of the road, a police cruiser pulled up across the highway. Someone must have seen the accident and called it in. After ascertaining that none of us were under the influence of anything other than exhaustion and fear, the officer’s demeanor became more relaxed and he let us hang out in his car with him (where there was heat) until a tow truck and/or fire truck could be dispatched. Evidently they were seeing more than their fair share of icy road-related accidents that evening.

It felt like we were smushed into this car FOREVER. I started to doze off, Eddie just sat quietly, and CJ and Bubba started telling cop jokes to the cop. I groaned until I realized the cop was laughing. An hour or so later, when a fire truck finally arrived, we transferred ourselves to go sit in the truck and wait for a tow truck. When the tow truck finally arrived, it was nearly daylight. We were told that there was a rest are a few miles up the highway, and that the tow truck would take the car there and then we could do what we need to do with it. Knowing that the car was totaled, and not wanting to bother attempting to get it back to New Jersey, Bubba signed the title over to the tow truck driver and told him to do as he wished. The fire truck drove us to the rest area, where Bubba called his friend Tim in New Jersey to come to Virginia and get us. Then we settled in to wait.

New Jersey to Virginia is not a short drive. We knew we’d have a quite a while to wait for Tim, but at least this rest area had food (a Roy Rogers, I believe), video games, a store, etc. So we all got something to eat, chatted, tried to assuage Eddie’s guilt over the totaling of Bubba’s car, and played some video games. Bubba and I kept taking trips outside to smoke, too keyed up to sleep, while CJ and Eddie napped inside. We were there for so long we started to wonder if they would eventually kick us out.

When Tim arrived, I was so grateful to see him I almost cried. By that time, we had been at this rest area for hours, and were punchy from lack of sleep and the adrenaline crash. As we climbed into Tim’s conversion van for the long ride home, I curled up next to CJ in the back seat and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep, not waking again until we were back in Jersey.

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