I saw the ocean for the first time when I was eleven years old. Well, it technically wasn’t the first time, but it was the first time I could remember. It was on a road trip to Myrtle Beach, and to get there, we had to traverse about 600 miles of terrain through Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas. We drove overnight to reach there by the morning, and like most of our family road trips, this was not a good idea.
I woke from my cozy slumber on the floorboard of our Pontiac 6000-LE (yes, this is a real car) to the shrill cries of your Uncle Jordan, who had been in the car seat for several hours and definitely did not think the overnight drive was a good idea. If the crying didn’t give it away, the waterfall of vomit just about ready to crest over the lip of the seat and onto my head was a dead giveaway.
To this, I said, “Ah, the memories.”
And it’s stuck in our family ever since.
Not for nothing, either, Blue. The memories, both good and bad, are what we end up with as time washes everything else away, and this is why you should take every chance you can get to make the most of them.
So here’s one.
About two years ago, just after we found out we were going to inviting you into the family, we decided that we were going to take a road trip to Canada. It was our Baby moon, and we were going to spend it in the Pacific Northwest.
Vancouver is an awesome place, Blue. It’s the LA of Canada, with more pine trees and mangosteens. (Have you had a mangosteen? No, you have not. Because they’re rare here.) While we were up there, we decided to drive along the famous Sea to Sky highway, this tiny ribbon of road that hugs the mountains along the coast on the way to Whistler.
I will remember many things about this trip, but two things I will remember forever. The first started when I decided to buy a bottle of Mountain Dew for my driving beverage of choice to Whistler. I don’t normally drink Mountain Dew. It tastes awesome, but I hold to the common sense assumption that if something looks like rocket fuel, it’s probably not the best idea to put it into your body on a consistent basis.
But I did, for that trip. I don’t know what they put into Canadian Mountain Dew that’s different than American Mountain Dew, but it sent my bladder into overdrive. From the time we reached downtown from our hotel, about a fifteen-minute drive, I was squeezing hard to keep everything contained.
It’s a delicate balance, Blue, trying to find that sweet spot between speed and stamina on an emergency dash to the bathroom. Go to slow, and you’ll go. Go to fast, and you’ll go. Has to be right in the middle, with just the right pinch. I just barely got to a bathroom in time, and the ensuing stream was terrific and complete. Exiting, we got back into the car and made our way through a park. It was the only way to the other side of the city and the Sea to Sky highway.
We hit traffic, and as we sat there, I realized that the Mountain Dew working its way through my system was ready for round two. We were in the middle of a forest, and with no immediate prospects nearby, things were about to get dire. So I pulled to the side and urinated on a tree in Stanley Park.
That was the first thing. The second thing I’ll always remember happened a few minutes later. As we made our way along the highway, your mother popped a twizzler in her mouth and asked, “Hey, do you mind if we roll the windows down and get some fresh air?”
No, I didn’t. It was a good idea. The air in Canada smells nice. It stings your nostrils, but in the good way. The Hey!You’reAliveAndThisIsAwesome way, not the Hey!ThisIsSmogAndIt’sSearingYourLungs way down here.
We passed through a few turns, the sea a beautiful turquoise on our left and a wall of pine trees on our right. Your mother floated her hand out the window, catching the wind with her palm and then diving back to the rear view mirror finger first.
It was an idyllic scene, and we descended a stretch of road, we spotted a biker cruising down the side. As we passed, your mother leaned out of her window and yelled into the wind.
Somewhere, there is a poor Canadian cyclist still trying to work out the mystery of what this cute girl from California yelled out the window at him. It seems like the strangest thing, and it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but he swears she yelled, “FISH BALLS!” at him. But that couldn’t be right? It had to be something else. It had to be…
Nope. No, Canadian cyclist. She most certainly did yell FISH BALLS at you.
And I will never forget it.
Ah, the memories.