Monday, November 26, 2012


Attention travelers of the Great State of California, or of any other state I may want to tour in the future:
This is your official notice. When I am going to be commuting during a holiday weekend or any other weekend I please, you are encouraged, nay instructed, to stay off the road. And out of my thin, damaged hair. I'll give you proper notice, worry not, but then I expect you to respect my wishes as I have laid them out here so politely.

By now a quizzical look may have passed over your face: why Jessie? Why should I avoid the freeways and highways and byways whenever you deem fit to take a trip? Oh, because I hate traffic. Especially I hate holiday traffic. Most especially I hate holiday traffic with a sixteen-month-old that decides to skimp on her usually generous 2 1/2 hour nap in favor of the thrifty 40 minute route.

After having our Thanksgiving feast - complete with stuffing gorge and adequate 4 pound gain - with my side of the family on Thursday (which looked something like this)

 Mountains and Sunshine

Mornings and Beer

Aunts and Hammocks

Bows and Mockery

Sean and Jordan and I made the trek up to the northern half of this beautiful state to visit his family. Our trip, beginning at the very crevice of dawn otherwise known as Hell:30 still further known as 5:30 on Friday morning, was as quick and efficient as a 7-maybe-8-hour-drive-depending-on-your-toddler can be. We had a lovely visit with Sean's parents and sister, got to see his grandparents and his aunt and uncle, had some truly delicious meals and evening walks, and all too soon we were packing up for our journey home yesterday afternoon. 

We could see it from about ten miles out. It was in the last leg of our journey home, which despite very scant naps (on Jordan's part, not on Sean's part - I drove the first portion) had gone fairly smoothly thus far. From this distance the blinding white of the onslaught of oncoming headlights mingled with the alarming red of retreating taillights to make an orange beacon ascending up the winding stretch of the Grapevine, like some kind of homing device for extra-terrestrials.

Despite the virtual wall of taillights and the flashing signs warning our upcoming delay, Sean cruised up to the traffic quickly and confidently, shrewdly ascertaining the best lane, and not braking until the last second. I think he thought that if he ignored all the indicators, he might just be able to glide over, around or between the gridlock like the Knight Bus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Alas, we are Muggles, and are forced to withstand the demeaning just as all the others are. 

As I sat at the base of the Grapevine, staring up at the swirling, candy-cane-colored vortex of doom and taillights, a neon sign mocked me with "HOLIDAY TRAFFIC. EXPECT HOUR LONG DELAYS AT THE GRAPEVINE." Hey, how 'bout you expect a load of buckshot right through your fancy fluorescent bulbs? In the meantime, Jordan was loopy from her stubborn lack of nap and could only be soothed by my fishing my hand back from my perch in the front seat so that she could puppeteer my fingers to massage her scalp, sacrifice themselves to her incisors, or rub themselves all over her face, as she saw fit. 

Our grand and dignified total came to nine hours of driving. Jordan nodded off in the last 45 minutes, bringing her grand and dignified waking to sleeping minutes ratio to approximately 540:90.

I think I've made my point. I've painted my canvas. I've proven my hypothesis. There is no reason, nor is there room in my patience banks, for everyone else to be traveling at the same time I am. I do hope you'll all bear this in mind for Christmas. We'll be taking the hideous I-5 again so just work that out of your itinerary. I hope we've come to an understanding, and thank you in advance.


  1. Either numbers are my weak suit or transposition is my string suit... That's 450:90 on the ratio, friends. Which you may have already caught and snorted at.