Up until college, I had a very hard time following the rules. One of my first words was “NO.” And my parents joke about getting up in the morning to listen to me sing my “NOs” in my crib before starting my day. I climbed out of my high chair, escaped from my crib, used my mom’s dresser as my gateway to the windows, and poured countless amounts of baby powder in all the drawers of my parent’s studio. In elementary school I refused to do my homework, in middle school I found ways to manipulate my assignments, and in high school I raged as hard as I could against all musing of my parents (but, honestly, what teenager doesn’t?).
Heading off to pursue my bachelor’s sobered me – entirely.
The summer before my fall graduation a good friend and I decided to take a 6-week long trip across the country. He was dating a french woman (whose Visa had just expired) and I was flirting with man who had 2 other girlfriends in his life. So with these relationships on the table, we headed out from Richmond, VA with no particular direction or cause … only knowing that we had to be in Yosemite National Park within 3 weeks time.
I should have known that I would make up for my lack of breaking the “rules” in spades when given the chance.
So we headed to Bryce Canyon – got lost on a 14 mile hike. Had a group of French men drive us all over the park trying to navigate the language divide while trying to get back to our car. We finally got back to our little two person tent outside of Bryce, drank some beers, read some Sherlock, and got ready for the next day of our journey.
Legs aching, we woke up to hail and rain. We finally got on the road and planned to drive to the Grand Canyon. Our little Prius had a built in GPS from 2007 … which we didn’t realize wasn’t updated. Has anyone seen that episode of The Office? Where Michael Scott drives into the lake only because his technology told him to do so? This story ends that way.
About 60 miles into the trip our beloved GPS told us to take a left onto “Unnamed Road” … did any red flags go off in our brains? Of course not. Did we notice that the road changed from pavement to dirt? … Not soon enough.
One hour passed … and then two … and we drove farther and farther away from civilization and into the Arizona desert. With only wine and peanut butter in the car, we started to get worried. There was no way for us to turn around and all we had seen in the past two hours was a lone cow and flat tires strewn from barbed wire posts. And then the wind started blowing, and the sand started filling up the air with red clouds. We couldn’t see the horizon as we drove onward and low and behold, our Prius falls into a sandy hole without any cell-phone reception in the middle of a sandstorm. Delightful.
Eventually a white truck slowly emerged from the dust and a Mexican gentleman exited his car to meet my traveling partner in the middle of the road. The hooked our car up to a pulley system and our car was out in no time … my partner reentered the car with sand in his eyelashes, grit lining his lips, and a look of utter relief plastered on his face. We were lucky, that’s for sure.
So we drove onward … finally reaching a paved road and gas-station. When we went inside to get some water the people that watched our car emerge from that god-forsaken road laughed at us whole-heartedly and congratulated us on surviving in such a nancy-pants car.
From here … we decided to skip the Grand Canyon and head to Las Vegas instead. What we needed most in that moment was a stiff drink and a celebration of life … which ultimately ended in marriage …