A five-hour car trip to the beach is tough enough to accomplish if you’re Superman and have the gift of looking great in tights and that showy flair for flight.
If you’re a family of four with at least one kid who can’t sit still long enough to blink, it’s a little more difficult. Especially if the kid inherited the fidgety gene from his mother, who is piled up in the front seat braiding the road map.
We packed the car, wedged in a couple of kids who have seen enough in the way of growth spurts to resemble the Incredible Hulk after a Breakfast of Champions, raced to the end of the driveway, and braked to a gravel-spewing stop at the mailbox.
Kid Two rose from the backseat like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. He has the eerie blue glow that comes from extended exposure to computer light. This kid’s idea of unplugged is a wireless Internet connection that is so fast it has déjà vu when he turns it on.
“How much longer?”
“Five hours,” the Captain responded gleefully as he put the car in gear and plowed through two rows of daylilies by the curb. “We’re on the way!”
“Five hours! My battery pack will never last that long. I can’t believe you made me go on vacation. ”
“We’re going to the beach. It’ll be worth it.”
“The beach is three hours away.”
“That’s a different beach.”
“There’s more than one beach?”
“Yep. Check with Google. You learn something new every day.”
“I learned my parents are forcing me to go to a five-hour beach. Nobody else’s parents are that mean.”
“Keep it up and we’ll make you go out to eat, too.”
This kid thinks any restaurant that doesn’t offer chicken nuggets or pizza is a terrorist racket designed to kill us with vegetables.
“At least I can use the high speed Internet access when we get there.”
“Sorry. Vacation means we’re there to enjoy ourselves. There’s no Internet access.”
“Not even dialup?”
“No, but there are herds of wandering Triceratops out back.”
“And bar soap and rotary dial phones, too. Right. This is a museum trip, isn’t it?”
Five hours later, we unfolded ourselves and tumbled out of the car, performing the happy dance to the beat of ocean waves on the shoreline.
Kid Two stopped, sniffed the air and climbed back in the car.
“What’s the matter, Bud?”
“According to Google Maps, we’re five miles from the nearest McDonald’s. They have food and free Internet access. The way you people drive, we’d better start now if we want to get there before I lose power.”
What can I say? We might be in for sun fun at the beach, but this kid still yearns for the smell of salt on French fries and has the overpowering urge to surf the Web.