Dave and I often use the long weekend opportunity to road trip with the kiddos – most often to Rhode Island to see his folks.  And while  we chose to stay home this MLK weekend, I could not forget about those mothers who decided to brave the highways with their families.  This post is for you.

See blue rest stop sign approaching.  Ask if anyone has to go to the bathroom.  When everyone says no, keep driving.  Approximately three miles down the road someone has to poop – badly.  Pass another blue sign which reads “Next Rest Stop – 35 miles”.  Tell hubby to floor it.

Pull off at next rest stop area.  Feel sorry for the people for whom the rest stop is named.  Tell anyone in the car who will listen that when you die, you would rather have nothing named after you than have your name forever be associated with a place where no one wants to be.

Argue about where to park the car.  Despite the fact that you have been driving for hours and need to stretch your legs, try to get the spot closest to the door.  Bicker with husband when he tries to beat the system by following the arrow for “trucks only”.  Smirk when spouse figures out that they really mean trucks ONLY.  After retreating to the “cars only” lot, spouse retains manhood by finding the perfect spot and backing in.

Eyeball each patron entering the rest area with you.  Notice that they fall into two categories:  either 1. “family next door” or 2. “sociopathic pedophile terrorist.”   Quicken pace.

Make a beeline for the bathroom.  If your child is under the age of 12 do not let them go into the bathroom alone as it is the perfect opportunity for them to be abused, abducted, or scarred for life.  If your child is over 12, realize that the human traffic pattern at the rest stop makes it virtually impossible for them to be abused, abducted or scarred for life.  Tell them to have fun and send them in alone.

Enter the bathroom area.  Do not choose the first stall as there is a gaping space between the door and the wall.  You do not want total strangers who have never seen you before and never will again watch you going to the bathroom.  Do not choose the second or third stalls for no good reason.  Carefully peer behind door number four.  EEEEEEEEEK!!!!  There is a large poopie in that toilet.  Rather than admit that you have seen at least several thousand poopies that big before and deal with it, recoil in horror and try door number 5.  We have a winner.

Look to hang purse on hook on back of door.  See hook is no longer there.  Wonder what in God’s name did someone hang from that door to rip the hook off its hinges.  Wonder if someone hung a child from that hook while they were peeing.  Do not put purse on the floor because someone will obviously steal it while your pants are down.  Clutch it close to you as if you were assuming the crash position in the airplane.

Try to pee without sitting down.  After spending 4 hours in the car with two cups of coffee, realize that your legs can not hold you up for that long.  Put one cheek down.  Realize that this is mighty uncomfortable and surrender your full butt to the rest room toilet seat.  As you finish, remind yourself that you have never contracted ANY type of butt disease.

Reach for toilet paper and be thankful for the new roll just installed.  Take back thankful feelings when you see the roll is so horribly stuffed in the dispenser that you are only able to tear off one sheet at a time.  Tear. Tear. Tear. Tear. Tear.  Stand and wait for auto flush to do its thing.  When it doesn’t, press yourself against the door as far from sensor as possible.  When it still doesn’t flush, look for secret button that makes it flush.  When you see that doesn’t exist, hide your face as you exit stall so that the next person will never recognize you as the woman who didn’t flush the toilet (even though it wasn’t your fault).  As soon as you take two steps out of the stall, hear toilet flush.  Raise head proudly.

Stand in front of sink and wave hands wildly.  Notice sink is totally dry.  Shuffle to next sink where water is below freezing.  With dripping hands look around for paper towels which do not exist.  This is an eco friendly rest stop.  Stand under poor performing hand dryer for 30 seconds with  zero results.  Run wet hands through hair to dry.  As you exit rest room pass mother who is entering, loudly whispering to her child “do NOT touch anything.”

Meet your family outside bathroom.  When child asks if he can get a super ball out of the quarter machine, say no.  When he asks if he can make a commemorative coin of the rest stop out of a penny for 50 cents, say no.  Tell them you are out of money and you have just enough to buy lunch.

Decide to go healthy and peruse the refrigerated shelf of chef salads.  Watch as children select fried chicken and curly fries. Convince yourself that a chef salad is really difficult to eat in the car.  Tell yourself this is a matter of survival and getting there without major spills is the name of the game.  Order a bacon double cheeseburger and fries.  And a vanilla shake. Tell husband that yes, he can get the large Starbuck’s latte but you are NOT stopping again for another 3 hours.  His choice.

After grabbing 500 napkins, exit rest area, thanking the sociopathic pedophile terrorist for holding the door for you and your family as you leave.  Never be more glad to climb back into your car.  Check clock and realize that was 19 minutes of life you will never get back.  Spill milkshake on lap.

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