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Just a Boy & His Subaru

On a Journey to Find Themselves

Category Archives: A Collection of Essays

My mother was always weird about certain things when I was growing up. My father was too, but his was a very angry angle while mother’s was more of a neurotic angle.

As a child, I naturally rebelled against the obvious routine my parents had set in motion for me.

Now would be a good time to point out that these things are normal, everyday things that people do, it’s just that my parents were particular.

For example, every morning before leaving the house, all of the beds were made. Many of my other peers talk about having to do this too, but not one person I’ve met has had to tuck sheets and fold back a perfect crease; not one person I’ve met has come home to a pile of blankets and sheets in the middle of the floor because their bed wasn’t made correctly.

My parents were very subtle about the delivery of their messages.

Anyway, that’s just a taste of the intrinsic thoroughness my parents’ military background brought to the table. Like every night before bed, the dishes were to be done and the kitchen was put back to it’s original, pre-chaos state. No one went to bed until it was done.

Before family vacation or extended trips, the house was cleaned from top to bottom, left to right, you get the idea. “GI parties,” my mother would call them. They happened every Saturday as part of the weekend routine, as well.

The same went for the arrival of guests; everything was to be spotless and perfect.

What these routines taught me, and what I’m eventually going to get to, is that there will always be a, “best way” to do something. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other, “right” ways, just that there will always be a, “best way.”

What makes a, “best way?” Respect.

And a little bit of pride, but mostly respect.

As an adult, I find that I’m still practicing the routines my parents enforced in the household. I’ve never really strayed from them. The number of times someone has tried to call me out on them or get me to abandon them is innumerable; I’ll have these routines until the day I die.

Why?

Because they make since.

They’re the best way to do things because they factor in respect. Not just respect for the household or your significant other, but respect for yourself.

Waking up to a clean kitchen is magical.

Knowing that my bed is made and waiting for me at home is sometimes the one thing that carries me through the day.

Preparing for the final leg of my trip home after vacation, remembering that my house is clean and everything is in its place, gives me an inner peace.

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I awoke in the middle of the night, just a couple of hours after resting my head on the pillow, in a frightened state.

After being awake for nearly 24 hours, 14 of which were spent in the car and nearly six in a blizzard, my partner in crime was losing her cool. It wasn’t her fault, I’d drugged her with a Vyvanse to keep her awake and lively on the journey.

If you’re unfamiliar with Vyvanse, it’s designed for those with ADHD to help them concentrate. If you don’t happen to¬†have ADHD, you’re essentially wired and overly focused on the world around you. It comes in handy when you’re making long, monotonous journeys across states like Nebraska and Iowa.

The downside? Like any other drug, your body has to come down from the high. It also curbs your appetite, so when you come down you’re hungry, cranky, exhausted and want to sleep, but sometimes you just can’t.

Naturally we wanted to get on the road as soon as possible. It was only a few days before Christmas and we were sure traffic would be heavy. Gretchen was working until 5pm, so the original plan was for me to sleep during the day and drive the first shift while Gretchen slept until I got too tired. It would require driving overnight through Nebraska and Iowa on I-80.

If you’ve never driven across Nebraska and Iowa on I-80, I encourage you to do so, then read this over again.

Our families had warned us that they were calling for blizzard conditions in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. We had been watching the weather religiously, and although in retrospect all we had done was convince each other that we’d be fine, we didn’t see any reason not to make the 14 hour trip. Besides, our families both worry too much. We were driving the Subaru, we had packed blankets and jugs of water, we’d be fine, we were prepared.

In what seemed like an initial blessing on the trip, Gretchen was allowed to leave work early, putting us on the road at 2:30pm. The excitement of our first road trip together was enough adrenaline to get us through the first two hours. Then we were both over it.

Insert Vyvanse here.

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