In the last few days, I’ve been in a Bob Dylan frame of mind. Meaning, I’m feeling a little whiny. This hang dog, self pity party got its start during a road trip to Winnipeg. The catalyst for the whole experience was my morning fruit shake, which I always have for breakfast, even when traveling.
First, I must explain the careful consideration I give to my traveling outfit. 1. It cannot cling, especially in the nether regions, but must flow and breathe. 2. The top must be loose, and work with both a cool air conditioned car and a warmer one. (In case the air conditioning breaks.) I chose my baby blue button down oxford style shirt with the roll up sleeves, and a pair of white capris made of the kind of a jersey fabric that, for comfort, requires no underwear and is not see through. So.
As I was getting into the car at Tim Horton’s in the Pas, I accidentally doused myself with the deep purple fruit shake. Since I planned on dropping off my car at the dealership in Winnipeg, I was vastly annoyed, because I don’t mind dressing casually, but I hate stained clothing. Hate it. “I’ll change before we get there,” I told my mother, who, being experienced at traveling with her children, is very close mouthed, and has the ragged, bitten lips to prove it.
Somewhere between Ashern and the turnoff, we pulled over onto a rough path that led into the bush.. I dug around in my suitcase, which was wedged between two coolers, but couldn’t find a thing. Finally, I discovered an orange sun dress which would be cool enough for traveling in 30 degree heat. I couldn’t find any underwear, though. My mother offered a pair of hers, but I declined, informing her that the dress was knee length, and who would ever know, anyway?
As it turns out, the gas station attendant at an Ashern station figured it out pretty quickly. I got out of the car and experienced a ‘Marilyn Monroe in a white dress over a heating grate’ moment, with a few, major differences. There was no joyful sexiness. No flirtatious grins, or girly ‘oooohs!’ Instead, there was a horrified fifty-nine year old woman and a possibly scarred for life teenager standing face to face beside the pumps. He barked, “You forgot to open the gas cap!” I yelped, “What is with this wind!” Then we did that thing where you each try to get by but move to the same side, me crouched over like I had a serious case of osteoporisis, clutching the bottom of my skirt and yelling, Mom! Mom! and him with his head thrown back, eyes squeezed tightly shut like I’d just thrown acid in them.
It’s a good thing mom was in the bathroom already, because she probably would have run toward me clutching a pair of white cotton panties, holding them up like she was a participant in a game show. She’d never say, ‘I told you so,’ because she’s not that kind of mother. Instead, she had to listen to me relive my embarrassment all the way to Winnipeg. She doesn’t rolls her eyes, either, which I consider a miracle, since I’ve raised a few girls myself. Maybe its a side benefit of her cataract surgery.
When I got to my sister’s house, where my mother was going to stay, I asked if I could borrow a pair of her panties. As I headed to the bedroom, I heard my brother in law say reassuringly, “Don’t worry, Judy, lots of people crap their pants on that long road.”
In the end (pun intended) it was not the answer that was blowing in the wind, after all. The answer, my friend, is that I’ll be getting gas at a different station in Ashern when I return home.