Henry: There’s Notre Dame.
Me: ….that big dirt pile?
Henry: Well….no. On the other side of that.
I woke up Monday morning with a dire need to get the hell home. We had driven straight to South Bend, Indiana after saying goodbye to Riot Fest on Sunday, and I was so happy to be staying in a decent hotel after four nights in the worst Motel 6 — hey, we do what we need to do to be able to go to Riot Fest, and it may be just be one step up from sleeping in a car, but at least there was hot (almost pressure-less) water…? I tried not to complain too much because #SOBLESSED to be there, blah blah blah. Trying on a pair of grateful-pants. They don’t fit very well.
You know that I missed Chooch a lot when I didn’t consult my Roadside America app ONCE on the way home to Pittsburgh on Monday. The struggle was real, man, and I barely even wanted to stop for breakfast. But we missed breakfast at the hotel because prissy Henry was too busy lollygagging, blowing out his hair, pomading his beard — I don’t know what Henry does. I never watch him get ready because it’s boring.
Anyway, since Henry fucked up, I found a placed called JEANNIE’S HOUSE which was somewhere that required us to drive around like 8 “traffic circles.”
Traffic circles are cunts. And second of all, they’re roundabouts.
Jeannie’s ended up being… the bomb dot com? All that and a bag of chip? Why were these things ever acceptable to say? Jeannie’s was great. We got to hang with the locals at the counter! And our waitress loved me because I have an awesome phone case; she even made another waitress come over and said, “Show her your phone case!”
I have better accessories than most high school girls.
MAYBE EVEN MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS.
Honestly, that part of me has never changed. I’m literally still the same 10th grader who brought an argyle knapsack to study hall everyday, stuffed with travel games and Floam. People called it the Barney bag, which seemed accurate at the time but now I’m like, Mary Poppins bag would have been better.
But yeah, that’s still me: wearing giant plastic rings and carrying holographic eyeball purses.
Henry just rolled his eyes and proceeded to zone out during this whole exchange.
Anyway, the breakfast fare was standard, but what drew me there was the promise of homemade jams.
I made sure to get a grilled biscuit with my swiss omelet and then proceeded to ask, with urgency, “DO YOU HAVE THE HOMEMADE JAMS?” Our waitress was like “….Yes?” And then she told me the flavors. I picked peach, which is what Henry tried to also choose until I sternly said, “You have to get a different one so we can share!” and then I coughed, “Idiot” under my breath.
Breakfast was delightful and those jams really did make a big difference.
And then it was back in the car, where Henry was confused by how roads work in Indiana.
Henry: So I can only go left or right? Not straight?
Me: Who cares.
Henry: Well…I care. I don’t want to get a ticket…?
Didn’t Henry LIVE IN INDIANA? I guess he was too busy driving other people’s cars into ditches.
I should have peed before we left Jeannie’s but then we wouldn’t have seen some large, shirtless man yelling at someone sitting in their car in a McDonald’s parking lot after utilizing a surprisingly nice and updated bathroom in a gas station in Smalltown, Indiana where we then got a ton of beverages (including a gross iced coffee), a bag of chip and a (gross) Snickerdoodle for under $5! I think that’s cheap, right?
We also saw not one but THREE cars pulled off to the side of the road where people were picking grapes growing along a median. Wow.
Indiana, you’re flavorful.
That iced coffee was so disgusting though, no surprise. It was this terribly thick concoction and whether it actually had coffee in it is debatable. Also, I was having a hard time getting it to come out of the spout so Henry went and got a gas station employee to assist me before I pushed the whole thing out of a window, and the lady took the top of which is how I know that the “coffee” lives inside a foiled pouch thing, like ew, and the lady was all, “Sometimes if I squeeze it, it’ll get it started again” and it was just so wrong.
So, so wrong.
Anyway, Henry thinks that she didn’t charge me for it, which was why it seemed so cheap.
“You know like at a bar, when they give you the shot for free if it’s the end of the bottle?” Henry said, and is that what happened the day he drove “Joe’s” car into the ditch!? Too many free “bottom of the bottle” shots?!
Whatever. It didn’t help that shitty iced coffee taste any better.
By the time we reached the first travel plaza in Ohio, I was on the prowl for an iced coffee do-over. Unforch, it was a Starbucks, which I usually tend to avoid, but anything was better than that gas station swill!
I ordered my SMALL NOT TALL coffee and then loudly to Henry I said, “I make a point of ordering either a SM, MED or LG whenever I come here. Fuck a venti.”
“Wow, you’re a real rebel,” Henry mumbled, and then when I asked him if he was getting anything, he scoffed, “No!” Because Henry is hugely against coffee (see also: Henry is a terrorist) and claims that even the cookies at Starbucks tastes like coffee. AND HE HATES THEIR ICED TEA!
Who’s the rebel now?
While at the travel plaza, Henry decided he wanted to get some Hershey’s ice cream and he’s a grown-up so he can have ice cream in the middle of the day if he wants. But there were these two old broads who were lollygagging, changing their orders, musing over which flavor would best complement their daily prunes. Henry quickly grew impatient and, ice cream dreams shattered, moved over to the next kiosk to get some iced tea instead.
But by the time he had finished paying and was handed his empty plastic cup, some man came over for a refill, stepping right in front of Henry and proceeded to pour the slowest cup of iced tea this side of shitty Indiana gas station iced coffee dispenser.
And the whole time, the old broads, now placated with their cups of Hershey chill, hovered behind Henry. They were closer to him than I was and we all know that Chooch and I walk so close to Henry that if he stops abruptly, there’s a people pile-up. Oh shit, Henry hates that about us but I bet if we ever suddenly gave him personal space, he would miss the sound of our adorable shuffling feet.
So now, he’s got this dude tea-blocking him and these broads taunting him with the ice cream he was too impatient to stand in line for, not to mention me standing there laughing at him, and he just looked so defeated and slumped over.
It was amazing.
He was so angry.
Once he finally filled up his cup with Burger King’s iced tea, the old broads walked away. Just like that. We exited the travel plaza the opposite direction as them so Henry could have time to cool off.
“And I thought that guy getting iced tea was the husband of one of those broads!” Henry chirped. “But no, they were just standing there for no reason!” Untrue, Henry – they were standing there to further ruin your experience at the shitty Ohio travel plaza.
In between rehashing every waking moment of Riot Fest, I got Henry to open up a bit about the SERVICE. “Did they ever scream in your face?” I asked him. My only real insight into the SERVICE world is Full Metal Jacket and M.A.S.H.
“I mean, they screamed at us, but not like what you see in the movies,” he causally answered, temporarily forgetting that he put a ban on answering SERVICE questions.
He said he wasn’t scared when they would scream at him because “eventually they have to stop.” Why did this make me crack up so bad!? How is Henry constantly so even-keeled and level-headed?! Not being screamed at while in the SERVICE fazed him.
I call shenanigans on this, though. I feel like he probably made a lot of tearful calls home to his mommy.
“What was your first day like? Did you cry a lot? Were you worried about not making friends?” I asked, on the edge of my seat but not really because we were in the car and if I get too close to the edge, my knees are squished against the glove compartment and that’s annoying.
Also, I recently realized that it’s called a glove compartment because its original use was probably to literally put gloves in it!? It was just one of those things where I kept saying the words over and over in my head until it fragmented and I said, real slow, “Glove……compartment. A compartment….for gloves!”
You just gotta let me figure these things out on my own sometimes. Like the time I realized that the logo for the old department store Hornes was actually…A HORN.
Anyway, where were we. Oh! I was asking Henry about his first day at the SERVICE.
“I don’t know…the plane landed at like, 1 in the morning. Then we woke up and got our hair cut.”
Oh for god’s sake, I was squealing with laughter at this point.
“You got your hair cut!” I wheezed.
“Well, yeah,” Henry said, flashing me a concerned look, the kinds that doctors give their patients after they ask if they’ve gone off their meds. “Shaved, actually.”
By this time, I was laughing so hard that nothing at all was coming out but strangulated gasps and Henry was officially done answering questions.
And then we were home, reunited with Chooch and two cats who I’m not certain remembered us. Ob-la-di, motherfuckers.