As we await the warm weather I thought I’d share a story with you about summer…(Oh, and by the way, if anyone can tell me how to easily increase the size of this font, I’d be forever in your debt. I do not know HTML or anything else useful).
“Take this exit NOW!” yells Steve, motioning to the right as if I couldn’t hear him screaming in my ear right next to me.
My arms shake with exhaustion from navigating Detroit’s Friday rush hour traffic, but I yank the wheel of the enormous rented Buick hard and to the right with all the finesse of a 5-year-old at the wheel of a pink Barbie Jeep. We bounce down the exit ramp and head into the darkening Detroit night. It is our third try at finding the reception hall where my brother and bride-to-be have already eaten their rehearsal dinner chicken, and were now waiting for the last dinner guests to arrive – me and my soon to be ex-boyfriend.
Our directions to this event, which I scribbled a week earlier on the back of a plane ticket got us as far as the hotel. But now we were lost in the mean streets of Detroit and it was getting really late. The sick feeling in my stomach reminded me of the time I got lost in East LA after a Dodger’s game (which I swear is really easy to do). In that situation I figured the only way to survive the mobs at the street corners was to not stop or even slow down, but to run every red light and get the hell out of there.
I am happy to report my idea worked in LA and then again on the west side of Chicago, but here in Detroit on a Friday night there are too many cars on the road to apply survival-driving techniques.
I pull into a 7-11, and tell Steve to get directions while my mind reels over the spiraling disasters of the day. Twelve hours ago everything was great. Twelve hours ago I had a semi-boyfriend, my Dad’s Italian sports car, a comfy room at the bed and breakfast in Glen Arbor, and a neck that could easily turn in both directions.
But now! Now I have nothing but whiplash, a rental car the size of a house and the fading memory of Lake Michigan in Glen Arbor on a late summer day.
Was it just three days earlier that we landed at O’Hare, flying in from Los Angeles on a sparkling August day? My father, driving his brown Italian Lancia, picked us up and sped us into Chicago for a whirlwind tour before we headed over to Michigan. Steve, who somehow never escaped the confines of Los Angeles except to go to a San Diego football game, gaped at the tall buildings and grand architecture and was perplexed when he couldn’t see across the lake to Michigan.
As we wound our way east around the lake, we chatted about nothing in particular because it was that kind of day: so beautiful we just took it in through our pores and soaked. Dad always took the Skyway, the shortcut to Indiana, so we held our noses by the sulphury Gary Steelworks, waved to the dunes and whizzed over the Michigan state line in what seemed like ten minutes.
Soon we entered the apple and peach orchards of southwest Michigan’s fruit belt and my heart was finally home. I never tire of this drive despite having crossed this way a million times. My summer vacation was off to a great start…