We’d already done the Spring Break thing several times, so we weren’t looking to hit Cancun (or really any other place where coeds spend seven days peeing in pools and punching each other in the head).
And, being that both of my classmates happened to be female (Joelle and Cara, for your reference), nothing that would appear obvious to a group of three dudes (Spring Training, NCAA tourney, strip club bender) seemed to engender a consensus.
Still, we had a week off and nothing to do, so it seemed like we should probably at least venture out of our studio apartments.
Eventually, we decided on Tulsa. It was far enough away that it felt like a vacation, and one of my best friends (Nate) had migrated there for law school (go Golden Hurricane!) and convinced me it’d be fun. And, to make the decision easier, another of Nate and my friends (Chunt) was game for tagging along as well. Chunt lived in Lexington at the time, so our plan was to leave Tuesday morning, drive the nine hours to Kentucky, then head to Tulsa in the AM.
I won’t waste much time describing the first day. The car ride came and went uneventfully, and my companions and I arrived to Lexington in time to spend a fun night out on the town with Chunt. Everything, to that point, was going according to plan.
Then, as they say, shit started going down.
Instead of piling into Joelle’s Corolla the next morning, Chunt insisted that we take his car, which he’d assured me the night before would be much roomier and more comfortable for the ladies in the backseat. As it turned out, the “car” in question turned out to be a Pontiac Aztec.
For those of you who don’t know, the Aztec is basically a cross between an SUV and a Triceratops. It’s big, weirdly shaped, and gets worse gas mileage than a parade float. However, Chunt had borrowed it from his grandmother specifically for this occasion, and the last thing I wanted on my vacation was to give an old woman a figurative slap to the face. So I just kind of went with it.
Initially, everything seemed to be going well. Chunt and the ladies had gotten along well the night before, so our first hour or two on the road consisted of him telling inappropriate jokes and the girls giggling.
We were about two hours in, then, when Cara mentioned that she was hungry.
Now, I won’t say Cara was fat. She wasn’t. But at the same time, no one was confusing her with Molly Sims either, if you know what I’m saying. She was a big-boned girl. The fluffy type. Also, she was from Jersey, and anyone who knows anything about Jersey girls knows that it’s best not to piss them off. They’ll gouge out your eyes and then eat a meatball hoagie right in front of you. It’s scary.
That’s why, when about 30 miles of lonely Indiana highway went by with no food in sight, I started to get worried. Chunt was jabbering away behind the wheel (probably about UK basketball or Eastbound and Down or that time he got a royal flush), completely oblivious to the fact that Cara was quickly going from Smegal to Gollum in the backseat. Luckily, as we chugged around a bend, I spotted an exit with a gas station.
Being that we were in southern Indiana, this wasn’t exactly a BP superstore. It was more like one of those dusty filling stations with one old pump that you see in horror movies, where the toothless guy sits out front in overalls and cackles when you tell him you’re “a little lost.” Still, by that time all of us were pretty hungry, so we made do with old packs of hostess donuts and weird drinks and the foil-wrapped breakfast sandwiches that had waved goodbye to lukewarm two hours ago. Everyone foraged around the place and got what they needed, and then we saddled back up.
What happened next would basically change my life forever.
We were only back on the road for about 15 minutes when Chunt and I saw a sign for Wendy’s. The girls spotted it too, and the four of us had a solid three-to-four-second laugh about how ironic it was that we ate gas station cat-meat sandwiches instead of waiting an extra 15 minutes for a delicious Frosty. However, Chunt proceeded to cruise past the exit, and what was once a car full of laughs immediately morphed into a snake-pit of rage.
If my memory serves me correctly, Cara’s first words were “What the FUCK did you just do?”, and they sounded like they’d been shot out of a cannon. Right away, I recognized our mistake. The donuts and the Sunny D and the makeshift McMuffins weren’t enough. They were something, but they weren’t breakfast. At least to her they weren’t.
I shit you not when I say that Chunt and Cara spent the next five to ten minutes shouting at eachother at the top of their lungs. And anyone who’s ever been in a car with two screaming adults will appreciate that these were easily the longest moments of my life. Chunt’s core argument was similar to what yours or mine or any other rational human beings would have been. Basically, “YOU JUST FUCKING ATE.” Cara’s, on the other hand, was a mixture of “You did that on purpose!” and “You know that gas station food was stale!” and “NOM NOM NOM NOM GGRAHRAHHHHHH.”
As the mutual friend between the two, I was stuck making excuses for both of them and trying to suppress my laughter when Chunt would say things like “Why don’t you fuckin’ WALK to Idaho??” in his thick Kentucky accent (he thought Tulsa was in Idaho), or when Cara would respond by calling him a schoolboy bitch. Joelle, meanwhile, cowered in the corner of the backseat, pretending she was listening to her iPod (which, in reality, was probably as effective as trying to hold a conversation in the midst of a tornado).
After awhile, the verbal melee died down. Cara had retreated to silent, simmering fury in the backseat, content to glare a hole through the back of Chunt’s head. Chunt, on the other hand, had only needed about three minutes of silence to return to his usual jovial self. He and I spent the next hour or so listening to the radio and joking around and basically trying to forget that Hiroshima had just happened in our backseat. As we cruised through Indiana and into Illinois, a light snow began to fall, and the pastoral scene seemed to be just what the situation called for. Things were looking up.
Then, of course, the fucking Aztec broke.
That’s right, we were cruising along at a healthy speed when, suddenly, the spaceship on wheels began to sputter. Before I realized what was happening, Chunt was pulling over to the side of the road, allowing us to coast slowly down an off ramp that had seemed to materialize out of nowhere. We came to a depressing halt on the side of the road, and I gave Chunt the universal “explain to me what the F just happened” stare.
He slammed his hands on the steering wheel and said “This motherfucker just ran out of gas!”, as if our Aztec had spontaneously just decided to screw us.
This, of course, caused Cara to again unleash the banshee. She immediately launched into another tongue-lashing, employing F-words and B-words and even some C-words faster than a fuming Chunt could come up with retorts. Sensing the onset of World War IV, Joelle and I popped open our doors and exited to the grassy area next to the off-ramp. She mumbled something about needing a cigarette and walked away, and I took a few minutes to call Nate and warn him about the hurricane of shit that was headed his way.
A few seconds later, Chunt got out of the car, slammed his door, and started walking down the ramp toward civilization, only to return about 45 minutes later carrying one of those huge red gas cans. From that point forward, no one really said anything. No apologies from Chunt for not keeping tabs on the gas level (or for insisting we drive to tulsa in the MIllenium Falcon). And certainly no thank-you’s from Cara after her new sworn enemy had just spent almost an hour walking through the snow to find a gas station. After hitting the gas station to fully fuel up and driving through a fast food joint for lunch (Wendy’s, ironically), we set forth again on a trip that exactly zero of us were any longer excited for.
An hour passed. Two. We drove for miles and miles, Chunt and I talking about nothing in particular and the girls consumed by their iPods. The tension in the car had lessened, but barely.
That’s when I made a decision that....well...I probably shouldn’t have made.
I’d been feeling like I had to pee for awhile. 30 minutes, maybe 45. And we all know that once you realize you have to pee, you never forget. It’s not like the feeling of having to poop, which can come and go sporadically, leaving us frustrated and confused. When you have to pee, the feeling steadily builds, until it’s not so much a nuisance as it is a heightening throb in your abdomen that eventually scales the wall of your rib cage and holds your whole body hostage.
That’s the point I was at.
Unfortunately, we were way behind schedule. With multiple food and gas stops and an hour layover at exit 322, we were already going to be hard-pressed to get to Tulsa in time to partake in the Tupac-themed Power Hour that Nate had planned for us. So, I decided to bite the bullet and just go.
Now, most of you are probably assuming that that means I proceeded to urinate in my pants. I did not. Instead, I took a straw poll of the team to see who would care if I just kind of turned around and peed into a bottle. A seemingly harmless maneuver that would ensure we didn’t lose any more valuable road time.
At first the girls resisted, as was expected. I’m pretty sure every girl in the history of mankind has been programmed to at least initially object when a guy wants to whip out his thing. However, I wasn’t the only one in the car who was badly in need of alcohol (plus everyone else was pretty jazzed about the Tupac thing too), so all it really took was some gentle cajoling and a few off-color jokes for the ladies to start laughing in spite of themselves.
Pretty quickly, we came up with what seemed like a foolproof plan. Joelle would hold up a blanket that would act as a divider between the front and the back, while simultaneously closing her eyes. Cara would also close her eyes, and also yell “LALALALALALALALALA” for as long as it took me to complete my mission. I would do what I had to do as quickly as possible, and Chunt would do his best not to swerve or hit any bumps for fear of returning a pee-stained car to his Grandma. And finally, we all decided it would be best to open our windows. Yes, it was cold, but interim coldness is always better than being trapped in a confined space that smells like fresh hot urine.
Unfortunately, there was one issue. Every single bottle that we had had been discarded at the last gas station, so all we had were Wendy’s cups. Luckily, we had all gotten Biggie sized drinks (which, thinking back, might have contributed to me feeling like I had to pee a river), so I assured everyone that it would be fine and I could personally guarantee no overflow/spillage.
So, I started to go. And I kept going. And going. Inch by inch, the cup began to fill. And as the liquid level began nearing the top, I began to panic. See, this wasn’t like a plastic tumbler or a water bottle or something else that could really stand the test of time. This was a thin, paper Wendy’s cup that had already served its purpose hours ago, and was now being highly compromised by a foreign substance. I could see the thing getting close to the top now, and I could feel it wobble slightly in my hand, just as you would expect a thin paper cup to wobble when it’s full of a warm substance that was never meant to be it in the first place. Additionally, it didn’t help that Chunt kept looking over at me in a clear state of alarm. He knew just as well as I did that sometimes these things don’t go as planned. Sometimes, like in Dumb and Dumber, you just keep going and going and going and you can’t stop once you’ve started, because it stings.
By the grace of God, I was able to finish right as the bubbly golden liquid reached the top. Unfortunately, by this time the cup had almost completely broken down in my hand, and was wobbling like crazy. I only had one hand, so I couldn’t zip up without possibly scissoring my boys, and after a frantic scan of the front console, I didn’t see the cup top anywhere. The whole situation seemed to be coming apart in front of my eyes, so I chose what seemed to be the only viable option at the time. With a flick of my wrist, I tossed that bitch out the window.
Now, I don’t pretend to know much about physics. In fact, I somehow managed to not ever take a physics course in high school or college. So perhaps that’s why I didn’t realize at first what I’d just done. Until, of course, I heard the screams.
I’ll never forget what I saw when I turned around. The image will forever be seared into my memory.
Joelle had dropped the blanket. She and Cara sat there, blinking, their faces locked in the same confused/horrified stare. Right then, a beam of sunlight shone through the back window and it hit me. They were literally covered in pee.
Not only were their faces glistening with what may as well have been liquid death, but it seemed like the whole backseat had assisted in absorbing the blow. Both girls’ pillows, conveniently located on their laps, were soaked. Joelle’s iPod sat in a puddle on her lap. Everything seemed to be dotted with dark, wet stains.
But their faces were the worst. Joelle, having been the one that sat directly behind me, had taken the brunt. Her hair was matted down in spots, and urine literally slid down her cheeks as she stared at me in disbelief. I’ll never be able to confirm this, but I’m almost positive she damn near cracked a smile. One of those “this is the most unbelievably ridiculous thing I’ve ever experienced” type of smiles.
Cara, on the other hand, was not smiling. She just sat there frozen, like the White Witch of Narnia had turned her into stone. The wind howled through the open windows as I tried to stammer my way through an apology, but there was nothing I could say. The damage had been done. Here was my friend, a girl who was so miserable already that she’d spent the afternoon researching flights out of Tulsa on her phone, and I’d literally just poured a half gallon of pee on her head. All she could do was stare at me, her mouth open in shock, the remnants of my relief session clinging to the tip of her nose.
For a few long moments, all we heard was the wind. Then, softly and so that only I could hear, Chunt began to laugh.
* * *
Understandably, that was the darkest moment of the trip. Oh sure, we hit a few more snags before reaching our destination (the first rest stop we arrived at to “wash up” didn’t have running water; we got a fucking flat tire within two miles of Nate’s house), but that moment, where the two girls sat deflated and helpless in the backseat, covered in human waste, well.. I’ll never forget it.
We’d eventually arrive in Tulsa and go our separate ways. Joelle knew a friend in nearby Oklahoma City who was kind enough to pick them up, and upon much introspection, both girls decided to take flights back to Lexington. Cara because she couldn’t stand the thought of being trapped in a car with Chunt, and Joelle because she didn’t want to ditch Cara.
All in all, it was unequivocally the worst road trip I’ve ever experienced, and for me, it puts this year’s JDL in a bit of perspective (ah yes, the inevitable tie-in to fantasy football).
Like our trip to Tulsa, my first season as a Commish in the JDL has been mostly miserable. There have been several managers who have ruled from the front seat the whole way, and then there’s been the rest of us cramped in the back. Hungry, cold, and constantly in danger of getting peed on.
However, the playoffs start this weekend, so it’s kind of like we’ve arrived at our destination. Everyone is clean, dry, and ready for a new beginning. And whether that means getting crushed over cheap beer and one-minute Tupac jams, or heading out to OKC to shop, everyone will eventually follow their own path toward what they hope is a happy ending.
This week features two tight matchups in Jake versus Tim and myself versus Spaz. Tune in next week to see which teams will forge ahead to face Elise and Chunt (yes, THAT Chunt) with Conference championships on the line.
Soon enough this miserable season will be over for all of us. Until then, make sure to buckle up and, for your own sake, roll up those windows.
JDL Chief of Operations and Golden Shower Aficionado