My answer was low, muffled. "Nothing."
"Come on, Erin, I'm not scared of it." His deepening voice had lost almost all its cracking in the past several months and he sounded more like a man. "It feels like riding a roller-coaster."
I don't like riding roller-coasters, thank you very much, I thought from my corner of the world where my face was buried into his green polo sleeve. We were riding around the outskirts of Atlanta and my brother, Wesley, had been fortunate enough to be seated next to me.
The lucky guy.
You might not have known this about me, but here's something to add to your little 'Erin Trivia' list: I'm an extraordinarily fun person to ride with in heavy Atlanta traffic. I clutch the nearest object until my knuckles are white, hide my face in the shoulder of whoever is beside me, and squeeze my eyes shut.
Oh yeah, it's a real blast.
Please cue the peaceful strains of music accompanied by bird song. Thank you.
See this? This was my view the morning before we left for Atlanta...
...And this was my view the next.
You may cue Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Dun dun dun dun.
I actually enjoy oohing and ahhing over the line of tall buildings cloaked and shrouded in heavy...fog. Smog. Mist.
Oh, shmog-fog. Whatever it is you call it.
It's a neat sight.
So is this.
And this. The lines, the symmetry, the reflection of the sky--it's all cool.
But this. These winding curves enclosed by concrete slabs with a million different folks speeding past on either side? Not cool.
It scares my mini-muffin heart senseless.
On Saturday morning, we awoke early and maneuvered through the traffic and exits and freeways to find the college campus where Dad was competing in the Locate Rodeo.
No, he doesn't ride bulls. Or broncs. Aside from being a pastor, he also has a job locating underground utilities. Just thought I should clear that up for you.
One big boy on campus.
Two big boys on campus.
This competition is actually a pretty big thing with people flying in from all over the U.S, Canada, and even Australia. So it was important that we be there to cheer Dad on and give his competitors the big stink-eye. ;-)
We reached the campus with the help of the GPS and breathed an audible sigh of relief on finally arriving at our destination.
And then we proceeded to walk around for two hours trying to find Dad at the events.
Two hours. It was a big campus, and yes, my feet did hurt.
I didn't, but I could have.
And here is Dad in action during an event. His loving and exhausted family sat on a grassy hill beneath a tree to watch.
After it was over, we made our way back to the family Tahoe to buckle up and prepare for the, ahem, roller-coaster ride back to the hotel. Happy day.
Du DUN DUNNNN.
Help me, someone.
I don't think.
But I'm used to a traffic jam being a few cars backed up behind a John Deere tractor...and then waving to the man driving the tractor as you pass. Not because you necessarily know them (although the chances of it being a cousin or neighbor are pretty high), but because it's the friendly thing to do.
I didn't see anyone smiling and waving at me through Atlanta.
It could be because my usual view was Wesley's shoulder, but that's beside the point.
Life is has such a fast pace in the city, speeding past you as fast as the tires on your respective vehicle can spin.
I made a point of looking for anyone riding around in the back of a pick-up truck with their feet dangling a few inches above the road.
I looked, but I didn't see anyone doing that.
Okay, that there conversation on your cell can wait until later. Like, when you're at home later. That kind of later. When someone isn't beside you.
Dude, my man, get yo fingers off those keys. Get yo phone off that steering wheel. And get yo eyes on this busy road before you careen your 12 wheeler semi into someone.
Please and thank you. ;-)
'The Brady Bunch'
The fact that Dad ended up winning 1st Overall in the division he entered did help smooth my ruffled self. A lot. We couldn't stop smiling as it was quite the exciting night.
And look! You get to meet the infamous green polo that I became so well-acquainted with over the course of the trip. I know you were dying for an introduction, so there you are.
In the morning, it was time for the return trip home. To the country. I piled into the family Tahoe, bringing along the memories, my toothbrush, and the conclusion that country girls can't survive in city traffic. Or at least this one can't.
And in case you're wondering, Elisabeth ended up sitting beside me. Wesley sat on the far end of the seat for the entire trip.
I'm still trying to figure out why.