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Sunday, December 21, 2003

family trips

Oh dear. Family trips. Supposed to leave at 9am which of course means we leave at 11am. After 5 minutes on the road we stop at a phone booth to look up a Best Buy on the way down to LA. So 15 minutes later my bro is at best buy buying some lcd screen for his xbox. Peppermint mochas from starbucks were had by all.

After our 20 minute stop we’re back on the road again, only to hear will complain 15 minutes later that the power cord for the screen doesn’t fit in our power source. Of course he says this right as we’ve passed the exit for home depot. So for the next couple hours I get to hear I get to hear whining and complaining banter from both my parents in front of me and my brother behind me.

And so starts my list of annoyances about my family car trips:
1. over packing: my parents pack like there is no civilization down in LA. Think 20 bottles of water, huge ice chests of food, humongous suitcases , spray bottles, plates, napkins, etc. So even with a 7 seater minivan, we barely have room to fit family of five. No leg room and no ability to lean back makes for a crappy car ride.
2. strong smells in small spaces: my mom decides 20 minutes into the trip to have an orange. Yes an orange smell can be pleasant. But the small confined space inside a minivan does not have enough air to get away from the sharp acid of an orange. Imagine my disgust when my father bought a chili cheese dog at a gas station 15 minutes later.
3. Christmas music nonstop on the cd player
4. people asking for things that were packed beneath all the other crap packed into the car.
5. hearing two sets of audio. In front of me, Christmas music interspersed with the beatles. From behind me, family guy audio interspersed with my brother’s laughter.
6. trying to hold conversations with people in the front and back of the car. People in the front never hear what people in the back say, and vice versa. Being in the middle means you get to hear all parts of the conversation repeated 5 times on each side, and you’re often relied on to continually pass messages along.
7. having four backseat drivers. Really really stressful

as an interesting aside, we saw a car pass us with a bunch of chinese characters on it. My grandmother strained to read it as my father got dangerously close so she could do so. My brother comments, “Ugh, it’s just some Asian who thinks he’s cool.” Wow. Growing up in Orinda must be doing its job.

Also, while cleaning up this morning while people were still rushing around trying to pack, I noticed that my parents’ dishwashing liquid is sold as aromatherapy. It had mandarin and green tea essences. What an interesting idea, who knew that to relax and titillate the senses, all one had to do was wash her own dishes. Swell. Oh marketing.

To end the xbox lcd power saga that I know you all are so interested n, about 4 hours into the trip, my dad remembered that he had a power source that fit into the extra plug in the front of the car. Hence the whining ceased and the dual audio tracks ensued. Oh please let LA come soon.


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