Monday, May 17, 2004

Driving Paranoia

Friday night I left my house at around 9 pm to go to Chi's and from her drive to my Mom's to pick up Jhosel. Ate dinner there and spent some time with the cutest little princess - Dynn...

Then off on our road trip. Three sisters, one van, 380 miles to go off to Arizona to pick up the life that Jhosel auspiciously left behind. Chi started the drive from Carson and I conveniently slipped into the back seat with my neck brace and bundled up with a bunch of blankets... I was trying to start Jhosel to speak up and understand what goes beyond the facade of everything is better like this . See, of all the relationships I've had - I find goodbye very difficult and divorce is almost a word that does not exist in my normal dictionary. So, to watch my youngest sister go through it with such amazing grace is very weird to me. Anyway, she was distant even if she was in the same van as the two of us. She was mostly texting her friends or on the phone with them. I didn't want to make a big deal of it because that's precisely the reason why she distance herself. I figured, she'll open up when she wants to. As for Chi, I wasn't worried with her driving, she have driven longer distance by herself and always got home fine. I fell in and out of slumber and our first gas station stop, Chi's gas card didn't work and she decided to wait till the next gas stop. A CHP (California Highway Patrol) stopped us and issued her ticket that says "straddling lanes" - never heard of that before, but she didn't argue it - she was just glad she was the one driving, for it would have been double trouble if she get caught having someone else drive the company car.

We stopped at another gas station shortly after and I offered to drive (against my will!) and Chi still decided not to get gas, this time because the place on ly takes ATM cards and cash, no credit! We've only covered a mere 100 miles... Shit! The furthest I've driven is to San Diego which is about a 100 miles...

So, I took over being the eldest and very protective sister that I am... Before crossing the border of California to Arizona, the gas meter was lit up proclaiming that we are near empty!!! I was in a panic! We still have about 40 miles before the next town that has a gas station. I decided to take action early enough since preventive measures is better that waiting for something to really go wrong. I ask Jhosel to call 911 and ask to be connected to CHP. So she did and she passed me the phone. I told the operator our situation "We are 3 girls in a van driving and we are almost out of gas and the next stop at Blythe is not in another 40 something miles, what should we do in case we actually ran out of gas...?" the operator responded and told me to make note of the signs we passed and count the call boxes after each exit sign, that will give our exact location when we stop and will be easier for them to find us... she then asked "Where are you now?" as I looked out the window to see the sign that we are about to pass, I responded with a shrivel in my voice "State Penitentiary - DO NOT STOP for hitchhikers - DANGER", she didn't now if I was joking or not but I wasn't! Why else would I freak out. I mean we were all trained self defense and I am sure we can all protect ourselves but shit, this one is for the books! The operator assured me that if I follow her instructions, CHP could get to us in no time, "meanwhile" - she said... "try to get to Blythe cruising without using much gas"

I did just that, thank God the road was downhill and didn't take much to keep it running without really stepping on it. I could feel the engine about to die any minute though. I ran out of gas before and I can feel the telltale sign of the engine dying. I prayed hard and drove easy. I was driving my sisters insane though for my paranoia was overwhelming... We made it to Blythe at the gas station and I had to pee all that anxiety that I built up.... sigh

I thought Chi would drive from here on but she sat at the backseat and went back to sleep... I bought some energy drink, played the Dharma Bums on tape told them to go to sleep and I will brave this one out. While they were sleeping, thought went through my head I didn't even hear my phone ring at 3 am when Gene was calling to check up on me.

There was this movie I saw of 2 guys in a road trip and played with a radio pretending they were girls and hooked up the same frequency with this wacko who drives a truck.... then I glanced by my side mirror and then there was this 10 wheeler truck racing me for a few miles already... I was again in panic mode trying not to glance over afraid to see the driver looking out his window right at me....

At about 4:45 am before dawn breaks, we reached out destination. I parked the car and we all went to sleep for 2 hours. Went to breakfast, back to the storage place and started loading the van with Jhosel's previous life in boxes. My heart was aching, I don't know how she is handling all this, it's all too sad. Wedding pictures, baby stuff... too much. I wasn't suppose to life anything but I ended up helping a little bit.

We were out of there in no time, about 30 minutes. Back on the road again, Chi started the drive and I slumbered in the back seat. We stopped many a times and Jhosel took over the wheel and stopped even more times than we did when Chi was driving. I tried to read a book but I was mostly snoozing. We finally got to Cabazon where the Dessert Hills factory outlet was located. We stopped by the Coach were Chi broke her wallet and then the Gucci where I wish a had a wallet to break. We thought it would be nice to have a guy buying us stuff (one girl at the Gucci store had this guy always saying, "looks good on you, I'll buy it") It was a lengthy discussion about azucaleras but I am not sure if I should blog about it just yet....

We reached Riverside and Jhosel can't drive no more, so I took over again... We got home safely and there was Dynn, product of that broken life we picked up the pieces of...

Life is tragic... or am I just paranoid