Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Long Car Trip: Annoy Your Partner and Children and – perhaps – Induce a Cardiac Incident In Yourself, Part 1

Most long car trips offer the serious practitioner of sullenness, many opportunities to exercise the art of rage, the craft of surly silences, the multiple techniques of inducing acid indigestion in all passengers and can play every opportunity to create and spread misery in a grim cloud over any car’s passenger compartment.  These can all be achieved and maintained, by careful husbandry, for hours if not for days.
For the neophyte chaos architect we shall offer a series of suggestions for you to sneer at and pick apart, even while gleaning finer nuanced control of the possible misery to be inflicted to all and sundry around you.
First of all, put off all preparations that should be done in advance to the last possible moment, preferably requiring the packed car to be driven in widening circles in search of a parking space close to a passport or other government office.  Through rush hour traffic in a large city.  This allows for maximum amount of back-biting and recrimination between the adults responsible for the road trip in the first place.
.  You can never say “I told you so” often enough.
. Judicious use of “You always” and “I never” will set things nicely boiling.
Try to delay packing the car early so that you can bellow at, rant or fume quietly at everyone else running around trying to get ready to leave, and ensuring that all critical document pick-ups will be as late in the day and as stressful as possible.  Try to be late enough that the children in the car, or better yet everyone, must all stop for a bathroom break in the middle of the traffic snarled hunt for a parking space.
Absolutely refuse to stop at either convenience stores or fast food restaurants, claiming that you don’t want to be forced to buy anything to use their washrooms.  Make everybody wait till you’re all in the office building in question.  This way small children may more easily be lost, requiring a massive man-hunt by building security.
Now, if by some miracle all documents are safely picked up, signed, counter-signed, stamped, sealed and all official and everyone has gained their various forms of relief, there is no need to relax just yet.  A detailed critique of everyone’s bad behaviour in public is always possible on the walk back to the car.  If you delay things long enough you might be fortunate enough to receive a parking ticket before you manage to actually start on the long trip you were supposed to have started at some ungodly hour this morning.