A passenger’s tale — Driven by boredom

Random Road Trip Conversations

A glimpse into tedium as thoughts fill the emptiness of monotony. No listicles, no controversies, no life lessons.

Tammy Hader
Oct 8 · 5 min read

The Turtles and the Frogs

Matching the thought spoken in my head, my husband decrees out loud, “There’s a lot of roadkill on the highway today.”

I nodded inside my head as he continued with his thoughts. “At least the road isn’t covered with frogs like it was that one time.”

“You mean turtles. The frogs were in a video posted on Twitter.”

“Whatever.”

Conversation paused briefly as we settled once again into the all too familiar route to Coffeyville. Fighting the mind numbing urge to drift into blissful sleep, we began to discuss recent battles with Mother Nature.

Flood waters across southeast Kansas had caused people and turtles to evacuate to higher ground. The quantity of rain falling from the heavens triggered contemplation of when a good time would be to start googling ark building instructions.

In my half a century of existence, I had never before filled two hours of road time absorbed in watching turtles seek refuge from rising waters. The counting stopped somewhere east of Winfield after spotting about thirty of the various sized critters.

There must have been a hundred of the unhurried reptiles making a crawl for it. Some didn’t survive the journey.

Rivers were in a state of overflow causing evacuations and road closings. Coming upon an area with water lapping against the shores of the highway, I remember thinking we were a lot like the turtles.

Not the ones that didn’t survive the quest for more arid living conditions. Our fast moving shell carried us safely to our destination complete with seatbelts and entertaining sounds ranging from Any Way You Want It to Zombie Zoo.

“The frog video was really weird.”

“Frogs are weird.”

“Yeah.”

The Whoville of Kansas

The streets are lined with colorful flowers hanging from decorative lamp posts in front of the Mom and Pop storefronts, greeting passersby with a welcoming gesture.

A smiling postcard of a picture-perfect world come to life. It’s like driving through an enticing invitation to leave reality.

Stop in for a friendly visit. Sit for a spell and sip on a cool glass of lemonade.

Winfield is the epitome of quaintness with mature trees arching protective limbs over the streets. Driving through the town brings to mind visions of friendly neighbors wishing each other a sincere, heartfelt good morning every day.

An endless loop of all that is good and happy. Over and over, every day, of every week, of every year.

Today, something is different. There is a glitch in the nostalgic matrix.

There, in front of the local drugstore is something I haven’t seen before. A sign that shatters the pleasant image of the impossible community floating peacefully through my dreamy thoughts.

Poison Ivy Prevention Available Here

My picture perfect Whoville of Kansas could not possibly be plagued by the irritating nuisance of poison ivy. Reality began oozing back into my consciousness as that smiling postcard of perfection just got itchy.

“What exactly is poison ivy prevention?”

“What?” Spoken with an emphasis on the ‘t’.

“The sign. By the drugstore. It said Poison Ivy Prevention Available Here. What would that be? A card with a picture of poison ivy and instructions saying don’t touch this?”

“I don’t know?”

He also did not care. His tone implied loud and clear that the only irritating nuisances plaguing him at the moment were my rambling reflections and the two-hour and fifteen minute drive to Coffeyville.

I wonder if we’ll see any turtles this time. Or there was the time those two little wiener dogs were running down the road. Nervously glancing back at us as their little legs moved as fast as they could.

That was an unexpected sight.

Titles Born in the Land of Boredom

The radio is a lifeline to reality when you are trapped in passenger limbo on a road trip travelled way too many times to count. The same ole, same ole.

The mind wanders about, guided by boredom and fueled by sanity’s instinctive need to survive the monotonous entombment in a moving vehicle.

The perfect time to do some writing in my head.

Lost in the mental search for story inspiration, the radio antics subconsciously intertwine, pulling me out of my working trance in time to hear something about a woman killed by a rooster.

“That would make a great title for a story. Rooster — Instrument of Death”.

A chuckle hailing from the driver’s seat brushes by my ears.

“I thought of another good title the other day.”

I turn to see if he’s still listening to me. The visual results are inconclusive, so I proceed with my oral remembrance of previous ruminations.

“I’m Not All That Jazzed About Raspberries,” my hands indicating the placement of each word in the air in front of me.

“Okay …” His face replies with a confused expression.

I guess he was still listening.

Curious about the rooster and the raspberries?

A woman, bending down to feed her chickens, allegedly died when a rooster pecked her on the neck, puncturing her jugular vein. As for raspberries, that’s a personal preference. I hate it when someone ruins perfectly good chocolate with a taste reminiscent of cough syrup.

The song on the radio lassos my nomadic contemplations and directs me to that time the people in the car ahead of us were waving their arms in the air like they just didn’t care.

We’ll never know what that was about.

At least it’s not raining frogs, or turtles today.


Journal of Journeys

Each of us are the narrators of our own unique stories, dramas and sagas. Journal of Journeys is a publication that takes pride in helping share those stories.

Tammy Hader

Written by

Ex-accountant exploring a creative path during the second half of existence. Reflecting on past experiences as a guide to living in the world today.

Journal of Journeys

Each of us are the narrators of our own unique stories, dramas and sagas. Journal of Journeys is a publication that takes pride in helping share those stories.

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