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Published August 26, 2011 5:50 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Warning: If you go on a loooooong road trip with another person, prepare to discover something unexpected about yourself.

"Unexpected" as in "maybe not so good."

You know how it is — when you first hit the highway, the two of you feel like Willie Nelson going on tour (although without the long, gray braid). You may even hum a little Nelson tune because, hey, your trip is gonna be all kinds of awesome!

"On the road again/ like a band of gypsies/ we go down the highway/ we're the best of friends."

But then the miles and the hours and the hours and the miles start piling up like a platter full of thick, greasy french fries, which taste great at first when they're fresh out of the old Frybaby, but then (eventually) they turn cold and limp, so when you eat them, you get congealed fat all over the roof of your mouth, which causes you to ask yourself, "Why am I still eating these?"

But you eat them anyway, because … they're … there.

(OK, sorry, sometimes I get a little carried away when I talk about french fries.)

My point is this: Road trips are great! But let's be honest here: Sometimes the two of you can start to feel like you're spending a leetle too much time together, which, of course, you are, because, hello! The two of you are driving across Nebraska! You've got a LOT of time on your hands, which is why you start noticing all the little crazy-making things the other person does.

Take what happened to my son and me as we drove to the East Coast a few weeks ago. Mostly it was a fabulous trip. But we did have a "moment."

Here's what happened:

After listening to me talk on my cellphone, this son said, "Mom, I gotta tell you something."

He didn't add the and-I've-been-wanting-to-tell-you-this-for-a-long-long-time part. But it was implied. Oh, yes. I definitely heard it in his voice.

He continued, "Whenever you talk on your cellphone, you shout."

I was taken aback. "Seriously?"

Please note that I said this in a completely normal, non-shouting tone of voice. Which is the only tone of voice I ever use. Especially on cellphones. Especially on cellphones when I am talking to my children.

"Yes, Mom, you do," he persisted. "Just ask my brothers. We have to hold our phones, like, 50 yards away from our ears whenever we talk to you."

Suddenly I had a mortifying vision of my adult children discussing me behind my back, as clever adult children are wont to do when they get together.

First son: "What are we gonna do about Mom?"

Second son: "Yeah, she's making us go all deaf because she shouts when she talks to us on her cellphone."

Third son: "Yeah, we need to put on protective ear gear whenever Mom comes a-callin'."

Fourth son: "Yeah, just because SHE can't hear anymore doesn't mean we can't."

Fifth son: "I know! Maybe we should take the phone away from her."

Isn't that how adult children talk about elderly parents? But whatever. Instead of debating the point, I decided to be magnanimous and roll over.

"Fine, I'll try not to shout from now on," I said. Graciously. And then just to show what a big person I am, I added, "Anything else you want to tell me?"

"Um, would now be a good time to mention that you also snore?" my son asked.

Okay, this is where our story ends, my friends. I didn't go down that road with him then, and I'm not going down it now.

Because, guess what? I do NOT snore.

Ann Cannon can be reached at acannon@sltrib.com or facebook.com/columnistcannon.






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