Where the rubber meets the brain


There’s nothing like a road trip to bring out the best and worst in a family.

We recently took a long road trip north of Dallas, and pretty soon not even the most entertaining movie was enough.

Tempers were fraying like old t-shirts, the sisters had turned on each other, and we contemplated the fines involved with abandoning the car on the side of the road.

But, since it was 100 degrees, escape wasn’t really possible. Plus I married one of those “we-don’t-stop-till-we-get-there” guys, who clearly ignores all the advice from AAA to get out and stretch every now and then.

It’s a good thing I’ve got a strong bladder.

So we decided to start a game of highway bingo.

Okay, I decided to start a game of highway bingo.

At first there was great resistance, even disdain, for the entire idea by everyone in the car. Still I know these people. These are my people. They just needed a task.

Sierra, slumped so low I wasn’t sure her spine was still intact, flatly refused to play at all. I gave her a card anyway. Then, after a sullen 15 miles, she asked for a new card, having already found everything.

That was it. It was GAME ON. I couldn’t create cards fast enough. Sierra was blowing through every single one, thanks to a flexible interpretation of “car.” Mireya refused to compromise on her card one iota, insisting that a suburban was neither a truck nor a car. This drove her more flexible sister completely nuts, which led to a brief bingo time out for all involved.

In the front seat we had a tougher card to try to play and were going for a bingo “blackout.” We did great until we got to brown horse.

It’s amazing how many colors horses come in and how many of those aren’t brown.

Eventually we found everything – cell towers, black cows, green cars, eighteen wheelers pulling empty trailers, the letter x on a license plate. Sure, there were some tough ones. “Road kill” was inexplicably difficult, and “police cars” were pretty scarce. But by the time we pulled into the garage, we were playing one big car-wide game of highway bingo, screaming at the top of our lungs every time we found something.

And let me tell you, when you’re screaming “RED HORSE! RED HORSE!” it’s definitely time to get out of the car.