I am on the road with my older daughter, hoping that all the time in the car together might bring some reparation to our tense and strained relationship. Instead, we bicker over where to eat and quickly gather heady momentum toward more hurtful territory. Then, with tremendous hostility, my daughter pops in ear buds and keeps her eyes focused on her phone. And poof – I am alone in the car on a trip for someone else.
I am alternately grateful to have a quiet moment during which to process my many layers of mother guilt and saddened that there is no one to whom I can point out roadside absurdities or wonders I spot along the highway. After a while, though, I’ve been stewing in my own juices too long and some of the most homely roadside destination start to look pretty alluring – places where I imagine myself abandoning my motherly duties and hiding out as a crusty hermit – at least until my old dead body is discovered several months after my demise. After we pass a few broken rusty shacks, the idea sours and instead I begin fantasizing that it would be better to hide in plain sight – in a thriving bustling metropolis – where I admit that I could still possibly die without being noticed for at least a few weeks. But that could be a less smelly option with the potential for some good jazz concerts in between.
As though I might care about my hygiene when I’m dead.