From Guest Blogger Jim Luce
Wisconsin is an Indian word for “White Out.” We had snow up to the window sills in February, which we’d hand-fashioned from ice to a faux oak finish. The average daily temperature was fifteen-degrees-below-Antarctica. Celcius. My wife and I decided to make a break for it and drive to the Mississippi/Louisiana Gulf Coast. The problem with leaving White Out for the warmth of the South is that you have to drive the entire length of Illinois. Illinois is an Indian word for 2000 miles of corn and soybeans. You also have to drive the entire length of Mississippi. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is beautiful, the rest of the state is, well…Illinois. Mississippi is an Indian word for “pretty much just Illinois.” Since it’s a long straight shot from northern White Out to the Gulf Coast of Pretty Much Just Illinois it would be easy to find our way. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, I plugged in the GPS we’d named Tommy Boy—after the movie of the same name, one of the all time great road trip movies—and told him to take us to the coast.
“You want to go where?”
“Yawn. Proceed south for 2000 miles. Then you have reached your destination.”
“We want to go to New Orleans, too.”
“Proceed south for 2000 miles, then turn right. Then you have reached your destination. Wake me when we get there.”
We wouldn’t dream of taking a trip without the God-like Tommy Boy, his wonders to perform.
Tommy Boy guided us right into the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana, and straight to our hotel. Louisiana is an Indian word for Eat Stuff That Crawls. New Orleans is a French word for Show Us Your Breasts. The Big Easy is also one of America’s most dangerous cities—when I turned on the TV the lady said “…at this time last year there were 13 murders in New Orleans.” She stared into the camera, face serious, eyes sparkling. “Sources within the NOPD tells us that this year the total number of murders is up to 35.”
Whoa. People, slow down, pace yourselves, it’s a long year. This is only the middle of February. I went out on our balcony and heard loud hip-hop thudding on the street somewhere. It got my head bobbin’, got my rap goin’. “Yo, y’all, we so cool, all old and stuff and up in N’awlins, all up on the roof and stuff wit’ da people down below….” I went back inside in case someone might hear me. Somebody else can be number 36.
Thanks to a coupon we picked up at the Eat Stuff That Crawls Welcome Center, for $54 per night our first room came complete with a giant cockroach. Apologetic, the hotel immediately gave us another room with a toilet that wouldn’t flush. My wife and I talked that over and decided if we played our cards right we could bargain them down to a room with bed bugs and no air conditioning but decided we’d probably done the best we could for that low price.
We did all the touristy stuff required of us (it’s in the Rules section of the passport that allows you to drive through Illinois, right next to the section titled Mental Competence Declaration), and moved east to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. After ten days of beach basking and Cajun gluttony our finances laid claim to the fatal number 36. It was time to head back to White Out, but first I wanted to load up on boudin sausage since it was unobtainable anywhere but down here in Cajun country.
“Tommy Boy, take us to Specialty Stuffed Meats.” We’d been told by the desk clerk it was only two and a half miles but a little hard to find.
Indeed. Two towns and seventeen miles later: “You have reached your destination.”
“We have reached your *&^! butt you remedial piece of satellite misdirection. This is a low rent….”
“When possible, turn around, you have passed your destination.”
“Tommy, can you interpret WTF? I did not punch in ‘Dollar General’, ‘Payday Cash’, or ‘Shorty’s Bail Bonds’.” We programmed you for ‘Specialty Stuffed….”
“In 240 feet bear left, then turn right.”
I spent that last afternoon on the beach, watching the ocean…gathering about me peace, love and understanding. We were heading home tomorrow but I thought we might wing it without the GPS. Tommy Boy and I were experiencing trust issues.