|Good morning! How has your week been?I’ve had a great week, recently back from a fantastic vacation with my family. My in-laws were so generous to host us. The wife, kids, and poodles were such great sports as we headed in the car down to South Florida. The trip down from Columbus started out uneventful enough. Most all the plates we saw were Ohio’s with only a rare Michigan and an even more rare Indiana. You know what, that might be confusing. Let me take a step back and explain. I’m a huge ‘License Plate Guy’ (Are there ‘License Plate Guys’, David?). For example, on the trip to Disney 2 years ago, we saw 37 different plates! I absolutely LOVE ’em.So, there I was, extremely comfortable and despite the long journey in front of us, quite happy in the car. (A lot of my contentment stems from the fact I’ve got my earphones in so I can listen to Beyoncé and Olivia Rodrigo all the way down without catching flak from my kids).Tap, tap on my right shoulder.”Dad, what are you listening to?””Oh, hey Champ. Just a little Johnny Cash. Why? What’s up?””What’s that license plate on that brown car way over there?” Charlie, my son, points three lanes over to the right. He has found the same love for plates that I have.As I squinted, it looked like an Indiana, but I couldn’t quite make it out. I quickly scooted over a few lanes to get an unobstructed view, and as I did it became clear, Indiana it was not. But, wait a second…No! No! No! It couldn’t be! My wife, Krissy, noticed that I was beginning to audibly wheeze.Concerned that I was behind the wheel and having trouble breathing, Krissy scrambled into the glove box to grab her inhaler*. I had good reason to be thrown.Breathtaking.The plate before me was an ever-so-soft ivory white emblazoned with a brilliant, almost electric royal blue 48 font with the Queen’s Crown right in the center! All protected in an indestructible Lucite casing.It read – Ontario! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!How was this even possible? They must have had their car flown into the United States!At this very moment, we were driving immediately next to people from a foreign country!I was fortunate to have ice water on hand and used it to splash my face as the hyperventilating was making me more than a little light-headed. 25 minutes ago I was in Columbus, Ohio and now I’m within just a few feet of friends from a far-off land! Dozens of emotions began pouring through me.And you know, even with all the crazy excitement that surrounds a life-altering experience like this, my mind went right back to Lamaze. It’s so funny how the brain works. Three deep, slow, breaths David.With the breathing exercises, I started to regain feeling in my legs. I then hit the accelerator and pulled up on their right side; pressing my face into the glass to get a closer look.The man and woman in the front seat were wearing ball caps and dark sunglasses. There did not appear to be anyone in the 2nd row.Of course! Coming all the way from Ontario, they know they would essentially be celebrities in this country. They couldn’t afford to be recognized, paparazzi would tail them all the way to Florida. That’s why they wear hats and glasses. As I drove alongside our visitors, I studied them. They appeared concerned and possibly even nervous. I figured they must have been uncomfortable driving on the right side of the road in this new country. Later on, I realized that it may have been that a very diaphoretic (sweaty) man was driving immediately next to them at now, 89 miles an hour, his face pressed against the window smiling ear to ear.As the car steadied, I rolled my window down, doing everything possible to try and hear them speaking French. “DAVID! SLOW DOWN!!” Krissy was not happy at this point.I had warned her in the past that the kids feed off her emotions, and sure enough, her excitement over the situation was now getting our daughter, Ally, very upset. Charlie, on the other hand, was still undecided on whether to be on Mom or Dad’s “team”. Before he picked sides, I threw him a black Sharpie and had him quickly make me a sign. When he’d finished, I slammed the brakes, slid back, and then rapidly accelerated up on the driver’s side and flashed the sign: |
WELCOME TO OUR COUNTRY!!
They looked over and then pulled away, going faster and faster. Then it occurred to me. Of course, it was so simple. They were still driving in kilometers/hour!Now in addition to being a welcoming host, I had to slow them down, I had to warn them. Unfortunately, I was unable to capture their attention.In addition, my palms were now sweating at a rate where it was hard to keep them on the wheel.As their car slipped away, so was my opportunity to show that we, as Americans, could be good hosts. I had to think fast!Then it hit me. I got it!”Quick! Charlie. Grab some American food!”“DON’T YOU DARE CHARLIE!!”My wife, bless her heart, was getting upset.As she screamed, she placed her left arm up as a guardrail: blocking any right-sided access to the backseat.Thanks to 4 years of yoga, I maneuvered my left arm around the back of my seat to get my hand on 3 Ziploc Baggies.I pulled them onto my lap, looking down to see what I was able to gather.Carrots, red grapes, and Wheat Thins.Perfect examples of American food!
When I first heard the sirens, I had our Kia at 104 mph. The driver’s side window was now down and my left hand, filled with grapes, carrots, and Wheat Thins was cocked in the throwing position. I was busy trying to hold off my wife with my right arm as I tried to keep the car mostly on course with my left knee. Before that moment, I had never seen 3 police cars in a row.My sole concern was that they take me, not our guests.
Yup, they wanted me.
It’s been 2 and a half weeks now, and as my wife drives me to work I’m staring somewhat listlessly into the passenger’s side mirror. I’m looking back on that Florida trip and wondering if the $1535 fine, 12 points in violations, and a three-month driving suspension were worth it.As I grab my stethoscope and step out of the Telluride, I look down and see that beautiful red maple leaf on our bumper. I pause, smile, and I look to the sky knowing full well that my question has been answered.David (*It is never acceptable to take someone else’s prescription medication.)