11 March 2009

How to get abandoned

As you can probably guess by the title of this blog post, I'm about to tell you a little story about how I found myself abandoned over the weekend... on the back roads of Illinois. At least I had good company, as it was the first time I got to hang out with the ever-hilarious Nate. I'm quite glad this dude has a good sense of humor.

It all started last month when Nate wrote about his college homecoming. Based on one paragraph in the post, I decided to contact him. He wrote:

This is by far my favorite part of Nebraska. I love these roads. The rolling hills, they way you can see for miles and miles. Nebraska, believe it or not, is a beautiful state. I used to go for drive on these roads every weekend. Just to get away from it all and clear my head. It was like a from of meditation. I haven’t found anywhere like this near St. Louis. Driving to Augusta or Hermann is close, but it takes at least 45 minutes before you are truly away from the city.

I am currently staying in Illinois with my family and as I grew up over here, I'm very familiar with a variety of back roads. I, too, enjoy taking a nice drive just to clear my head and explore some of the beautiful scenery the area has to offer. I decided to email Nate and ask, "Hey, want to go on a road trip?" Granted, we've never met in person, but based on his blog and twitters -- he seemed like a nice enough stranger to invite on a road trip that would take us miles and miles away from civilization.

Weather permitting, we kinda-sorta planned to get together last Saturday. That day, while waiting for Nate to call, my first husband shows up at my house sometime around 11 or 11:30. No surprise, Travis was already drinking.

I mentioned to him that I was taking a road trip with Nate and he asked if he could go along because it was a beautiful day. I should've known better, but I was like, "Sure, let me run it by Nate." Nate calls, I ask if Trav can go along and he said something to the effect of, "Yeah. This should be interesting."

Um, I think Nate's psychic.

It was a very interesting day.

By the time Nate showed up, around 1:30, Trav was pretty well drunk. Whatever, I'm used to it. Nate seemed a tad uncomfortable, but I can understand; he's meeting all new people (me, Trav, my mom), he's in a new place, Otis almost bit him, and well, it was a lot to take in.

Before we left we discussed driving arrangements and I immediately told Travis he couldn't drive - which he was disappointed about - but at the same time, he was happy because this meant he could continue drinking. So I drove his car.

We drive about 50 miles to Fort De Chartres. Along the way, we stop to get Trav some beer and it seemed like he just sat quietly in the back, drinking away, while I talked and talked and talked and Nate mostly listened, then eventually started talking and asking questions. I know at some point, we discussed various locations I had hoped to visit and Trav asked if we could stop at this little bar in Maeystown and then another little bar a few miles away from Miles Tomb called the Fountain Inn. Nate seemed cool with it, I figured we could stop for a beer or something on the way back. No big deal.

Or so I thought.

In Maeystown, Trav wanted to do a couple shots of Captain Morgan. Nate really isn't much of a drinker, which meant we had a sober driver and I could drink with Trav.


We stay at the bar for probably an hour, leave, and then suddenly a very-drunk Trav has a huge problem with Nate driving his car because he doesn't know this guy. I keep saying, "Doesn't matter: sober driver wins." That's just how it works people. Driving drunk is never, ever a good idea. The sober person drives, even if it's a manual and they have never driven a stick before. Those are the rules.

So, whatever. Trav sits in the back getting more and more belligerent. Nate's driving, I'm in the passenger seat trying to control the situation. But no matter what I said, Trav just got madder and madder and madder and madder.

As we near Miles Tomb, Travis really starts freaking out and is screaming at Nate, "Pull over! Pull the fucking car over! This is MY car and I'm driving!!!" Nate's kinda looking at me like what do I do? I say, "Pull the car over. We won't ride with him, but I'll find us a ride."

Nate pulled over.
Everyone got out.
Trav got into his car.
He drove away.

Nate and I leaned up against the guard rail and just kind of looked at each other with blank stares. I said something to the effect of, "Well, this is embarrassing. I've never had this happen before." Remember, this is the first time Nate and I have ever met each other in person. Some meet-and-greet, huh?

We're abandoned.

Awesome. Just awesome.

"Don't worry Nate. I'll call my mom" (as I'm thinking: please, please, please let me get cell phone reception out here). I call my mom and Nate heard something along the lines of this:

Oh, hey mom. What are you doing? Um, can you come get me and Nate? Travis sorta left us. We're on the bottoms, right at the triangle-intersection below Miles Tomb. Oh (pause) you're cooking dinner. I see. Um, sure, I'll try him. Don't worry - it's no big deal. It isn't raining or anything, it's just getting dark.
I sorta laugh and throw my hands up in the air. Effing great.

My mom is in the middle of cooking dinner so she can't come get us.

Nate was not laughing. He asks, "Um, will cabs come out here? Because, dude, I will totally pay for it." Reassuringly, I respond, "No, no, no. I'm going to call my friend Jay. He lives pretty close so I know he'll come get us." Nate hears:

Hey, are you at home? I'm sorta stranded on the bottoms with a friend, at the triangle-intersection below Miles Tomb. The seats are out of your car? We don't care; we're desperate. Oh, it's filled with junk, too? Um, okay, I'll try someone else.

Nate was still not laughing.

Thankfully my third attempt at being rescued came through. And I am SO glad that Johnny introduced me to Dana. He was right about her: if you are in a pickle she will drop everything and come bail you out. As soon as I explained my situation, she was out the door, on her way and there in about ten or fifteen minutes.

We arrive at my house and - although I didn't need to ask because I knew the answer - I kindly invited Nate in. He responded, "Nah, I just want to get in my car and drive home." Thanks, Nate, for being so cool about the whole thing.

And that, my friends, is why - no matter how well you get along - you NEVER go out drinking with your ex-husband who, as he will freely admit, has a drinking problem. You may find yourself abandoned on the Columbia Bottoms.

Listening to: Amy Winehouse - Me and Mr. Jones (Fuckery)


  1. You are so teeny tiny in those pictures! I bet you did scare your family to death when you turned back up.

    That's a fantastic story. Good thing you were in low-crime Columbia.

  2. Poor Nate! I would NOT want to be on the receiving end of a yelling Travis. I'm glad you got home safely.

  3. And that is why I don't have ex-husbands.

  4. Oh drinking on backroads! My husband grew up in Trenton (Clinton County, IL) and that's pretty much all they did.

    I would get directions to parties when we first met like "Turn right at the rock pile..."

    "Tall boys" or "Man Cans" were always part of the experience.

    Just think, next time you hang out with Nate, he might get bored-ha!

  5. Wait! Why didn't you call me? I would have been able to come pick you up... Man.

  6. @Courtney

    Those 24oz beers, I call them Tall Boys. That's what Trav drinks (Busch).

    Besides calling them Tall Boys, my dad also calls them a two-by-four or sometimes, A Bomb.

    My dad also drinks Tall Boys, but he prefers Stag. Yes, Stag.

  7. I don't know who this Nate guy is, but he is either very brave, or very... something else :)

  8. Since I couldn't come pick you up, I guess I need to add this little adventure of yours to my "List of Things To Feel Guilty About". Sorry Nate!! I'll yell at Trav next time I see him...

  9. Note to self, i ever hang with you, do it in a public place in my own car :P

  10. I have met this Nate character in person also; he answered a call for help I sent out once, despite never having seen me in real life before that day.

    I must say, he is a mighty fine companion to have by one's side in a pinch.

  11. that's one of the craziest stories i've ever heard.

  12. Wow. What an uncomfortable situation.

    And yes, you've made a good call with Nate!

    St. Louis has the greatest people. Seriously.

  13. Wait a minute, I wonder if this is what drove Nathan to try out that monastic prayer stuff. Hmmmm.

  14. That is frightening....I do not think I would want to get abandoned..

  15. I love the way one of the most awkward days of my life has generated so many comments. Glad to be of assistance people.



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