You have already been introduced to my Dad, Bob, in the blog I posted on January 2nd. If you haven't read it yet, page on down and give Bob Chronicles – The First in a Series a quick read before you continue on with this one. It will just get you in the right frame of mind. I received several emails about how funny Bob’s run in with the Walmart photo machine was and I hope you enjoy this one just as much.
This story is going to be forever referred to as "Driving with Thumbs". Again, many of you may already be laughing to yourselves because you know this story too! Follow along as I recount the story of Bob and his introduction to Cruise Control.
First of all, most people hate buying a new car. All the haggling and negotiating. It is just uncomfortable and you are never quite sure if you got a good deal or got scammed. As I have mentioned before, Bob is not most people. He LOVES buying a car. He enjoys lots of things in life, but negotiating a deal on a car ranks right up there with watching football on Saturday afternoon. Well, Bob hasn't had many new cars in his life. You have to understand that he is a bit on the "cheap" side for lack of a better word. Back in the mid 90’s he was having some trouble with his back and he was in the market for a minivan that would be easier to get in and out of. As I said, he is very practical (is there any other way to say that Bob does not like to part with his money?) and just wanted a bare bones, no frills, minivan that had some doors, a windshield, a motor and those nice high seats that he barely had to stretch up or crouch down to get into. After he worried the poor people at the Dodge dealership half to death, he walked out of there with a Dodge Caravan that had some spiffy, high tech bells and whistles. They really would have probably thrown in a sun-roof, curb feelers, spinning rims, anything to get him off the lot! The particular piece of technology that intrigued Bob the most was the cruise control! He was totally jazzed about that feature. Especially, since he and Mom were planning a 1,000 mile road trip up to Baltimore on Phase I of the Retirement Travel Bonanza!
Dad and Mom take off on the road trip a couple of days after the purchase of the new van and Bob is finding that he just about able to drive “feet free”. He is accelerating, braking, cruising along all using his thumbs – no feet required. He may even be able to control the radio from the steering wheel, but I think that was a van upgrade a couple of years later. He is pretty pleased with himself and kinda challenges himself to see how far he can drive with just his hands. My mom, his copilot and navigator, is a little peeved with this obsession. She says at one point he is frantically pushing the accelerate button on the steering wheel to get out of an 18 wheelers path that is bearing down behind them. She finally yells – USE YOUR FEET!!! He is able to snap out of his cruise control stupor and successfully deliver them to their hotel in Roanoke, where they plan to stay the night, before finishing up their drive the next day.
That night, they go over to Shoney’s for a quick bite of dinner. As he is eating, and picking up his utensils Bob starts to experience some serious pain in his thumbs. He keeps talking about how they are burning. Could it be arthritis? He can’t for the life of him figure out why. Well, I know you can already see where this is going. His thumbs are sore from all that frantic pushing of buttons during his nine hours of driving time. He goes back to the hotel, gets the ice bucket and the little plastic liner. He fills them both with ice. One hand goes in the ice bucket, the other is covered by the plastic bag filled with ice. He spends his evening with both thumbs surrounded by ice to try to take away the swelling and the pain. He takes some aspirin and has a terrible night sleep with his throbbing thumbs. My mother is not amused. Who gets injured from driving? Bob, that's who.
The next day, they hit the road to finish up the trip and Bob is all feet all the way. Doesn’t even turn on the cruise control. I don’t know if there is a lesson in this story, except maybe everything in moderation – even cruise control!!!
This is fun, documenting some of my Dad’s funnier moments. He really got a kick out of the initial Bob Chronicles and I hope he does this one as well. Hopefully, I am recalling them with some accuracy and resemblance of events that actually happened. I think it is pretty close to the truth. If it is not exactly how it happened, it is at least what has morphed into reality in my mind after years of Bob embellishing this story as he told it time and time again.
Thanks for the laughs Dad!