--  a podcast and website dedicated to anecdotal cooking as expressed through my poetry and foodstuff --  a podcast and website dedicated to anecdotal cooking as expressed through my poetry and foodstuff listings.
Sandy Watiff Off-Season
Part 1
  The Challenge
  The Charge
  The Child
  The Call

Part 2
  Road Tripping
  Adventure Underway
  Roadside Nap
  Bladder Control

Part 3
  The Landing
Part 4
  The Acclimation

Part 5
  The Overseer
  Interior Design

Part 6
  Waffle Breakfast Bickering
  Trees: the Forrest and the Woods
Part 7
  [f]Au[x] Natural
  Facing the Challenge
  Watiff Scenarios

Travel Portrait 14
Sandy Watiff Off-Season: Part 2
June 27, 2008

I. Road Tripping

"Not a problem," I said drowsily. My son's mother and I were discussing his and my vacation logistics. (We have daily post-nuptial evening updates.)

"The plan is to leave a couple of hours before sunrise. He'll be in his pajamas for part of the day, but maybe I'll have him in shorts and a t-shirt (when he goes to bed the night prior), then I'll have him put on his sweats later. Something like that. I'll make sure that he has his blanket. He will be able to sleep in the car."

"Listen. I'm not worried about him sleeping in the car," she alerted. "I'm worried about you falling asleep while driving the car!"

"But I'm freshest early in the morning--and I've taken a day off one day before leaving for Maine. This will ensure that I'm well rested."

"You better pull over and take a rest at the slightest blink!"

Which for me would be frequently--my son's mother always makes me blink, take pause, when I think of her: that whole no confidence whammy stresses me out and exhausts me, that and my lack of conscious synaptic activity when not multitasking. I am a person who requires simultaneous cerebral and visceral stimuli. Such intellectual and physical activity releases boredom, invigorates me.

However, she and I both knew heed had to be taken. After all, this vacation was our first extended father and son adventure--a legitimate cause for concern. Only natural.

II. Adventure Underway

I finally got the compact car loaded--four hours after sunrise. Within this amount of time my son was able to fully awake, eat a complete breakfast, get dressed, and ask me repeatedly, "When are we leaving?"

"Just one more storage container," I exclaimed as I lifted up another onto the luggage rack.

"Aw, c'mon, daddy!"

Okay. Get in the car and buckle up."


"Let me move your backpack and tackle box."

"Are there snacks in there?"

"No. Your activity books and drawing materials."

"Oh yeah, that stuff."

"Yeah, that stuff," I mocked as I rearranged the contents piled inside the car--adding another twenty minutes, delaying departure even more.

"Turn on the DVD player."

"Alright. Let's go, but we will have to first stop at the gas station to fill up."

Get in the car and buckle up.


"Mighty fine 'mobile you have there. How's the mileage," small-talked a vagabond. "Looks like you're goin' on a trip or somethin'. May I pump your gas for you?"

Before I could respectfully decline his offer, he made an appeal for forgiveness.

"Oh, I see amongst all the things there in your 'mobile, you got a kid. Sorry."

The vagabond flashed his palms out towards me, then twisted his hands sideways, palms-up as if expecting a tip. His eyes darted over my shoulder as his lips pursed.

I turned around to greet his taller-by-a-foot partner-in-service, who greeted me with a frustrated, "Hello."

"See-yah," I indicated as I removed the gas cap and began to pump regular unleaded.

"In broad daylight," I thought to myself, "At a busy gas station--and I haven't even got on the expressway. Are they their spouses sitting over there at the intersection island? With a dog--and duffle bags? Is she holding a… Were these guys thinking about.…"

"Not too inconspicuous," I critiqued myself out loud as I got into the car.

I drove over to the intersection leading to the expressway. I checked to see if my downloaded directions to Maine were still tucked away in the overhead visor, then I reset the odometer. I took a second look over to the vagabond wives. Their husbands had not returned from their hunting for groceries.

III. Roadside Nap

I figured I could get some rest while my son ate his lunch. We pulled over to the side of the turnpike after purchasing some drive-thru fast food. (We decided to forego the lunch daddy had packed.) I scarfed-down my burger as my son leisurely ate his contentments and watched cartoons on his DVD player. Waiting for him did provide me with the opportunity to lull for a moment. I pressed the hazard blinkers' button on, and then dozed as the car rocked side-to-side as the freight trucks sped past.

"Let's get moving, daddy."

"Ready," I asked waking.

"Been. I have to go potty."

"Me too, son," I said as I turned off the hazard lights and started the car.

I accelerated down the turnpike shoulder until reaching the speed limit, then I pulled onto the road proper.

"Son, see all those green signs?

"Don't you mean forest green," corrected my crayon color-conscious counterpart.

"Sure. Yeah, well, let me know when you see a sign-blue blue sign," I hipped poorly. "You are the navigator. Keep an eye out."

"Over there, daddy," directed my son.


"There. Read that blue sign."

"Rest area. Two miles. That's about five/ten minutes away. Can you handle that?"

"I think so," he said uneasily.

I acknowledged my son's trepidation by increasing the car's miles per hour.

IV. Bladder Control

The second most glorious day, as attested by my son, the first being when he was able to walk on his own accord, was to be able to control his bladder. This meant not wearing a diaper and having the ability to use the toilet by his command. He expressed great delight in understanding his bodily functions. So much so, he has taken to contest me on the subject matter.

At the risk of crossing the line, this milestone, bladder control, will eventually degrade to farting and pissing contests, as opposed to upgrading to contests of being more big, more strong, and more fast. Such future sophomoric behavior will mature later. For now, I am in the moment.

We pulled into the rest area, parked the car, unbuckled our seatbelts, and made our way, semi-hastily, to the men's room. We relieved our bladders, washed and dried our hands. We went to purchase some concessions. My son stood in line for a smoothie; I for a double espresso, foregoing the thermos full of house bland coffee I had brought along from home. We went back to the car, buckled our seatbelts, and drove back onto the highway.

Having drunk my espresso, I opened one of the many bottles of water I had packed. I needed to keep myself hydrated even though I was taking a diuretic: a vicious circle for me, for us. I had to request that we make more frequent stops, "because daddy had to go potty." Meaning I was the reason for disruption and delay in getting to Maine. However, these frequent disruptions, while delaying, kept me invigorated to the extent that I remained cerebrally and viscerally stimulated, as did the intellectual and physical activity.

After the third stop for relief, my son's mother phoned to see how we were doing. The time at which she called was the estimated arrival time for Maine, if we had departed before sunrise.

"We're heading into New York. I decided to sleep in," I remarked, then provided an explanation. "He's fine. I'll activate the speaker."

The two chatted extensively. My son expressed his happiness with the trek thus far, although he stated that he wanted to read audio books, so they transitioned to discussing her events of the day, thus winding down the conversation. Suddenly, my son interrupted her to report that a low-flying airplane was approaching.


"We're passing through Newark, mommy," I interjected.

"Okay, daddy," she replied.

Traffic was starting to get congested.

"We should probably hang-up now."

"Okay," she lamented

"Bye-bye mommy."

"Bye-bye [insert cute name here]."

My son grabbed his read-along picture book as I placed the CD into the car's player. I put on my headphones and listened to some podcasts. Between the five CD set and the podcasts, we were able to occupy our attention, holding off the travel's ghastliness.

George Washington Bridge

We made our way through New York with little incident, not stopping until Massachusetts where we had a pizza dinner. We were back on the interstate. I continued to listen to podcasts; while my son took out his sketchbook and drew the image paused on the DVD player's screen. These activities lasted through dusk. We made a brief stop for dessert, and then continued onward for the last part of our journey. To our chagrin, fatigue started to settle in.

"Are we there yet?"

I itemized the remaining states we needed to pass through to get to Maine--a short list, but three hours more until our final destination.

"Do you want to listen to your stories?"

"I want to listen to music!"

"Do you know how to ask!?!"


I put on his favorite CD. He fell asleep within four songs, the fourth being a lullaby. I turned off the CD, removed my headphones, and welcomed the silence.

I yawned.

"Did I just yawn!?!"


I took pause to commend myself for drinking king-sized iced teas during lunch and dinner as well getting that double espresso. These caffeinated beverages spared the thermos of coffee I had brought along from home. I made ceremony of every sip. I made toasts as if I were saying prayers of thanks. These offers of gratitude led me up the highway into darkness.

Two hours later, after a thermos full of toasts, I had to go to the bathroom, really bad. My son was deep in slumber. We had just exited off the interstate to pass through a downtown Main Street before entering the last highway as designated on the downloaded directions. While driving through this town, I tried to find an open convenience store, but unfortunately all stores were closed, except for that one…a gas-and-go. As I pulled into the parking lot, I immediately realized that this gas-and-go was actually a beer-n-go. With bladder pressure growing, I had to make a decision.

"I need a snack to contemplate."

I ate my packed lunch: mint eggplant, garlic mushrooms, olives, feta, crisp bread, and watermelon. Too stark a set of tastes for this time of hour, so I chugged down an 8oz bottle of water. Not a good idea given the circumstances. Nevertheless, I was sated enough to decide that I would pee along the side of the highway. I, loopy as ever, circled the beer-n-go until oriented as to the direction of the highway I should be headed.

Approximately five miles along the arterial, I pull over. I am feeling uncomfortable and uneasy about this situation. Apprehensive adrenaline.

"This road is fresh tarmac--too well paved for my miscreant behavior," I sighed. "But I have no choice. I have one teensy weensy empty bottle in the car--and the thermos is off limits!"

I turned on the car's hazard lights (flashers).

I get out, walk around to the passenger side of the car to relieve my bladder. Not a minute passed before a police patrol car parked the regulation distance behind me with lightbars strobing. I am anxious because I have to urinate without further delay or else, yet I have to explain myself--or else. Fully invigorated, I did my gotta-go dance--with a light show, no less!

I have to make this conversation quick, so I conjure up my best disco-speak and body language.

"Got a kid in the car, snoozing [sweeping finger point]. I have to [bobble-head bobble]! May I [wiggle, wiggle]? You know [wink, wink]."

"Just checking to see if you were okay. That's all," stated the officer.

With strobe lights turned off, the patrol car sped off, hightailing.

Satisfied with my success--my pick-up approach still has the same effect--I did a happy dance.

1. Clap. Step, step.
2. Zip. Step, step.
3. Jiggle. Jiggle. Hop.

4. Wah, wah, wah.
5. Whooo-aaahhh.

6. Shake. Shake. Shake.
7. Tap. Tap.

8. Shiver. Shiver, hop-hop.

9. Zicka-zicka. Zip.

Feel free to exercise thought by sending me an email regarding preparation nuances. Be sure to experiment with flavor--and remember, eat your mistakes, uh, ingredients. (Disclaimer)
Copyright © 2008 by Edward K. Brown II, All Rights Reserved