Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Curse of Boredom

Today I drove.   A lot.  Well, a lot for me, anyway.  Seven hours of driving to get to daughter Sarah's home in northwestern Ohio.  I'll be here for roughly two weeks if all goes well, helping Sarah and her husband Lance while she recovers from surgery.  The surgery will happen early Tuesday morning.

I'm one of those people who get bored very easily.  I don't know what that says about my brain, but there it is.  I just tend to get bored quickly.  And facing a seven hour drive allbymyself, boredom is a very real and likely possibility.

The first hour went by fairly quickly, without my looking at the clock very often.  I was listening to my local radio station airing a talk show in which listeners called and reported on the worst Christmas presents they had ever received.  Some of them were just beyond belief.  I may have to do a future blog post so you can all have the laughs I had during that first hour of driving.

I traveled the majority of the trip westward through Pennsylvania on route 80, then continued most of the way through Ohio also staying on the same road.  Because much of the road has trees along both sides of the roads, boredom plagued me.

Sometimes I wonder what other travelers do to keep themselves from suffering from boredom.  Feel free to write and give me some suggestions.  I will have to make the trip home in several weeks, you know.

Oh yes, I had prepared for this drive.  I had snacks and drinks right there next to me on the seat.  Including candy.  The first CD of a book on tape was in the player.  And it was even a Christmas story.  And furthermore, I had my coffee in the cup holder, my cell phone in my pocket, and my camera out of the case,  just in case there was something picture-worthy.

However, here's the reality.  This is mostly what I looked at for the seven hours:

I devised little rituals to amuse myself, to look forward to.  Every hour on the hour I fed myself a peppermint candy.  Then on each half hour I ate three swedish fish.  I figured that would cause the time to fly, but in reality, the peppermint took about 1 1/2 minutes, and the swedish fish took maybe 12 seconds each = 36 seconds.  So I still had about 58 other minutes in every hour to fill.

For one of the hours things got relatively "exciting."  I passed by each of three jumbo jet wings.  Then I stopped at a rest stop.  When I returned to the road, I had the amusement of catching up to them and driving by each of the three wings again.  Not what you generally see on the road.

I decided to count how many deer hunters in orange hunting clothing I drove by.  I don't know about Ohio's hunting seasons, but Pennsylvania deer hunters are at the tail end of the first of two weeks of deer season.  I saw a total of 17 orange guys.  Not as many as I would have thought for a sunny Saturday morning in an area heavily laden with male hunting testosterone.

Those triple unit tractor trailer trucks amaze me.  I decided to count them, too.  I logged 5 Fed-Ex triples, 2 UPS triples, and 1 of another line that I hadn't seen before.  I know, I'm lame, but I was trying to keep my mind engaged and my driving safe.

And finally, I found myself looking forward to rest stops, whether I needed them or not.  They were mileposts to me, more so than the passing hours.  I tried even to find amusement at the stops, and here's a weird thing I saw at my last stop.  I suppose it's not bad enough when birds poop all over your car naturally.  Now people pay good money to purchase a vehicle decal that resembles poop from some gargantuan bird.

Well anyway, the hours crawled by and would you believe, merely 20 minutes from my destination I was held up by a long cargo train.  I listened to three entire Christmas songs before the railroad barricades lifted after the long train.

 The good news is that in spite of my BATTLE WITH BOREDOM,  seven hours and 400 miles later, I arrived at my daughter's home safe and sound.  For that I am thankful.


  1. Your jet wings are actually used for those giant wind mills. And I am glad you made it safe and sound. It sounds to me like there is more to see along the highway when yo drive then when your husband is driving.

  2. I listen to audio books whenever I have a long drive or when I go walking. I love audio books!

  3. There are a lot of those generator fan blades on the roads here in Texas. The last time I was in Pennsylvania, I saw some. The ones I saw up there looked a lot longer. Don't know for sure?