DEBBIE SIG FOR WEB ONLY

Gentle Reader, my child is a human pratfall whose very existence is chock full of frequent, unintentional slapstick. Every day is a new, embarrassing installment of “looking back, years from now, this’ll be hilarious.”

It’s like I gave birth to both Lucy and Ethel.

And it’s never more on display than when The Kid is on a road trip.

In college, our little scholar snagged an internship at the Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay, California, about 30 miles south of San Francisco. The child decided to drive.

Across the country.

Alone.

So, in the days it took to make the trip, I barely moved away from the phone.

And, one day, THAT phone call came.

The car had blown a tire, in the middle of Texas, in a desert, miles from anything or anybody. The force of it had also cracked a rear fender. Luckily, The Kid had the presence of mind to call AAA for assistance before calling home.

My heart broke for The Kid. And at the sound of my voice, my child, all alone with a damaged car, broke down. I promised I would stay on the phone until help arrived. We were only on the phone for a few minutes until the call ended abruptly.

It seems the spot where the poor thing was standing happened to be a fire ant hill.

Eventually, tire was replaced, duct tape was procured for fender, ants were washed off, cortisone applied, and road trip resumed.

Later in the trip, a bungee cord replaced the failing tape.

And until the day the car was sold, the fender was held together with an industrial-strength bungee cord.

We decided it was time to pony up for a GPS when late one night on another trip, The Kid got so totally turned around in West Virginia that a mountain tunnel was traversed five times in one very confused hour.

After the last trip through, my little Marco Polo got directions — from the very serious Homeland Security agent who stopped the car.

Red flags had been raised when cameras picked up the multiple tunnel trips in the middle of the night. Travel was resumed after The Kid promised to never use the tunnel again.

Then there was that time when the recent college graduate decided to travel to Ireland — in January. Why you ask, Gentle Reader would any human travel to Ireland in the chill of January?

Because plane tickets to the Emerald Isle in January are about $14 apiece; because nobody, even Hibernophiles and native Irishmen want to be there then.

The Ireland portion of the trip went well. But to get the slashed airfare, one had to fly out of Boston. So, The Kid had to make the drive home, from Boston, in January.

Petey was very ill in Duke hospital at the time, each day a new life or death struggle. And fittingly, a nor’easter was approaching the northern U.S. Atlantic coast, bringing feet of snow in its wake.

So yeah, I was in a very Zen state of mind.

The Kid’s plane touched down with the storm bearing down on Boston. My child jumped in the car and headed South.

With a storm in the rearview.

Literally, on the drive home it was like an Indiana Jones movie where a lava flow is following close behind our hero. Only instead of lava, it was a wall of snow chasing my child down Interstate 95. The Kid pulled in the driveway, along with a snowstorm that dumped a foot of snow on the Triangle.

The storm had made the trip hanging off that darn bungee cord.

Thanks for your time.

Contact Debbie Matthews at dm@bullcity.mom.