I just wanted to be like the big kids..
I was the youngest. I was the only girl. When we played kick the can or jailbreak I was always picked last. And it wasn’t because I was slow. I wasn’t. I was always athletic. I was quick. I was sly. Hell, if anything being the youngest I knew how to sneak around more than my brothers. “No more cookies before dinner.” Well who do you think left the gate open so the dog accidentally got out leaving the rest of the family scouring the entire neighborhood while the last Chips Ahoy magically fell into my mouth? It was because I was the youngest. And when you’re the youngest you automatically suck. It’s just the way of the world.
I wasn’t an idiot. I played my cards when I needed to. But I was the black sheep & I often had a hard time dealing with that role. My brothers were best friends growing up (& still are). On family trips my best friend was a stuffed dog named Fluffy. Man, we ruled the world together. Unfortunately for me, only I could hear what Fluffy said so he wasn’t really a big help when I needed him to have my back. Damn dog. He had one job to do.
In first grade my parents decided our family summer vacation was going to be to Busch Gardens. Wowweee. Were my parents crazy? Yes. Yes they were. Put 3 kids in the backseat of a car for a 7 hour drive: Let’s see who kills who first. FAMILY. ROAD TRIP. Now this is before any of this stupid ipad, ipod, iphone, portable DVD player. Good ‘ol license plate game, punchbuggy, stop hitting yourself, and my favorite I swear to god if you touch me one more time I will kill you (even though this is a three person backseat and there is literally nowhere for any of us to go).
Oh, hey. Did I mention yet about how I was the youngest? Cause, yeah, I’m the youngest. Do you know what that means on a family road trip? It means YOU HAVE TO SIT BITCH THE ENTIRE TRIP. Now if you are wondering, I haven’t been anointed to sainthood….yet. I feel it coming though. Because sitting in a car for 7 hours straight while your brothers pass your head back and forth like a ping-pong ball is actually in the Bible as an automatic entry to sainthood. Believe me, it is.
My Dad had just bought a new car. I remember how proud he was of it (for good reason). Every time a door was open a voice in the most annoying way possible would repeat “The door…is ajar.” I didn’t know what ajar meant, but I remember being in first grade thinking “This bitch doesn’t know the difference between a door and a jar. Get it together, Chevy.”
I digress. We were well on our way to Virginia when my Dad decided that he was making a pit stop at 7/11. Now here I am, about 6 years old, this teeny little thing making my way into the convenient store, probably wearing some sort of Disney princess attire, all smiles on our Griswald vacation. Then my Dad hits me with some major news, “Family vacation: Get whatever you want.” awwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah. Free for all. When you’re a a kid and you hear that? It’s Christmas!!! You’ve just hit the jackpot. I’m going to get everything Mom always says I can’t get. I knew immediately when my Dad said that I was teetering the line between “Baby Val” & “Big Kid Val” & today was the day that “Damnit, I’m going to take a stand!” My brothers were obsessed with drinking Big Gulps. It was just this thing they did with their friends. Something about having your own 2 liter of diet soda waiting for you, I don’t know what it was, but I wanted that power. I walked my way over to the Big Gulp cups and I filled that sucker to the brim with Slurpee. Because, shit, what else could possibly make a 7 hour car drive better than a 6 year old bouncing off the walls on a sugar high. Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Coca-Cola, I was a 6 year old mixologist.
As soon as my father saw me grasping that colossal cup with my tiny paws he shrieked with anger. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO FINISH THAT! WHY DID YOU GET THAT? ummmm, Dad, seriously? You have been a father for long enough know to know the rules of having children. If you’re going to play the “get whatever you want card.” I’m going to take that to the max. I will, and I did. “But daddddddyyy, you said we can get whatever we wantttt.” Pouty-eyes, crazy curly hair that flew in every direction, Little Mermaid dress, my fanny pack that carried my life necessities at the time which included my pogs and chapstick, my jelly sandals, I knew the game and the man wasn’t going to turn me down looking the way I did. Fine just don’t spill it in my car. *mumble under his breath*
To this day I’m still a child when it comes to car rides. The light jostling of the road sends me into slumber so peaceful I wish I owned a racecar bed. It’s a blessing and a curse. Well I settled myself into the bitch seat and planted that big gulp in between my legs and we started our journey…and we journeyed…. and we journeyed….and then. it. happened. I can’t tell you what state we were in. I can’t tell you what highway were on. I can only tell you that for 10 minutes in my life I swear to god my Mother had to hold my Father back and cute curls, dewey eyes, and all-around adorable demeanor were no match for the fact that I swear to you my Father almost took my life in the name of his Chevy Lumina that day.
The Big Gulp was Everywhere. I just closed my eyes for a minute I swear. But in that second that Big Gulp, well. All over my brothers. All over my dress. All over my Dad’s new backseat of his car. Remember that scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie loses the nuts & bolts and accidentally curses throwing the father into a fit of rage? multiply that by 1,0000x. I spilled that baby all over the entire car. I cried. I sobbed. I cried some more. I prayed the few prayers I think I knew at the time which was probably “Good Night Moon.” Not only did I NOT finish my Big Gulp, I did EXACTLY what my father told me not to do. We pulled ourselves together on the side of the highway. I think by the end of the drive my Dad was able to look at me again. The vacation itself was awesome, but guys, I have never had and never will have a Big Gulp again.