Or are they riding me? I’m not being punny here; those big girl panties can be really uncomfortable at times. Tight, constricting, creeping in the crack. Nobody ever tells you to put on your big girl panties to go have a pedicure. To order a latte at Starbucks. You even have to be told to put them on: no one ever just wears big girl panties. If they physically existed, they’d be kept in the back of the drawer, along with the no-action-getting granny panties and hole-riddled stained period briefs, not even good enough to be considered panties. But big girl panties are a mental garment. And for the past two days, beautiful babies, I have been wearing mine.
We all have our own BGP moments. Some of us have to wear them to work when facing a crisis or asking for a promotion. Sometimes putting on the BGP means just getting out of bed and facing the day and all its rewarding moments. For me, I always break out the BGP when I have to travel by myself. Usually it’s by plane, but this time I have embarked upon the solo journey from Tampa to Philly by car. For some people this is no big deal, and sister, I commend you. My cousin Lynnie, my friend Nancy: both travel solo all the time for their jobs and so far neither one has ended up ax murdered or sold to a foreign country or abducted by aliens. Trust me, I thought of both of them aplenty as I was packing my suitcases, chanting their names and channeling their strength (so if either one of you gals feels a little less strong this week, so sorry).
Along with the BGP, I packed other traveling essentials. Dolly, a constant companion. Audiobooks. This time I went with Jennifer Weiner’s Fly Away Home (even though I hate Jennifer Weiner because she’s living my career), Peter Benchley’s Jaws (finished this one on today’s leg; Richard Dreyfus’ character is actually in his mid-twenties, sleeps with Roy Scheider’s wife, and dies in that cage), some inspirational go-woman-power book by Diane Keaton, and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I chose hotels directly off I-95, brought my literary food stamps and microwave meals I bought at Publix. I’m a Hilton Gold Member so free water and Lorna Doone’s at check-in, along with endless complimentary tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. I only travel during the day, made easier and longer by daylight savings and warmer weather. No BGP in the winter for me, unless I drove in four hour increments, and then it would take me a week to get to Philly, which I guess would afford me a lot of alone time in the room writing. Yes, this is the first time I’ve used the computer since leaving Tampa yesterday morning; I’ve been too busy reading, watching tv and streaming videos. So much for getting work done.
What am I getting at? How badly I needed the panties today, beautiful babies, so badly they almost became Depends. Let me share:
I had it all planned. Today was the longest leg of my three-day journey. I got up at eight, had some free breakfast, checked my emails, packed up the car, and was gassed and on I-95 by nine. I had eight hours in front of me. I stopped mid-way in North Carolina, grabbed some lunch, bathroom break, gassed again and back on 95. I would be in Fredericksburg by five. I was so on schedule, today appeared to be going as smooth as yesterday. Then, at 4:45, just eight miles from my exit, traffic stopped. I crawled a mile in an hour. I stopped paying attention to Weiner, read by Judith Light. I turned it off. Now nine hours in my car, headachy and fatigued and desperately having to pee again, I made a decision. I would take the back roads for my last eight miles. I got off at the nearest exit and headed for the McDonald’s. I had to use MapQuest; the GPS on my phone does not work. My friend Gina can attest to that when we parted after meeting at The Dining Car in Northeast Philly one afternoon and I headed in the wrong direction back to Mom’s. So I got the directions to the hotel by using the address of another hotel behind McDonald’s because of course the locator couldn’t find the McDonald’s I was in. And just in case the LTE cut out on me while I was driving, I screen shot the directions. Ok. Back in the car, with directions that would take me sixteen miles and twenty-seven minutes for a five minute ride via I-95 (which, b-t-dubs, was still unmoving as I crossed on the overpass).
Okay, this has nothing to do with anything, but I’m watching The Originals as I write this and this show is really so ridiculous. It’s awful. I have no idea what’s going on anymore, it’s so ludicrous with their chanting in Latin and characters grunting and screaming and choking and talking British. Although their one sister talks with no accent. And they originated in New Orleans. Shouldn’t they be French vampires? And if Davina can be brought back to life, why not Cami? Maybe because actress Leah Pipes developed some self-respect. Anyway–
So I’m on the MapQuest route and three minutes in I can hear the banjos playing. I am scared. For miles just weeds and grass and shacks and sets of overalls walking along the road by themselves. I’m thinking I should turn back. I’m gripping the wheel. I’m thinking I’m crazy and Leatherface is about to come running out of one of the fields looking for a new dress. I calm myself. If the directions don’t pan out, I can turn around. It’s still daylight, will be daylight for another two hours, the rain passed, I’m wearing my Big Girl Panties, goddamn it, just keep going. Then Macedonia Street comes up, just like the directions say it should. And it turns into Thornton Crossing, just like it should. And Mill Road is up ahead, where I’m supposed to make my left. And a few minutes and turns later, there’s my hotel, calling to me with its blue sign. Pride swells within me. Maybe no big deal for anyone else, but for me . . . big time accomplishment.
Now I’m in my room, in bed with BabyVaioII propped on a pillow, Dolly next to me, raspberry Snapple on the bedside table, The Originals on the telly, door locked, Do Not Disturb sign firmly in place. And I’m talking to you, which strangely enough, makes me feel not so alone, even though you can’t talk back to me. I feel you reading, anticipate your comments, feel connected through the miles, the technology, the human experience. And the BGP are rolled up in the suitcase, awaiting their next call of duty.