How many times have you found yourself in slow moving, stop and start traffic while out on the road trying to get to your family vacation destination? Sure, you may have prepared all kinds of activities to help distract your kids, but what about keeping yourself interested as you plod along at 10 miles per hour max?
This happened to us while en route to the Outer Banks, North Carolina. As we waited in a massive line to cross the Currituck Sound, I found myself glancing out the window, playing what, in the end, could have been described as an odd sort of game of “I Spy.”
What follows is a witnessed “stream of consciousness” of sorts as we were stuck in the stream of traffic. Which of these things might have gotten your attention and what kinds of questions might you have asked aloud if you’d seen them on the side of the road? A few things were so unusual (albeit sometimes tacky) we found ourselves pulling off the road to check them out further:
Seen: “Artwork For Your Man Cave” (need an old Sunoco Oil sign?). Don’t worry ladies, plenty of stained glass and brown glass to lure you in if you didn’t have a man cave in need of decorating.
Seen: Giant plots with piles of 5-8 different kinds of soil in different colors ranging from black to burnt sienna, to light yellowish-brown. I had no idea there were this many different soils to even consider! My thoughts turned to my urban garden back in New York–was I using the right soil?
Seen: “Authentic” Mexican restaurants with signs of giant dancing chili peppers. I’ve been to Mexico, and yet I don’t remember any dancing chili peppers in any of the restaurants there.
Seen: Plenty of fresh tobacco, fireworks, boiled peanuts (discussion follows regarding why there’s ever a need to boil peanuts)
Seen: A man carving faux palm trees out of actual downed trees and logs (A true “save the trees” kind of guy.)
Seen: An all-year/all-weather religious manger with a giant rainbow protruding from Jesus’ head. (Feel free to discuss—but I’m not going to touch this one further.)
Seen: Monster trucks along the side of the road along with a monster truck jump ramps. People were paying to take a ride in those monster trucks on those monster truck ramps. It was as if the movie “Cars” had come to life.
Seen: Massive (about 30 feet high) Adirondack chairs. More than one. Who makes these? I made my husband get out of the car and take a chair break. Good sport that he was, my daughter was actually a bit scared at the thought of being hoisted into it.
Seen: Massive, beautiful, knotted trees–great for climbing. Others covered in lush green vines. Tarzan would be jealous.
Seen: At “Bianca’s House of Tea Leafs” (yes that was how it was spelled) not only could I have my star chart done, but Bianca could have read my inner body color (I’m guessing red?) and/or used her advertised skills as a Feng Shui designer to…what could she re-arrange while stopping into her “house”? My hairdo? Separately, a local radio ad reminded me that Bianca would help allow me a greater sense of inner peace.
Seen: A sign saying, “I got my crabs from Dirty Dick’s Crab House.” Sorry, but I’d be more inclined to stop if I had to get a t-shirt for my college-aged nephew than to actually want to eat there.
Seen: Speaking of t-shirts…we also passed The Brew Thru, which evidently according to their sign is “world famous for their t-shirts”. (Odd there was no mention of fame for their beer.)
Seen: Large ad for “Real Escapes and Energy Auditor”. What was this? I’m still wondering. Maybe Bianca could explain?
Seen: “Mermaid’s Topless Dancers”. Apparently, these dancers do their ‘thang in a building that can only be described as a tan Amish barn. I was almost tempted to stop just to see what topless dancers working in a building like this would actually look like. But, for my husband’s sake, we kept driving.
Seen: Nags Head Hammock company signs reminding us: No shoes, No shirt…No problem! And “You just can’t relax with a frown on your face.”
Now THIS was the type of sentiment we needed to embrace. Big traffic? No problem! Look around, and sure enough, we had plenty of traffic distractions after all.