Opinion: Flush with low expectations


As many of you know, I’ve been spending this already difficult summer in Kentucky helping to care for my father who has terminal cancer. The other night as my mom and I were preparing for bed after a particularly exhausting evening, she commented, “If nothing else, this certainly is a journey.” I immediately replied, “Yeah, if that journey is a cross-country road trip and every day is a questionable gas station bathroom!” How’s that for on-the-fly metaphors?

And the more I thought about it, the more brilliant I realized my observation was. Interstates, highways, back roads – wherever your vacation is taking you, the unpredictability of potty stops is a major factor of the driving experience. I know my family isn’t alone in attempting to predict cleanliness and accessibility based on things like storefront displays, parking lot conditions and which, if any, fast-food chain is sharing the building. Then we delight in ranking the facility, incorporating the combined men’s and women’s score into the ever-expanding overall Best-to-Worst list. I’ve even written articles about this (anyone recall the Wilson I-70 Adventure of 2010? An unpretentious Kansas Conoco stole our hearts!).

My point is that, during this topsy-turvy year of COVID-19, protests, election shenanigans, and for me, a dying parent, each day is a crapshoot. Will I be pleasantly surprised with air fresheners and silk flowers and urine-free floors? Or, will even my low expectations be surpassed with no toilet paper, unidentifiable wall stains and a rotting mackerel stink that makes me gag on my beer nuts?

Either way, I suppose I’m making memories. And isn’t that what journeys are all about? Peace out.


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