Posted by: Trisha Leigh | September 8, 2010

Even Kansas Has a Silver Lining

Ever have one of those days when just EVERYTHING goes wrong?

I stayed in Dallas an extra night after it took longer than I expected to fix up my car, which needed new tires after I discovered a flat on Sunday afternoon. I got up early Tuesday morning and set out on the road by 7:30. On a good day, the drive between Kansas City and Dallas is about 7.5 or 8 hours. This would not be a good day.

First, my gas light dinged so I used my Garmin to find a gas station. Which was good, except it turned out to be a ghetto 7-11 with no overhangs. The sky proceeded to dump buckets of rain. Also, the pump was broken so I had to stand out there, hold it, and get soaked to the bone. It clicked off every thirty seconds or so, contributing to the longest, wettest fill up ever. (Go ahead and laugh at that last sentence, I did. Tawna, if you’re reading – aren’t you proud??)

I got on the road, trying not to focus on the $600 I’d spent the day before and enjoy the drive. After several miles of rush hour traffic, the road opened up and I merrily followed my GPS.

Until I realized it wasn’t taking me to I35.

Yes, I know there’s another way to get home from Dallas, but I’ve never taken it. Normally I’d be up for the adventure. It had been a long weekend, though, and I’d spent an extra day away from home already. Also, I needed to plug in the radar detector and unplug the GPS, which I couldn’t do if I didn’t know where I was going, exactly.

I managed to meander my way east to west across north Texas and find I35. It poured the entire time. I stopped at Starbucks.

Oklahoma greeted me not long after, and I had an unsatisfactory conversation with the financial aid department of my graduate school. I’d called last week to make sure I’d taken all the necessary steps, but when the aid wasn’t applied yesterday I called back. This time I’m informed two steps were missed and need to be taken care of immediately.

I stop in…Oklahoma somewhere and pull up to McDonalds to use their wifi. Except they don’t have wifi. I make the horrid decision to have lunch there. The remainder of my coffee spills all over my bag, GPS, and carpet.

I cried. It was ridiculous. I’m not proud.

Then I ate my McDonalds, worried over the funny taste of the chicken, and leaked a few more tears.

It took me 5 hours to get to Oklahoma City. I35 is under construction across the entire state of OK, and my radar detector went off every couple of miles. That state can take a long walk off a short pier, as far as I’m concerned.

Kansas loomed, along with its lovely turnpike. That’s right. Kansas charges you $6 to drive on I35 in their state.

Then something happened.

The sun came out. A good song came on my iPod. I rolled down the windows, let the sun and wind soak into my soul, and felt brighter. I laughed at my meltdown a couple of hours before and marveled at how close I was to home.

It took me 10 hours to get home.

Sometimes it takes longer than we’d like to get where we want to be, and sometimes it even seems like so many things are going wrong we might as well turn back. I considered turning around and starting over on Wednesday.

I didn’t. I pushed through and got doggie kisses and a relaxing evening in my underwear, drinking beer and watching Make It Or Break It recordings. (That’s a good thing, yes).

I’m not a patient person. I want to quit my job and move TOMORROW. I want my manuscript to be ready for submission NOW. I want it to have sold YESTERDAY.

I’m trying to take a lesson from my trip home. Life doesn’t always flow at the pace we’d like. As long as we make it where we’re headed, happy and whole, nothing else matters. If we spend too much time being frustrated about the pieces that aren’t falling into place fast enough, how much of the present is going unnoticed, unlived?

How about you? Any disastrous road trips? Any time you were ready to give up and pushed through it instead? Inspire me!



  1. Wow, this is the first time I’ve seen “longest” and “wettest” in a sentence together and not had it be a good thing.

    Oh come on, you set it up for me. I had to.

    I’m glad you were able to take something away from your trip from hell (besides food poisoning, I mean).


    • You forgot “fill up” It’s the trifecta. 🙂

  2. We Missourians laugh at your Kansan toll roads. The gall! Charge you to drive–you’re already in Kansas! But also the thought of any pier, long or short, in Oklahoma.

    Best wishes with the job hunt!

    • I hear you on the toll road. Who charges to drive through the flattest, most boring state in the continental US? Thanks, I’m ready for a change 🙂

  3. For some reason, for days I haven’t been able to get Long December by Counting Crows out of my head. “I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass.”

    And you know, you’ve written so many books and have an agent and I look forward to being where you are someday!

    • Thanks, Beth, for reminding me to be thankful. I am. 🙂

      I love Counting Crows – one of my all time favorite bands.

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