There’s something about a person dying in the middle of a road trip — while the rest of the people in the car either refuse to acknowledge it or, having done so, to stop driving — that is simply irresistible to comedy writers. Aunt Edna died in “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” and was strapped to the roof of the family truckster. Grandpa died in “Little Miss Sunshine” and was stashed in the way-back of the VW bus. I’m sure there are a few million others I’m forgetting.
And every so often it happens in real life:
Police interviewed this week a Clinton Township man who drove from Arizona to Michigan with a dead woman sitting in the front seat of his 2004 Ford cargo van.
…During a stop in Flagstaff, Ariz., the woman used the restroom and got back in the van, which didn’t have working air conditioning. She reportedly fell asleep somewhere along the route in either Texas or Oklahoma and never woke up. Police said the driver checked on the woman and found her cold to the touch and unresponsive.
Police said the driver did an Internet search and believed that he had 48 hours to take the deceased to either a medical examiner’s office or to a morgue. So he decided to use that 48 hours to continue his drive back to Michigan.
Because we’ve all been on that road trip, right? The driver gets in the zone and won’t stop. An old boyfriend of mine said his father would make him and his brothers pee in empty pop bottles; only no. 2 would get him to stop, and it better be urgent no. 2, kids. America is a big country, and we’ve all crossed a third, a half, or all of it in a fast-moving car.
The woman was a drug addict, if you don’t have time to click through.
So how was everyone’s Wednesday? I drove to Ann Arbor and back, the return trip in the driving rain. I was aware of the state of my tires, and tried to take it easy. That’s never a great strategy in the great chariot race of Michigan freeways, where everybody knows unibody construction, air bags and an SUV makes a driver impermeable. Almost to my exit, Kate texted me this, their first press clipping:
There’s no denying that chick musicians can be an anomaly. It’s not that they’re not out there – they just might not be as out there.
But that isn’t really why Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, or DVAS, has been busy for the past few months – busier than most bands that have only been playing for six months might be – they might be a four-female band, but they’re a four-female band that’s as talented as they are kick-ass.
Forgive the “chick musician” part — the writer is an intern, and only graduated from high school herself last year. As such, she’s in the DVAS demographic, and I guess she can describe her peers however she likes. I was just amused by it, and by how thrilled Kate was to read it. Rock and roll criticism will never die.
Sorry to give you such short shrift today, but I spent most of the day either behind the wheel or sitting around a conference table, and am thinking I should get to work on this book stuff. Ever had a great road trip? Share yours.