Life in a small town is often idyllic. The pace is slower, the birds sing more, and even the trash-ravaging bears are friendlier. Since relocating three years ago, our family’s never been happier, and, after a trip down to the big city, my husband Jeremy and I were reminded why. Due to the vast amount of ocean separating our town from the mainland, traveling by ferry is required (unfortunately). Our initial trip down was smooth; the boat was on time, and we made it to the city in one piece. After completing our various bits and bobs and spending the night in an overpriced hotel, it was time to head back. We checked out bright and early, loaded up the caravan, and set off. Had I known then what I know now, I would’ve driven straight off a bridge and saved myself a massive headache.
After a murderous trip through rush hour traffic, we finally made it to the off ramp for the ferry terminal, and that’s where the trouble began. Six lanes of traffic were at a dead stop, turning the highway into a parking lot. We couldn’t even see the ocean; we were so far away. Well, nothing to do but wait. And wait. And wait. TWO HOURS LATER, we finally made it to the toll booth and breathed a sigh of relief. The worst part was over right? RIGHT? The god of mischief himself chuckled, and we inched along the laneway, heading to our doom. We waited again. For another two hours. At this point, we couldn’t even leave the car – there was nowhere to go. The tiny town beside the ferry dock was miles away. We’d been up for six hours and the only food I’d eaten was a dusty mint I’d found in my purse. Did I mention it was ridiculously hot? And that we had our senior dog, Teddy, with us? And that the air conditioning was broken? What had I done in a previous life to deserve this? Jeremy and I eventually left the van and collapsed in a patch of shade. Like a mirage, the “Ferry Café” appeared before me, and I rushed towards it with renewed energy. The tarmac was an oven, sweat dripped from every pore, but salvation was at hand! The bored teenager behind the counter lazily prepared my order, and I was so famished I didn’t blink at the price. One orange juice, two muffins, and a cookie set me back twenty-seven dollars. AND THE JUICE WAS TERRIBLE. Truly, hell on earth is sitting in a hot van with bad food.
Finally, FINALLY, traffic inched forward, and we could walk into the town. Everything was overpriced, but at that point, Jeremy and I didn’t care. We would’ve paid in blood to have a cold drink, and we almost did. FOURTEEN DOLLARS for a glass of soda? I’m swallowing my pride along with my pop, at that price! We found a restaurant patio, tied Teddy beside us, and sat down for our first meal of the day.
The hours drifted by, and the temperature remained high. Teddy cooled off in the town’s fountain while I watched jealously. Eventually, the ferry appeared, and our odyssey was at an end. We’d arrived at the terminal at ten that morning, and we boarded the boat at SIX THAT NIGHT. Even with the patience of a SAINT, you would’ve been ticked off. I am wildly impatient, and I practically ripped my skin off, I was so frustrated. As we pulled away from the mainland and headed home, I had one thought and one thought only: next time we go to the city, I’LL SWIM INSTEAD!