My boyfriend Tom, my Rottweiler/Pit Bull dog Ginger, and I were on our first road trip from Sacramento, California, to Greenwood, Mississippi. One of the states we had to drive through was Texas.
Late one afternoon, Tom and I parked our F-150 Ford pickup at a restaurant. I hooked up Ginger’s leash and fastened her to the bumper of the truck. I put a bowl of water near her. Tom and I were hungry, and we were hot and tired from driving all day long. I hobbled up the wheelchair ramp on crutches because a few days earlier, Tom had run over me and broken my foot. (Curious? Check out the short story "The Agony of de Feet". It’ll give you all the gory details!) We looked forward to a relaxing meal after a hard day of traveling.
The food was a refreshing break from the taste of Texas dust. We came out of the restaurant after our meal to find Ginger licking her lips, gazing longingly into a disposable plastic bowl that had been placed in front of her while Tom and I were in the restaurant. A spoonful of the meal sat on the bottom of the bowl, still begging to be eaten.
"Oh, great!" I commented. Some Bozo had fed my dog chili! No wonder the water in her bowl was gone! I didn’t know what kind of chili it was: four-alarm, three- alarm, two-alarm, one-alarm, or false alarm. By about half an hour after we got back on the road, I knew it had been "four alarm" chili. Ginger’s well-intentioned benefactor had inadvertently given her a DEADLY case of gas, and I had the joy of sitting next to my dog for the next hour as we tried without success to find a motel with a vacancy.
I would roll up my window to avoid mosquitoes. Ginger would tear one loose, and I’d have to hastily roll the window back DOWN for air. I’ve had a lifelong addiction to oxygen, but my DOG was the one who needed to be de-toxed. I would glance sideways at her when she'd let one, and was appalled to find a look of exquisite satisfaction on her brindle-colored face. The air around me would slowly turn green. I’d try to push her away from me, but only succeeded in pushing her closer to my husband, who was doing the driving! Over and over, my dog enjoyed that bowl of four-alarm chili. Over and over, I neared the point of suffocation and prayed for a motel with a vacancy. There was none to be found. We were stranded in Paris, driving around in an eight-cylinder gas chamber.
Tom grew tired and badly needed rest. I sat next to my gassy Pit Bull and badly needed air! Where in the world were we going to spend the night?
Finally, Tom decided to take a long shot and pulled into a filling station with a large parking lot. The manager was very kind after he heard the details of our situation. He graciously allowed us to park on the other side of the lot and sleep until we could be on our way the next morning. It wasn’t a motel room, but at least we had a place to park.
Tom is able to sleep sitting up. I usually can’t, so I used his leg as a pillow. I kept the temporary cast on my leg so that Ginger could rest her head on it. I was ALMOST asleep when Ginger let one rip again! She had so much gas, I just knew that if she had stepped outfor a walk,Arabs would have beenfollowing her. Between Tom’s snoring and Ginger’s explosive revelations, I couldn’t sleep.
I sat up and rolled the window down to let air into the cab. As soon as I did, the mosquitoes invited themselves to dine on my arms, legs, and face. Ginger slept peacefully in a self-renewing cloud of methane, no doubt dreaming about dog-paddling through a river of hot, four-alarm chili.
Finally, I could stand it no longer. I shook my boyfriend awake.
"Tom!" I whispered. He stopped snoring long enough to answer me.
"What?" he enquired.
"I’m going to tie Ginger to the bumper," I informed him.
"Okay," he acquiesced. "Be careful."
I woke up my 85-pound gas factory, wondering what effect she would have on the greenhouse emmissions here in Texas. She let me tie her to the bumper. Now she could let ‘em rip and it wouldn’t bother me at all!
I climbed back into the cab and rolled up the window. I reached briefly into my nearby purse and sprayed a small amount of air freshener into the immediate atmosphere. Finally, I had what I needed: oxygen, protection from mosquitoes, and quiet. Well, almost quiet. Tom still snored loudly enough to wake the dead!
If anyone ever tells you about the joys of visiting Paris, take my advice: be a little skeptical. In MY experience, Paris was extremely overrated!
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