Tales from the Road: Catfish, Carsick, & WOW Is It Hot...

What's a friendly family road trip without a little vomit? Or a fishing trip without getting a fish snared on your shoe? Not one of mine, thank you.... Anyone else live this way? Anyone?

Last week, our 4th plans included a short vacay to Florida to spend time with friends. Because I’m completely neurotic, planning a trip to, well, anywhere, induces massive amount of anxiety. Getting in the car or on the plane is fine—it’s the lead-up that puts me around the bend. However, my ridiculous neuroses are not on the menu for this post. What I’d like to tell you about is the black cloud of weird shit that follows me around. This trip is the best example I can give you.


We planned to leave early Thursday AM to hopefully avoid the worst of the traffic on I-95. Wednesday night, I got a stomach ache, which never happens. I awoke the next morning well before my alarm clock, not because I didn’t feel well, but because I was drenched in sweat. I went fiddle with the thermostat, which was reading at 82 degrees… at 5 AM. The night before, things were at a perfectly comfortable 75. My tinkering resulted in nothing. Lots and lots of nothing. AC had died.


Okay. Not a huge deal (the upside of renting) – let’s just finish packing and get the hell out of here became the new plan. This went okay until the sun came all the way up. And the real sweating started. And then I had to operate on my daughter’s ingrown toenail while sweat was dripping off my nose and running down my back and she was jumping around and DEAR GAWD are we ready yet?! I have never been so glad to get into a vehicle in my entire life.


The trip down was relatively uneventful and later I came to the conclusion that I had no idea what was in my bag because of my haste to escape the sweat box that my house quickly had become, but no matter—we were easy breezy, chilling poolside.  Day two of our time, I decide to throw a line in the water and see what I could catch. True to my redneck roots, I decided a hot dog was good enough bait for me and sure enough, about 10 minutes later, I landed a small catfish.



And then the clear blue sky opened up and rained on me. The rain was super brief, so back to the dock and went to try again.


Lost a couple of hot dog pieces, but five minutes or so into this, damn if I didn’t catch the same fish. I could tell by the bleeding hole in his face from the first time in case you were wondering. Because this one was super hooked, my husband and I had a little difficulty removing the tackle. So I stepped on it. Bear in mind that I am smart enough to have been wearing shoes, yet I did wonder briefly about the pressure point on the bottom of my foot. We finally got the fish off the hook only to realize that he was now stuck to the bottom of my shoe (via his dorsal spike thingy). So now there was a fish, stuck, to, my, shoe. And because it was a catfish, grabbing with my hand was entirely out of the question. So there I was, standing on a dock at an amazing place, next to a gorgeous piece of the Intracoastal Waterway, with a nasty-ass beat-up catfish attached to my flip-flop, shaking my leg trying to make it fall off into the water. Perfect.


As an aside, my good Southern friends may recall Bill Engvall’s routine about the dorkfish. This fool was a dead ringer. Just go YouTube it—it will become perfectly clear. Another aside: we tried multiple times to buy boiled peanuts while in Palm Coast to no avail. Finally caught the peanut guy, got our goodies, and settled in to have a snack. They were terrible. Inedible, really.


The next day was fun—we had an extended manatee sighting, as a group of them lingered near the dock for well over an hour or so. Sunday morning we loaded up and headed home. Things went fine until just past Savannah, where traffic ground to a halt. We both jumped on various social media sites trying to find out what was up, and basically came up with “traffic is bad on 95N”. We proceeded to crawl the stretch of road between Savannah and civilization and then somewhere around Hardeeville, my normally laid-back and easygoing husband lost his mind and started driving like a madman. This, of course, prompted an argument about my side-seat driving and his drive-seat driving that was going nowhere good. I decided to cool my jets and took a sip of water. At the exact same time, my husband said something completely ridiculous/hilarious about a car next to us. The water went everywhere it shouldn’t, places including—but not limited to—my nose, the floor of the truck, my lap, and the dashboard.


The choking then triggered ye olde gag reflex and I puked. In my lap. Twice. After having eaten chocolate and while my daughter shrieked, “EWWW! EW! EW!!!” from the back seat. My husband power slid to a stop on the side of the road, where I jumped out and tried to regain control of my faculties and my stomach.


I realized that I had a dress packed in the top of a bag in the bed of the truck, so I grabbed it and proceeded to flash about a thousand people cruising through lower South Carolina while I tried to change into it without getting vomit onto it from the original clothes. We started off again only to realize that the rear tires of the truck were spinning in the extremely soft shoulder of the road, thanks to the bazillion inches of rain we’ve gotten. Got out of that, stopped for boiled peanuts near Jacksonboro (that were terrible), finally pulled into the driveway, and began unloading the truck.


Pulled out the fishing rods and husband’s is broken. It is six months old and expensive. Mine is 16 years old and was cheap. And not broken.


And this, folks, is why I take pills. This. Right. Here. Anyone else live this way? Wanna form a support group?


Do you have a summer road trip story to share? Of course you do... send it to emcgauley@charlestonmag.com. If it's funny or terrifying or in any way awesome, we'll publish it...


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