The Road Trip

Took a road trip to Washington DC with two friends over Memorial Day weekend. We left on Friday and returned Tuesday. I planned on using a personal day to cover Tuesday, but my supervisor denied the request. Supposedly the rules state that employees are not allowed to take a personal day before or after a holiday.

personal day

“Why don’t you take a sick day?” asked one of my co-workers.

“I used them all up on the tonsillectomy.”


If I had known this personal day holiday rule, I would have used my personal days while I was recovering from surgery and kept my sick days. My reasoning for keeping the personal days was that I thought a personal day held more weight. To me a personal day is a day an employee is allowed to take off without any restrictions and/or questioning as to why they need off. But no. It’s actually a day off pending there are no holidays (at least for me).


In order to get Tuesday off, my only option was to take a dock day (day with no pay). I wasn’t too thrilled about this, but the idea of driving back to Illinois from Washington DC on Monday and going to work on Tuesday wasn’t something I wanted to do.


After work on Friday, I drive to Chicago to pick up my two friends. One of them is late. I want to call him to see where he is, but my other friend informed me earlier this morning that he lost his phone the previous night on account of being wasted. This angers me. It has been angering me all day. Mixing together with my personal day issue into a nice angry stew that burns the crap out of my mouth and tastes like complete shit.


I look out the car window again and again. And again. Each time hoping to see my absent friend. I think of his excuses. This happened or that. I don’t care! All I care about is that I am illegally parked in downtown Chicago smack dab in front of Groupon–the piece of shit company that refused to hire me on numerous occasions while everyone else around me was getting interviews and being hired by them and even when I applied to their $10/hour data entry job didn’t even get an interview so fuck them and fuck their hip/young culture and endless vacation days and free employee soft drinks and DEALS or whatever the hell they call them with those write-ups that aren’t even FUCKING funny or humorous or whatever they claim to be and now I will end this pathetic rant about a job that I don’t care much about but have this hostility towards because I feel like I’ve been rejected by their little club again and again and like most people I don’t like rejection and don’t know exactly how to deal with it but for some reason saying Groupon is a piece of shit company that I hope goes bankrupt makes me feel better even though I don’t really wish all the horrible things I say to actually happen and now it’s definitely time to stop this before people stop reading on account that I have mental issues but as one of my writing teachers said after informing her that Groupon denied my initial application:

groupoffTwenty or so minutes later my friend arrives. He explains why he is late, but at this point my thoughts of killing him have turned off my eardrums. We drive. It takes almost 45 minutes to get out of Chicago. I do my best not to think about anything even though I want to think about everything. My eyes stare at the road until I detach from myself and find a calm.


The car ride conversations center around what’s going on in our lives. We talk about work, relationships, and other things such as music, movies, and butt plugs. There is a giant moon ahead of us. I ask them if they think we will pass it. They laugh and call me an idiot. I try to explain what I meant to say but eventually give up and admit that it was a dumb comment.


We stop just west of Pittsburgh and stay at a $75/night Red Roof Inn. My mind is happy with this. $25/person is not bad. Tonight is a victory in my mind. We watch TV and go to sleep.


The next morning we wake up early and drive into Pittsburgh for breakfast. I ask my friend (who has a phone) to find a restaurant that was on the television show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. He finds this place called Pamela’s Diner. We arrive and park in a metered zone. Neither of my two friends offer any money towards the meter which makes me want to abandon them and drive home. I grab some quarters from my car and drop them into the machine.

coinIf things couldn’t get any worse, I quickly learn after browsing the menu that the restaurant is CASH ONLY.

“Do you guys have cash?” I ask even though I already know the answer.



Since I am the only person alive who seems to carry cash anymore, they suggest that I pay.

“We’ll get you back,” they assure me.

I am not happy. I don’t like lending people money or paying for people or any of that stuff. I always end up getting screwed. One time in college I was in charge of picking up Taco Bell. I don’t even think I was eating but was somehow chosen to go. After writing down everyone’s order and collecting all the money and being convinced that the amount was correct, I got in my car in left. Sure enough I was short money and ended up having to pay the extra out of pocket. When I returned, I freaked out and ever since then people think I’m cheap.

“Move,” says my phone-less friend. “I’ll go to the ATM.”

“It’s fine,” I say. “I got it.”


Back on the road, I am worried about how much tolls are going to be, and if the I-PASS really works for the E-ZPASS tollbooths located throughout Pennsylvania. My friend looks it up on his iPhone and reassures me that it does which calms me down until a short while later when my I-PASS doesn’t light up the THANK YOU light at one of the tolls. There is a car behind me, so I drive through and pull off to the shoulder. While writing down the Pennsylvania toll road number I rant on and on about how I knew this would happen. My friends tell me that it will be fine and how when the E-ZPASS representatives see that I have an I-PASS the amount will be deducted no problem. I am going to get a ticket. I know it. I want to drive into oncoming traffic.


Once we arrive in Washington DC, I make a pact with myself not to talk or think too much. I keep my cool when paying $14 for a daily train pass and do my best to enjoy the sights. We walk around the city and visit The George Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, White House, Smithsonian, Arlington Cemetery, Pentagon, Capitol Hill, Supreme Court, and Library of Congress. At night we go to dinner and out drinking. Being drunk makes me temporarily forget about the personal day and late friend and parking meter and breakfast bill and tolls and I-PASS not working and gas and $14 train pass and everything else that has caused my mind to freak out on this trip, but as soon as the drunk wears off, things again start to become too much and after spending two days in DC, we leave and make one last stop in Pittsburgh where my two friends and I come to the realization that we won’t be traveling together anymore. They are in a different mindset than me and our financials are so far off as I am basically poor and they are basically rich that I can’t keep up with their carefree money ways and happy mindset. My lack of money mixed with my questioning and worrying and negative outlook makes them annoyed which makes me feel like an extremely bitter and down person but I don’t feel THAT angry or depressed but more of a person who enjoys discussing more of the negative things in life and examining people’s motives and questioning and complaining but spending time with people who don’t feel like being around that or having those sorts of discussions is rough and makes you feel like you’re way too much to handle. So it’s almost like my friends aren’t even my friends anymore because they have these different jobs and lives and outlooks but maybe it’s me that’s changed into someone who can’t get a grip on life and reality and has these personality problems that restricts me from letting go and living in the moment and just as my interpretation of my personal days was wrong maybe my interpretations of my friendships are wrong as well and what I expect from my friends is something completely different than what they’re capable of offering and I no longer know them and they no longer know me or maybe we know and understand each other just fine and the definitions of who we’ve become are so clear now that it’s literally making us sick.


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