Opinion: Flush with low expectations

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As many of you know, I’ve been spending this already difficult summer in Kentucky helping to care for my father who has terminal cancer. The other night as my mom and I were preparing for bed after a particularly exhausting evening, she commented, “If nothing else, this certainly is a journey.” I immediately replied, “Yeah, if that journey is a cross-country road trip and every day is a questionable gas station bathroom!” How’s that for on-the-fly metaphors?

And the more I thought about it, the more brilliant I realized my observation was. Interstates, highways, back roads – wherever your vacation is taking you, the unpredictability of potty stops is a major factor of the driving experience. I know my family isn’t alone in attempting to predict cleanliness and accessibility based on things like storefront displays, parking lot conditions and which, if any, fast-food chain is sharing the building. Then we delight in ranking the facility, incorporating the combined men’s and women’s score into the ever-expanding overall Best-to-Worst list. I’ve even written articles about this (anyone recall the Wilson I-70 Adventure of 2010? An unpretentious Kansas Conoco stole our hearts!).

My point is that, during this topsy-turvy year of COVID-19, protests, election shenanigans, and for me, a dying parent, each day is a crapshoot. Will I be pleasantly surprised with air fresheners and silk flowers and urine-free floors? Or, will even my low expectations be surpassed with no toilet paper, unidentifiable wall stains and a rotting mackerel stink that makes me gag on my beer nuts?

Either way, I suppose I’m making memories. And isn’t that what journeys are all about? Peace out.


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