Day 1: “Now let us never speak of the shortcut again."
It took approximately 15 minutes into our Hawaiian vacation before I turned into Clark Griswold. I stood in the car rental line, slick from the humidity with the purple petals from a flower lei pasted to the back of my neck. On the counter, a Garmin GPS system was beckoning me...no, daring me. An extra 50 bones and it was soon mounted on the dash of the sweet rental car (no wait, it was a Chevy, not so sweet). It was an insurance policy that guaranteed we would never get lost on the island.
In what has become her signature move, WonderWife™ rolled her eyes when she saw it. I programmed it to speak in a voice called “Karen”, a saucy girl with an Australian accent who was oddly seductive for a computer.
“Make a left in 200 feet,” Karen prompted.
“Sure thing baby,” I replied.
“Oh this isn’t going to do.” WW™ said. Karen and WW’s™ relationship was off to a rocky start.
You have to understand that WW™ loves maps. She’s like Magellan with a map. So she wasn't thrilled that instead of a map, we had some gadget that the Bean called “the little TV”. But WW™ kept her opinions in check and we were on our way. Karen soon led us up a windy, fog covered road that made Lombard Street look like the 10 freeway. WW™ and curvy roads get along like WW™ and Karen. I could sense some tension coming from my wife.
An hour later Karen told us that our destination was in 500 feet, but there wasn’t anything remotely close to a hotel anywhere in eyesight, nor had there been the whole way up. Karen had taken us to the crater in the middle of the island.
Now I’m not going to say it’s my fault that Karen was incorrectly programmed. After all, the woman behind the counter of the rental car place had also touched a few buttons on the GPS screen. If our court systems demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt for somebody to be declared guilty, I think I deserve the same.
WW™ ripped the GPS from the dashboard, bolted out of the car, opened the trunk and started digging through the suitcases for the guidebook. She quickly determined that we had two options to get to the hotel: one was to keep driving forward until we hit an unpaved road not suited for automobiles or we could turn around and crawl back down the twisty road with the zero visibility.
It was right at this moment when the kids lost their shit.
I drove back down sitting next to a seething wife, listening to the tortured screams of a baby girl, and a boy who, after sitting on a plane for nearly 6 hours and in the car for another hour on top of that, was making it well known that he wanted out of the car.
As we pulled into the road of our hotel an hour and a half later, I made sure to put on my cheeriest grin and shout, “Look everyone, we’re here!” And with that, our vacation had officially begun.