This one started out finer than usual, which should have been an omen of the crapitude to come. We got a good start out of the hotel, ate a mildly healthy breakfast for once, and hopped into the car for destinations unknown. I say unknown because my sister, Lisa, had no idea that I was driving her to Wakita, Oklahoma. Because Wakita, as we all know, is the filming location for the movie Twister, the movie that she happened to be obsessed with from age 10 to, oh, I don’t know, present.
Wakita is a tiny, tiny town that consists of the following businesses, as far as I could tell: a general store, a post office, a bar, an insurance office, a senior center, a place to eat called the Twister Cafe, and the Twister Movie Museum, which was the main reason for my wanting to go there.
Naturally, the Twister Movie Museum was closed.
This, despite me checking the hours ahead of time to make sure it would be open. So all we could do was peek in the window to get a good look at Dorothy the tornado robot.
Behold the crushing disappointment!
But things only got worse from there. For one, it started raining. Then I decided, in a moment of temporary insanity, to take the dirt road out of town, rather than the paved one that we came in on. Let me tell you something in case you have never been to Wakita, Oklahoma: the dirt there isn’t so much dirt as a sort of red clay that turns into a veritable pottery class when it gets wet. And so what followed was this saga, which I will now present in five acts.
THE GREAT OKLAHOMA MUD INCIDENT
Act I: We pull onto good old N2680 Road.
Me (driving): Well, this doesn’t feel right at all.
Lisa: It’s fine. Just a little bumpy.
Me: I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to go off-roading in a Chevy Aveo. It was…not built for this.
Lisa: It’s fine.
Me (looking in the rearview mirrors): Look at those chunks of mud flying around! That shit ain’t right!
Lisa: Calm down. We’re fine.
Me: Four more miles of this?? *BUMP* *SWERVE* *UNPRINTABLE SWEAR WORD*
Lisa: WE. ARE. FINE.
Me (as we fishtail about): AHHHH!
Act II: We arrive back at the main road.
Me: GET OUT AND CHECK THE CAR.
Lisa (getting out, doing a once-over): It’s fine, just insanely dirty. I told you.
Me (relaxing the iron grip on the wheel, blood returning back to my knuckles): Okay. Okay.
We pull back onto the highway.
Me: Um… (strangling the wheel once again) Did the car vibrate this much before? I think it did. It did, right?
Lisa: It did not.
Me: So that means…
Lisa: We probably popped a tire.
Act III: We stop at a gas station.
Me (getting out to look at the car): GOOD GOD.
Lisa (quickly, before I can grab a passing trucker and demand that he fix the situation and I will pay him in any way he desires. Any way.): The tires are fine! The tires are fine.
Me: THEN WHAT IS MAKING IT SO VIBRATE-Y? IT FEELS LIKE A MASSAGE CHAIR AT BROOKSTONE! *starts kicking basketball-sized chunks of dirt off the tires* WHY! MUST! YOU! SUCK!
Lisa: I don’t know what’s going on. We should probably get it looked at.
Me: LET US REGROUP AT SONIC.
Act IV: At Sonic.
Me: Chicken fingers come with gravy here? What a magical place.
Lisa: Um, the car?
Me: Right, right. (calls husband Will) Will! We drove on a dirt road that we had no business driving on and now the car is all shaky and broken! And I can’t take it to the rental place to get fixed because they’ll see it’s our fault because it looks like we drove through a monster truck rally! (gets out of car, starts kicking yet more mud off tires, all while an orange-haired Sonic server rollerskates circles around me, turning the whole debacle into some absurdist fever dream) And I don’t have enough money to fix it anyway! We are so screwed!
Will: Who is this?
Me: WILLIAM. FOCUS.
Will: The wheels probably need to be realigned. Just take it to a repair shop and see what they say.
Act V: En route to the repair shop.
Me (driving): Uh…clearly I’ve lost my mind here, but I feel like it isn’t shaking anymore.
Lisa (equally confused): It’s not.
Me: Wait, wait, wait. Am I really to believe that our catastrophic car problems were solved by a quick trip to Sonic, Will’s soothing, apathetic tones, and a magical roller-skating ginger?
Lisa: Guess so.
And thus ended the great cataclysm, although for the rest of the day massive chunks of clay kept flying off the back of the car in a truly spectacular fashion. So there we went, a hazard to everyone on the road as we explosive diarrhea-ed all the way through the rest of Oklahoma.
Not knowing what else to do, we ended up stopping for the night near a cool-looking casino:
…wherein we rewarded ourselves for staying perfectly calm in the face of adversity with some dumptruck-sized buffet dinners. Then I found this breathtaking slot machine, and all was right with the world again.
Signed books left in my wake at:
Barnes and Noble, Tulsa, OK: 5231 East 41st Street