Tag Archives: Road Trip

“People are always asking me if I know…Samantha McInnes”

Ever since Sandra Bullock passed her driving test when we were 17, we have been on many a road. From our very first one over the Campsies and up to Stirling Castle in her black mini, there have been unwritten rules of a road trip. These are as follows:

1) The first rule of a road trip is you don’t talk about the road trip! Hang on, that’s the rules to my Fight Club…

2) A good soundtrack. Like a good movie soundtrack, the songs played on a road trip will set the mood for the entire journey. A soundtrack can make or break your 3 hour drive to god-knows-where. Anthems are what are needed, songs to sing to. It is also important to mix up the genres to match the different personalities within your vehicle. What is not appropriate is obscurity, no one wants to sit for three hours listening to album tracks of a band that they don’t know or care about. Some essential tunes always on my road trip playlist are: ‘Free Falling’ by Tom Petty, ‘You Oughta Know’ by Alanis Morrisette, ‘Perfect Gentleman’, Wyclef Jean, ‘9 to 5’, Dolly Parton, ‘Africa’ by Toto and ‘Always’ by Bon Jovi and finally ‘Belle’ from the hit Disney musical ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

3) You must bring munchies! There is nothing worse than having a road trip and dying of starvation before you reach your destination. However, be very aware of how much you drink through out your time in the car. No one wants to stop every 5 minutes for you to pee.

4) YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO FALL ASLEEP. If the driver fell asleep everyone would be dead. Don’t be selfish and fall asleep while they are trying to stay awake.

5) No reading materials. Reading is a solo activity and if you read while driving you are isolating yourself from the Road Trip bonding…and it’s rude.

6) Bring with you topics of conversation to avoid times of awkward silence. Some of my favourites are; who would play you in a film about your life? What is you theme tune to life? And who would you like to be your celebrity granddad?

7) Wear deodorant and do not fart. A car is a confined space and bad smells travel quickly. I carry these rules with me still today.

So when I embarked on a car journey to Manchester for a conference in February, I came prepared. At 6am on Tuesday 8th February Posh Spice, Kylie, Tyra Banks and I embarked on our 3 hour journey to the land of Oasis, The Smiths, Coronation Street and United. As usual I was prepared for the journey ahead. I had one of the best playlists I have ever made to date, munchies in the form of Percy Pigs and I smelt as fresh as a daisy. Now any M.E sufferer knows that a good night sleep is essential to having a good day and so getting up at 5am is not the wisest thing to do, but I thought, ‘I am sitting on my ass most of the time, I will be fine’. By the time we got to Manchester, sitting in a car as small as a dodgem didn’t do my legs any good. In all honesty, does that do any one’s legs any good? They were aching and sore but this was not unusual so I just shrugged it off and attempted to get on with my day.

After lunch we were taken into a cinema hall for a presentation. Through out the day the aches and pains in my legs had started to get a lot worse however it wasn’t until this point that they started to become unbearable. Sitting next to Kylie, I tried my hardest not to show I was in agony. I either didn’t try hard enough or the pain was just too much to handle because straight away Kylie noticed my pain stricken face and attempted to clear some space in an extremely crowded cinema hall to allow me to stretch my legs. After the conference finished the road trip back to Scotland was not the usual pleasant experience. Not even Percy Pigs or singing “Always” at the top of my lungs helped my legs. I naively thought that all I needed was to go home and go to my bed and that by Friday, when I was back at work again, everything would fine.

 

 By the time Friday came I could barely walk. I was however, still determined to get to work even though now looking back I have no idea how was going to stand on my feet for 8 hours serving customers. When Posh Spice came to pick me up, I wasn’t able walk out to the car without her holding onto me and supporting my weight. At least one of us has common sense, as at this point, Posh decided that the only place I would be going was to the hospital. You know the advice that you should always wear matching underwear just in case you are in some kind of accident? Well this is advice I should really have listened to. When you go into hospital reporting numbness, pins and needles, weakness and aches in your legs there are certain tests they have to do to rule out spinal damage. One of these tests is for the doctor to stick their finger up your ass to make sure you still have control of it. So when the doctor said this would be the next test she would be performing my immediate reaction was not, “Oh god I really don’t want a finger up my ass” it was in fact, “This was a really bad day to wear my superman pants!” After running numerous tests the doctor came back and said it’s probably just an M.E flare up and I should just make an appointment with my GP and at that, she left Posh Spice to struggle to get me out of the hospital and get me back to the car by practically carrying me.

The ironic thing is that 2 weeks prior to this I had been watching one of those programmes where people want to move abroad and some blonde women helps them find a job and a house. This particular couple were moving to Spain for a more relaxed pace of life as the wife suffered from M.E and was unable to walk without being aided by a walking stick. I remember so very clearly thinking at this point, “I am so lucky, I may have M.E also but at least I don’t need help to walk”. As soon as we were in the car I phoned to get an appointment with House and was told I would have to wait until Thursday and all they could offer me was a phone appointment even though I stated that I hadn’t been able to walk for almost 3 days now. At this point, I felt totally helpless and I would be in a state of Limbo for the next 6 days…

*Please note all the names of people in my blog have been changed to their celebrity or fictional character counter part to protect their identity. Under no circumstances should this be a reflection of the named celebrity or fictional character.
Title taken from a quote from “Fight Club”
 All content listed through the site is copyrighted. Unauthorised use, duplication or republication may result in legal action

 

“I Dreamed a Dream…”

 

I have always been a terrible driver. From the day my driving instructor, Hugh Grant, handed me my pass certificate and let me go off on my own, to 6 weeks later when I crashed into the back of a car driven by a pregnant women, to the last time I stepped in a car (don’t worry the pregnant women was okay, Demi wasn’t however, as I wrote off her car). There are many reasons why I shouldn’t be allowed on the road, just some of which are; I am too easily distracted, I am not good at judging distances, I can’t reverse park (One time outside Jennifer Garner and Kevin Costner’s flat, I reversed into a lamp post), I care more about what’s on my iPod than what’s on the road and I have a need for speed. Along with my shit driving skills, I also drive incredibly shit cars, (I am no longer allowed to drive Demi’s after the incident with the pregnant women). First there was Marty, the 11 year old Ford Fiesta mentioned in the very first Blog who used to let off a banging noise when you drove him. After Marty was sent to the big scrap yard in the sky came Joni, a 6 year old green Peugeot 206, (named after the great Joni Mitchell as she wrote a song called little green about a daughter she gave up for adoption). Just like the real Joni this car was slightly temperamental. At random intervals her horn would sound for periods lasting about 10 minutes or more; to combat this, I had to shove a bit of cardboard into the steering wheel to wedge it into a position that allowed the horn to be eternally silenced. Unfortunately this also meant that my horn could not be used to warn other drivers of my presence or to beep at Hillary Duff when she drove past in her Daewoo. For some reason, people were always fascinated by this structure upon entering my car, which I preferred to call modern art. She also had issues starting, firstly to do with her battery and once that was fixed, her starter motor stopped working. Meaning, on more than one occasion, my friends or randoms on the street, were called upon to give her a push and get her going again. Oh and her exhaust fell off, TWICE!  This is why I should get to go on Top Gear and get a shot in the reasonably priced car, as Jeremy Clarkson would love to hear this story. In conclusion, me and anything that has wheels on it does not go.

 

When you can only walk to the bottom of your (not so long) street and back, it kind of limits what you can do and where you can go. To enable me to get out and about more, Demi spoke to the legendary House and got me a wheelchair to use. When you used to be fit, healthy and able to walk, having to get pushed about in a wheelchair is soul destroying. It also made me regret every time I ever said, on passing a child in a buggy, “Oh I really wish some one would push me about”. Well Sam in the words of Gabriel, “Dreams can come true” but perhaps you should have been careful what you wished for. But if it meant I could leave my street I and get out and see what the world had to offer outside Moodiesburn, then I was just going to have to suck it up.

 

My first adventure with the chair came when Demi and Posh decided to take a trip to Livingston Designer Outlet to see if Demi could find an outfit for Posh and Jack’s nuptials which were a decade away. We all piled into Demi’s tiny Yaris, me in the front, Demi driving and Posh squashed in the back, up against the wheelchair. Good thing Demi was driving, if it had of been me, we would have been likely to crash and Posh would have succumbed to death by mobility aid. After reaching our destination and releasing Posh from her wheelchair cell, we were ready to hit the shops. Before I go on with this story, there is something I should tell you about Livingston, its right next to Bathgate, the hometown of thee one and only Miss Susan Boyle. Susan is also a regular at the Livingston shopping centre. I know this because my friend Zooey Deschannel used to work in a department store there and regularly told me stories of her visits. Including one where Miss Boyle burped in a staff members face. So I was tres excited at the prospect of perhaps seeing my hospital hair twin.

 

One thing you should all know about Demi is that she is extremely impatient. So having a wheelchair slowing down her normal sprinting walking pace is not ideal. To combat this, her solution was to abandon me and the chair whether it be outside shops, in the middle of walk ways, even in the Marks and Spencers sale and continue shopping. While I struggled to pull myself about using the fixtures and fittings, Demi would be off trying on shoes and rummaging through rails of reduced clothes. But as I already told you, my driving skills are at best, questionable. This lead to me crashing into many displays, pulling down many fixtures and almost taking a few people out. Luckily for me I had Posh. Every time Demi tried to lose me in some obscure corner of a shop, Posh would hear the crashing of clothes rails I had just knocked over, and come to my rescue. After about an hour of this, it was decided that it was probably best if Demi refrained from her pushing duties and Posh took over permanently.

 

Another thing people don’t tell you about being a wheelchair user is that you can’t see shit. I am 5ft 10 and have been since I was about 14, which means I have been used to seeing over everything and everyone. So when you go from that to sitting in a chair unable to see over anything, your day consists of your view being blocked by one fat ass after another. You just need to watch those asses don’t get too close. The last thing you want is a fat ass on your face. I have a friend, Kylie who is probably the smallest person I know. She is so small someone once asked her if she was a dwarf (she isn’t for the record). I once asked Kylie her height and she told me she was 5ft exactly but to be honest with you all I think she is more around the 4ft 11 mark and just tells people she is 5ft to make herself feel better. As I was being pushed around the shops all I could think was, “Bloody hell this must be all that Kylie sees day after day, one obese ass after another”  and for a moment I considered buying her a pair of stilts so she was able to see what it was like to be a giant like me. Unfortunately my bank balance said no.

 

Hours past and with it came no sign of my hair twin Susan. I had admitted defeat in my search for her as we readied ourselves to head back to “MBurn Agro Yas Ya Bas” but in usual Demi style, she wanted to stop at one more shop before our journey home.  Just as Demi walked into yet another shoe shop, my eyes were drawn to the Millie’s Cookie/ Ice Cream stand that protruded out of the shopping centres wall and there, in a Brown Biker Jacket, a pair of caramel Chino’s with wild wind swept hair, was the women I had been looking for all day, buying a double scope chocolate chip ice cream cone.  The excitement took over my body, I was shaking and starting to hyperventilate, it was at this point that Posh realised who I had spotted and drew to a halt (Please note this excitement may be slightly over exaggerated). For a moment there was silence as we tried to take in this epic sight in front of us. Then Posh had an idea! “Sam I think we should wheel on up to her and ask her to sing you a tune to see if it will make you walk again” but I had already thought of something better. Not long before this sighting, Susan Boyle took part in Comic Relief along side Peter Kay’s alter ego Geraldine. Together they recreated the Elaine Page and Barbra Dickenson classic “I know him so well” from the hit musical Chess. So I thought to myself, why don’t Posh and I perform this number for her. For the next 3 minutes, Posh pushed me up and down the walk way, past Millies’s with my arms stretched wide as we both sang “Wasn’t it good? Oh so good! Wasn’t he fine? Oh so Fine. Isn’t it madness he can’t be mine?” Unfortunately our efforts were lost on Susan as she walked on oblivious to our out of this world rendition of a musical classic.

 

The next day Posh read an article in the paper about Miss Boyle and how she had given up Sweets and Chocolate. Hate to tell you Susan but you are doing a crap job of it with your double scope mint CHOCOLATE CHIP ice cream.

 

*Please note all the names of people in my blog have been changed to their celebrity or fictional character counter part to protect their identity. Under no circumstances should this be a reflection of the named celebrity or fictional character.
Title taken from the song “I dreamed a dream” from “Les Miserables”
 All content listed through the site is copyrighted. Unauthorised use, duplication or republication may result in legal action