This time, the mission was simple. Find where the van was parked, retrieve it, pick up the girls.
Although, nothing on this trip had been simple.
Last Christmas, my wife decided to go on a trip to Europe with one of her friends from highschool, her husband, and their three year old. Going into the trip, I knew almost nothing of these people. Looking back, I wish that stayed the same.
The trip was a catastrophe in every way it could possibly be analyzed, from them only wanting to eat frozen meals from the Tesco, to medical crises, to snarky comments about my wife buying gifts for people on the trip, to a psychological assessment of my four-year old son.
A giant mess, and being around them was taxing. But these are all stories for another day.
Today’s story has to do with a castle. Castles, generally, had towns built up around them because all the serfs were needed to serve the lord’s needs and whims. On this particular day, we go to a castle in a town that is about the size of a random college town. And as isolated from everything else. On the way up, we couldnt find a place to park. The castle was on the top of this hill and the town was clearly never designed to have hundreds of tourists trying to go see it. After the third trip around the entire town trying to find a place to park, I had to piss like a race horse, so I had the crew drop me off. I would catch up just fine.
They had found a random place to park, so they met me up the castle. The castle itself was kind of lame. The historical society basically took everything that was relevant or of historical import, moved it to museums in other towns, and attempted to redecorate the castle to how it looked in the Art of Courtly Love era. Complete with actors in every room completely in character. Role playing. It made for an exceptionally lame experience, where the castle felt like Disney World instead of being a place of history.
After we toured the monstrosity, we were on our way out, but the rain was coming in. My wife and her friend wanted to keep shopping, and she would take her kid with her, so I would go with her husband and my son to find the car. Pull it around. pick them up. Easy as pie……
But no, it was not.
We start on our journey down the mountain just as the rain started to come in. First a light mist, then a downpour. Then a light mist. So on and so forth.
My son and I were geared up for this. We had rain proof jackets, in addition to a layer underneath. My wife’s friend’s husband, who we will refer to for the rest of this story as Dolt, was wearing shorts, a black t-shirt, a weird sleeve cut-off fleece vest, and a baseball hat. At 6’5′, Dolt stood out in a crowd, so at least we could see him through the rain.
We traversed the first few blocks with no problem. At every intersection, Dolt would look left, he would look right, stop and think for a minute, then keep on going. I went on the assumption he knew where he was headed. He was there when they parked the car after all, surely he had an intersection or a street in mind.
After about ten minutes of walking, the city started to go back up hill a little bit. My son started tiring. He would slow down a bit, but he didnt complain. Kept on trucking. I asked Dolt, “How much further is it man?” He would say, “Oh….its around….” in kind of an aimless fashion.
Then the real weather hit. Pouring down rain. Did I mention it was like 58-ish degrees. So it was cold and wet. After about 30 minutes we made it to the middle of town. Dolt stopped dead in his tracks. As the rain came down he declared. “This isn’t where we need to be.”
I said, “What the hell man? Why did we come down here?” He said, “Oh! Oh! I don’t actually know where the car is. I figured we would wander along and find it. I got lost in the walk. Let me see…..” He then ran to a slight alcove, big enough just for his meat-head, and started diddling on his phone. Leaving my four-year-old son and me in the cold rain.
I am furious. I start screaming at him “WHAT THE FUCK MAN. THIS ISN’T PLEASENT. FIND THE MOTHERFUCKING CAR.” Dolt chuckled and replied, “We will find it.”
At this point, my son pulls on my arm. I go down to his level, he is shivvering and looks at me a little teary. “Daddy, my legs hurt. I’m tired, daddy. I want to go home.” I said, “Little man, you got to be tough like those knights in the castle. We will make it, I promise you. Ok.” My son nodded.
I am beyond furious at this point. You know that scene in Lord of the Rings where Saurman is summoning the mountain on top of the fellowship. Thats where I was. I was summoning all the doom I could on Dolt. He shoved my son and I in this cold, wet, hilly madness for what, shits and giggles?
Meanwhile, while I was still fuming I stood up and looked back where we travelled, and I see Dolt. Without telling us a goddamn thing, Dolt started walking back up hill. My son and I followed after, with me fuming the whole way. 20 more minutes of backtracking through pour down rain, we come upon the car, in the next alley over from the castle. Dolt declares, “Yep, we were going to find it.”
I shout, “ARE YOU TELLING ME YOU JUST NEEDED TO MAKE A LEFT LEAVING THE CASTLE AND IT WAS RIGHT THERE!” Dolt chuckles and shrugs, “It happens.”
I tend to my son, get him secure and dry. Get the coats off of him, then I turn to Dolt. “Get us out of this godforsaken place.” Dolt chuckles, “Ok….”
There is more stupidity that happened on the trip, but that was the point of no return. I am done with Dolt and his wife after that. Any one who would put my son in a bad situation like that, I am done with. He is a damn fool, and I am out. Like a dealer in vegas.
The moral of this story: Never go on trips with friends. You are different people, and your differences will be magnified.