Being from Chicago, you either take your driving seriously or you get out of our way. Disgruntled by hours of rush hour traffic, riddled by a mess of orange cones, barriers, and detour signs, foot on the gas ready to roll the instant the light turns green, horn happy, road enraged, over the speed limit, illegal lane changing. That’s how we drive.
And driving around Portland was enough to make any Chicago driver lose some steam. I believe Sally described it best on Saturday night when she captured the problem around Portland – ”they drive the speed limit.” Yes, yes, that’s it! Don’t they know that the speed limit signs are really just permission to drive 5 over? 10 if you’re on the highway?
It was no surprise, then, that on Sunday afternoon Chris was on the borderline of boiling madness after driving back and forth to the race site this weekend, repeated trips to coffee shops, grocery stores, and other things you need to do when traveling with two women around Portland.
We were on the expressway heading towards the Portland airport when Chris was trying to change lanes. The person occupying the lane was doing the classic hover – not speeding up, not dropping back. Dangling dangerously in our blind spot without making a move. This frustrated Chris to no end. He needed to get over and get over now but this person was not helping.
“These people drive like clown shit,” he said looking over his shoulder for the tenth time trying to get into the lane.
That was it. In an instant, I was laughing uncontrollably, and then I began crying. I looked over to see Chris’ face bright red and tears also welling in his eyes.
I could barely get enough breath to choke out a few words. “Clown shit?” I asked after three repeated tries where I couldn’t put the two words together without exploding in giggles again. My face was bright red.
He confirmed, “Clown shit.” At this point I had no idea how he was still steering the car.
To hear the word clown out of Chris' mouth is no surprise. Lately, he has a thing about clowns. The word "clown" paired with any other non-related words seems to be his insult du jour. For awhile, it was clown shoe. To be called a clown shoe is worse than being called a clown. Think about it. First of all, only clowns can wear clown shoes. And the shoe itself is useless. You cannot walk in a clown shoe. They're too big.
But clown shit - this is a new one and this might be worse than clown shoe or even just clown. So I had to know more.
“What exactly does clown shit look like?” I asked. Really, I was dying to know. I mean, it’s not often you hear someone throw an insult like clown shit around so I was wondering what popped into someone’s mind when hearing that.
“Oh you know,” he began….I could tell this was going somewhere good…..“bits of red hair from a bozo wig and one of those paper party horns,” he said choking back laughter but saying the sentence so smoothly it was like he had been thinking about this for some time.
I didn’t even get into asking why a clown was swallowing its own hair or how it also swallowed a party horn - guess that's just one of the job hazards of being a clown - somehow the description just seemed to fit.
But still I had a question.
I guess I figured a party horn made sense, it would be indigestible. Especially the plastic cap on the end. But the bozo hair? Now that one threw me for a loop. I imagine we’ve all eaten hair from time to time and I’m sure it passes right through. So I asked the question that still lingered inside of me.
“Do you really think clown hair is indigestible?”
With that, we both exploded in laughter again, Chris may have drooled on himself, I may or may not have started to pee my pants, and we finally changed lanes.
Here we are at Mt. Hood......