So my wife has some medical issues that she has been dealing with for a little while. Fortunately we have pretty decent health insurance and this has been a benefit because we have gotten into a situation where my wife’s health problem hasn’t been very easy to figure out.
We’ve since figured most of it out and in the process found out that all of the doctors we visited were right, despite having differing diagnosis. And subsequently, all of them were equally wrong as well. Funny. Not “Funny Ha-Ha”, more like “Funny, This Should Be Illegal.”
Part of finding this information out was that my wife had to have an Endoscopy. If you are unfamiliar with the procedure, it is basically where they drug you up, lay you on your side, then slide a very small camera down your throat to look into your stomach and intestines. Pretty easy right? Well, all except for the part about not being able to eat for half the day prior to the procedure. And when you do that procedure at two in the afternoon, that pretty much cuts out any meals after last night’s dinner.
So my wife is awake and she seems somewhat lucid, though the doctors remind me that she may get dizzy from time to time as the drug wears off. No worries I say to myself as I walk with her arm in my arm through the hospital. Sure, she’s a bit disheveled, but she doesn’t seem to be concerned about that (which should have been a clue right there..)
As we pass the cafeteria, I ask my wife if she’s hungry. My wife gives me the answer, “I’m just a little hungry.”, which in the past meant that she could wait a little bit before she really needed to eat. Being the dutiful husband I try to be, I decided that we’ll skip the hospital food and try to find a nicer place.. a place with much better food. So we continue to the car and leave the hospital.
Did I mention that it is 6pm on a Wednesday? No?
How about the fact that the hospital was in downtown Seattle? I missed saying that, didn’t I?
Now you see the flaw in my logic. I’m not a bad city driver, and I am certainly better than most Seattle drivers as most Seattle drivers think that speed limits posted on all two lane roads are 10-20 mph too fast. That is until there is a passing lane whereupon they will easily do 90+mph to make sure you don’t pass them (it has happened to me far too often for me not to believe that it isn’t taught as part of their curriculum). However, at 6pm you don’t have a lot of wiggle room to get into the lanes you need to get out of Seattle. It took me two tries and some impressive sign language skills to finally get myself on the interstate going East.
The traffic, however, is still pretty bad and as I dodge drivers who are driving badly while illegally discussing their daily events on the iPhones and who are putting all their effort in driving in my blind spot, I only viscerally notice that my wife’s mood is getting more and more sour.
Out of the blue she pipes up,”I’m sick. I get sick when I’m hungry!” Her face is suddenly a cross between bitter rage and a pout. It’s not cute and it is the first time I actually understand that I am in big trouble while doing 35mph on a 70mph highway in bumper to bumper traffic. I ask her what she would like to eat. She responds in an angry pout, “I don’t know?!” Sensing that I am not doing well at all, I notice that there is an exit for the carpool lane, which we can move into. Traffic suddenly speeds up, and I look to my left, then to my right, then back to my left to turn..
And I miss it. About fifty feet after the missed exit, traffic slows down to ten miles per hour as we go into one of Seattle’s many tunnels.
We emerge from the tunnel about five minutes later, still going an astounding 10mph. I notice the carpool lane as cars zip by at 60 to 70mph and disappear up the road in the same amount of time it takes for me to sigh. I’ve stopped talking to my wife because the response I usually get is just an “I don’t know.”, or a glare given to me in the same manner as when a little kid pouts when she doesn’t get a toy.
We keep moving slowly over the bridge and into another tunnel when traffic starts to pick up. Soon we’re doing 35 then 70 and I notice that quite a few people are exiting off a ramp and it looks like there might be some restaurants in the area. So I make my way and take the off-ramp, somewhat relieved that we might finally find a place to eat. My expectation is heightened when I see, from the overpass, that there is a “Subway” nearby.
I ask my wife, “Do you want eat at Subway?”
Her reply comes back, “Noo.. “ The way she says it sounds like “Nooo-wa”, with a little tear at the end. So I drive on thinking that, with all this traffic, I should soon be able to find a restaurant to my wife’s liking soon…
…forgetting that I am driving in Seattle.
See, Seattle has some crazy driving dynamics to it. One of those dynamics is that, just because a lot of traffic going through some areas.. doesn’t really mean that someone has put up anything useful, such as a restaurant. Sure enough, I follow traffic on the road, drop into a residential area where there were zero restaurants. Block after block of schools, churches, parks, houses…But no restaurants.
So I have to turn around. In rush hour traffic.
Making my way back to the interstate, I notice a small turn off going towards the “Subway” joint I saw earlier. I take it in desperation because my wife is really “unhappy” at this point. I use the term “unhappy” in the same way that getting shot is “uncomfortable”.
Now the turn lane that I take, while looking completely legitimate, turns out to drop me into a Volkswagon dealership instead of a normal road. However, at this point, my stress aura levels were such that every salesman inherently felt that it would be a bad idea to be in the car lot right about then and specifically anywhere near a blue SUV. While I am driving through the car lot, I see a Dairy Queen. I ask my wife if she wants to stop there. Another “no.” I see a Teriaki place, and a classic American Style joint. “No.” again to both of those.
My own personal desperation and frustration levels are nearing an all time high when I hear my wife say, “Let’s go to that Chinese restaurant.” Sure enough, in between rows of cars and buildings I see the letters “ESE” written in the “American Standard Asian Lettering Specific to Chinese Restaurants” font. Her comment is followed shortly by, “I think I am going to throw up.”
Quickly, while endeavoring to follow at least one traffic law, I cut into traffic, pass through an intersection, and stop in front of the restaurant. My wife promptly exits the car, runs behind it, and pukes. Talk about good timing.
Fortunately, the amount that comes up is tiny because she hasn’t had anything to eat. So, I take my wife’s arm and walk her into the restaurant. We get seated fairly quickly as there is no one in the restaurant. We’re sitting down when the waiter comes up and starts to talk to us about what to order. I say “starts” because he doesn’t actually finish. My wife is clearly not feeling her best right now and the waiter isn’t sure if I just finished beating her or if she is just some scary American hick from the sticks.
Our waiter at least gives us some glasses of water and I quickly order a couple of appetizers. Apparently he now sees the desperation in my eyes. He leaves and starts yelling at the cook in the back. I don’t know Chinese but it sounded desperate and panicky, so I thought I had conveyed my situation accurately. My wife then states that she had puke in her hair. She doesn’t try to wash it out. Within about five minutes my wife has her first food of the day with BBQ Pork and Crab Rangoons. The waiter swiftly takes our meal order and, seeing that the world is still not right, proceeds to again yell at the cook.
Now BBQ Pork is one of my favorite dishes, but on that day I feared for my hand each time I reached for a piece. I think I had only a third of the dish before my famished wife devoured the rest. She had also eaten three of the four Crab Rangoons that the waiter had brought. As she finished the third one, she looked me straight in the eye, in a way that was reminiscent of the standoff at the OK corral, and said, “You better have one of those Rangoons. They are really good and if you don’t eat it, I will.”
Meekly, and with some fear for my life, I picked up the remaining Rangoon and ate it. Sure enough, she was right. One of the best Rangoons I ever had. It didn’t help, however, that she was watching me eat every, single, bite.
The strange and eerie standoff was thankfully broken when our main course was delivered. My wife’s mood slowly starts to change as she eats. She even asks how my food is, which was pleasantly spicy, and she did it while not looking like something out of the movie, “Kill Bill, Vol. 2”. I did halfway expect the Five-Finger Heart Exploding Death Punch though (that is why I was thankful for the wide tables). I eventually felt safe enough to ask her if this was what she wanted, whereupon she states: “Yes, this has all the flavors. I needed to have all the flavors.”
Yes, you heard correctly, apparently Chinese food has ALL of the flavors.
The rest of the meal went on uneventfully as my wife’s normally good humor returned albeit still somewhat drugged. We left and got her some of the over the counter medicine that the doctor told us to get and soon we were once again on our way east, back to home.
We drive through the curves going up through Snoqualmie pass without incident, stopping for gas on the way. We head over the pass back down onto the plains and everything goes along merrily as my lovely wife leans back and goes to sleep. The drive was quiet and uneventful.
Until my wife yells at the top of her lungs, “WATCH OUT!!” and hits me. I frantically look in every direction for whatever is coming at us, slowing down the SUV, checking every mirror, looking over my shoulders…
And see my wife sleeping soundly in her seat. “What the he..?, is all I could say.
I calm down a bit and continue to drive on the interstate as we go by the town of Ellensburg. Ellensburg is interesting because the interstate skirts around the town before heading off to Spokane, allowing you to have a scenic view of.. well.. truck stops and fast food restaurants. There isn’t a whole lot to see really.
And as such I quietly enjoy passing the town, thinking to myself how close to home we are, and driving on a nice straightaway when I get hit hard by my wife who again yells out “WATCH OUT!” Having seen accidents on this particular stretch of road, and knowing that local cows sometimes get out, my mind goes into overdrive. My eyes scan the road as I slow down and look for whatever my now snoring wife… yes, she is snoring.
Then she hits me again screaming “WATCH OUT!”, causing me to swerve the car.
I spend the rest of the drive hunched up near the door, driving slowly home muttering, “Dizzy? This is what they call “Dizzy”?!