A million-dollar inspiration hit me after spending a week in the car driving across this great land of ours with Sue.
My idea would be a new variation on the GPS navigation systems in cars now. Instead of the voice coming from the dashboard, it would use the speakers in the backseat and say things like, "Turn left, idiot! Not here, the next left!" And "Are you sure you know where you're going?" And of course, "You know the speed limit is 45 here."
How helpful would that be? Not so much for the driver, but for the passenger, who could now do crossword puzzles or play Candy Crush instead of wasting time helping to navigate. At least then someone could enjoy the drive.
Another million-dollar idea I had was for an app that could tell me how long I'd be without cellphone service. "Your phone will reconnect to the modern world in one day and 16 hours."
One thing I never realized about the fruited plain is how big it is. It goes on and on and on and on. Now I know how a gerbil must feel on its wheel. No matter how fast you go, the view never changes.
"The speed limit here is 65."
"Did you say something?"
"I'm just saying the speed limit here is 65."
"I'm doing 69. We haven't seen a car in two hours."
"We passed one 15 minutes ago."
"Do you want to drive? Can your legs reach the pedals from the backseat?"
Of course, the entire ride wasn't like that. Most of the time it was just one long, seething silence. After about eight hours of that, it's time to chill out and relax.
"Oh, look, there's a Motel 2 at the next exit."
"For once, can't we stay at a Motel 3? The shower in the Motel 2s are so small that I have to break the soap in half so I can use it."
"Fine, we'll just spend the $4 more. Like we're made out of money. Where's the next Motel 3?"
"The very next exit."
The very next exit turned out to be 67 miles away. It had a Motel 3 and not much else: a restaurant that said "Family Dining" and a Gas & Go Away. It turned out we should have eaten at the Gas & Go Away; the food would have been better.
Did I mention that I am a morning person and Sue is not? Do you know how hard it is to take a shower, get dressed, go back and forth to the car a few times and practice electric guitar without waking someone up? Face it, there's just no making some people happy. I've been up since 5, and we finally hit the road at 11.
It seems my million-dollar ideas are a dime a dozen, but there should be another travel app that says absolutely nothing until you've been on the road for 20 minutes, then says, "Did you remember to bring the cellphone charger?" Twenty minutes later it will say, "What about your heart medicine?" Another 15 minutes, then, "Did you turn in the key cards?"
We still don't know where our email got hacked; was it from using the Motel 3's free Wi-Fi, or was it at a rest stop on the way? Anyway, if you get an email saying that we're in Turkey and our wallet was stolen and won't you please send us $2,500 -- we aren't. However, I would love to go to Turkey and finally scratch that off my bucket list, so if you have an extra $2,500 lying around, I'm your man.
Actually, I don't know if $2,500 is enough. Turkey's a big country and I'd like to see it all. Unless I have to do all the driving.