We have chosen the king of the Holiday Travel Horror Stories and the winner of a $50 MetroCard. Looks like you're going to have to save your fresh tales of woe for next year's contest. Here are your winners.
There were so many great crashes along the Christmas commute that we couldn't decide on just one. Here are all the honorable mentions. The titles are mine, the but the nightmare was all theirs:
Short and Sweet by GrumbleGrumble
TSA Violation by PrintersAnonymous
Murder on the Orient Express by SpiritFingers
Flat Tires and Tired Donuts by BettyCrocker
Loser-bago by MBK220
First Class Asshole by Clamps
McDonald's Drive-Thru by Kenton Davis
Partying with the Hotel Heiress by ErwinElephenor
The Worst Part of Waking Up by Streeter
Terrible Turbulence by BadUncle
We Hate Your Kid by Richard Petty
Fresh Memories by MarshallBright
The Case of the Disappearing Dad by SavingRichardParker
Congrats to all the runners up. You get absolutely nothing, but you amused and amazed us with all you have endured. Thank you.
However there was one tale that stuck out in our mind because it combined several themes employed by so many of these tales. It has a long car trip, a horrible family, bodily functions, and Canada. Put them together and you have this awful experience by KikiCanuck. And because this is the holidays, the whole thing ends with an angel getting her wings. There is a Santa Claus.
So, Kiki, email us to claim your prize.
Here is your winner:
Christmas 2005. I am spending the holiday with my then-boyfriend and his family in Calgary, or so I think as I drag myself through the airport doors at 4am. When we get off the plane in cowtown, however, it is revealed that my boyfriend's father will be taking all us to Victoria, where his parents live, for Christmas. It is a drive of a mere 700 miles, through some of them most treacherous mountain passes of Northern Canada that are navigable by road, so I am obviously totally calm as I clamber into the minuscule back seat of the family pickup with my boyfriend's brother, who "isn't gonna pretend [he] doesn't fucking hate [me]," secure the snow chains under my feet "just in case" and settle in for the multi-day drive. Fantastic!
As it transpires, my boyfriend's father's opinion of women drivers is about on par with the brother's opinion of me. Ergo, the menfolk will share the driving, and, by extension, the front seat. Although I am a good 5 inches taller than Daddy dearest, it is pointed out to me that the men can only sit in the backseat for so long because they need to stretch their legs - illuminating! I discover about 5 minutes into the drive that father and brother also require the front seats so that they can chain smoke out the open windows. This is theoretically a courtesy to the non-smokers, but in point of fact results in a shower of cold air and blown ash for those non-smokers relegated to the backseat for all time.
A particular highlight of the drive is the navigation of Roger's pass, during which the truck is alternately fishtailing and bumping along on the "wakefulness strips" on the side of the highway. Brother and I are sharing the backseat at this point while he "illicitly" smokes a joint behind the seat back, whispering to me "Don't fucking tell" every few minutes (the entire internal volume of the truck cab is approximately equivlaent to a Port-a-Potty, so secrecy is pretty much void).
After 20 hours of driving, we arrive at our booked motel, and I am chanting the words "separate rooms" to myself over and over again like a talisman against future confinement with my boyfriend's family. Through some variety of Canadian Christmas Miracle, this one wish is granted. Moreover, as punishment for his toking ways, Bro-heim is instructed to my boyfriend's and my bags to our room. "Bus those bags, jerkwad!" I think to myself as my boyfriend helps me to exit the truck, necessary because my leg muscles are locked in tetany. As we stumble towards our room, brother emerges smiling, and wishes us good evening, to which my boyfriend responds "Tell me, you did not."
I am confused, but more so looking forward to a night of vengeful, angry and athletic copulation that will make me forget that I have the accumulated ash of 20 hours of window-smokling embedded in my eyebrows, so I let this perplexing response slide. We enter our room and are immediately assailed by a smell for which I will not attempt to find adjectives. I dedeuce (heyo!) that by way of a good-night parting gift, my boyfriend's brother has taken a shit of epic proportions in our bathroom. A visual inspection confirms that he has also not flushed.
This was day 1.
Sadly, Chapter 2 of this story is less hilarious and much less scatalogical. Through some sort of miracle, we arrive at the Grandparent's place by noon the following day, in time for a traditional french Canadian Christmas Eve food orgy. We literally have a pie made from only sugar and cream, called Tarte au Sucre, faithfully translated as "Sugar Pie." Vive le Canada.
Meanwhile, Grandma discovers that I am fluent in French, and can gossip freely with her about the English-speaking significant others of her children without them being any the wiser, and we instantly fall in love. Grandpa discovers that I like good Scotch, which makes him like me. Conversely, I like Grandpa because he likes, but more importantly HAS good Scotch.
Drinking, Sugar Pie and insanely warm coastal weather mean we all get along for the duration of our stay. The unexpected (by me) affluence and progressiveness of the Grandparents mean that each of the 5 couples, us included, get their own bedroom (my boyfriend's brother and father, swinging bachelors and misogynists that they are, go sharesies - karma!) Most importantly, my boyfriend's cousin's home-made "herbed chocolate" brownies mean that I care far far less on the drive back about ciagrette ash raining down on my forehead, and my knees being squashed up against my skull in the tiny backseat. They also make Brother constipated, so... yeah. Thus ends Chapter 2, with our safe arrival back in Calgary, and more importantly, boarding our flight the fuck outta there.
Chapter 3 is a doozy, though, and contains the real punchline of this entire tale: Those people? Those no-lady-driving, secret-spliff-smoking, sneaky-poo-leaving Albertans? My in-laws. (Former boyfriend=Now and forever husband). Sometimes, in heated circumstances, I shriek at my husband "Do you remember our fucking drive to Victoria? DO YOU?!?!" Never forget, friends. Never forget.
[Image via Zimpenfish's Flickr]