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Driving Ms. Diaz

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader


When things get too rough, I get in my car and drive. And things were rough. A former friend has been ripping me apart on her blog, and that same week, I got into an argument with my boss over control and rebellion, and how it tied in with her husbandís health and dietary habits. Add in various other stressful situations, and it was time for a road trip. A junk food and movie marathon just wasnít going to cut it. People could come over. The phone could ring. I needed plenty of real estate between myself and my stressful situations, so I drove to Chicago. By myself.

People seem to be surprised when I tell them I take trips by myself. I drove to Toronto in November 2004, and last October, I flew to Puerto Rico, and while I was there, rented a car and drove around. If I wanted to see certain parts of the island, it would be up to me, as the relatives I was staying with were working and couldnít take time off to chauffeur me around.

Besides, solo trips are fun. You can do what you want, when you want. Pee breaks every half hour? Sure. Get out and stretch your legs? Sure. Stop at a fast food joint every hour on the hour? Sure. I went to Cedar Point the last day it was open last season and reveled in the fact I could push myself as hard as I wanted and I didnít have to worry about anybody but myself. I didnít have to hear complains about it being too hot, too cold, overpriced food, rides that caused headaches, waiting in line, sore feet, or anything else. I didnít have to wait for anyone to finish their cigarette. I could ride anything I wanted without having anyone say to me, ďno way youíre getting me on that thing.Ē

So it was time for another road trip. Cedar Point is closed, so Chicago would have to do. I wanted to go to Dave and Busterís, an upscale restaurant/video game arcade catering to both corporate types and families. A lot of game arcades are kinda skeezy, so itís nice to see this establishment, in the ritzy neighborhood known as the Gold Coast, provide good food, good fun and friendly staff. I played one of my favorite games, Mocap Boxing by Konami. Iím taking kickboxing, and Iím really enjoying it. I wanted to see if Iíd improved any by playing the boxing game. Eight times I played it, and twice I finished in the top 15. It wore me out though. The boxing gloves weighed two pounds each, which I wasnít used to. Iím feeling it in my arms today, but playing the game took out a lot of the stress I was feeling. Ironically enough, beating the crap out of simulated boxing opponents made me feel better about having to deal with people, and after Iíd had my fill, felt better about the world again.

There was still plenty of time and daylight left, so I went to Quimbyís, which can only be described as an alternative press boutique for those seeking interesting reading. This is the stuff Borders and Barnes and Noble wonít carry, because they wonít make enough of a profit on it. I was tempted to buy the Patty Duke fanzine, complete with a 45 r.p.m. single, but I was watching my money, and decided to pass on it. I did stop by and load up on copies of The Onion, the Chicago Reader, and the Chicago Free Press, all of which were free.

I then went to Village Discount Outlet in search of any books I just couldnít live without. There werenít any, but the place is so big, itís worth a look, especially if you like thrift stores.

After a snack of bananas and a Hersheyís sundae pie, I started home. It was a relatively stress-free drive to Chicago and back, despite the ongoing work on 80/94. I took a couple of wrong turns, but I still made better time getting to Chicago and back than I have in quite some time.

The problems are still here, but as long as I can get away from them every so often, I guess I can deal. If not, I can always punch someone out. Hey, if it works for Russell Crowe, it... whoops! Bad example. Guess Iíd better learn to count to 10.

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