The plan was simple. Hop in the car. Scoot over the Canadian border to hit the closest Costco and back home for lunch. What? Why Costco specifically? Because friends, they sell Kirkland Signature peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets. And our laboriously imported supply from an Alaskan Costco ran out. Needs must. No other peanut butter stuffed pretzel nugget will do.
As the mighty Pathfinder heaved itself up and over the arc of the Peace Bridge, the WideEyedSpouse and I witnessed our doom. Cars. Cars as far as the eye could see gleaming in the summer sun, filled with hopeless dead-eyed passengers, lined up in two endless highway lanes out of Canada. On our side the border lines were short, but leaving…leaving was going to be bad. Once you are on the Bridge there is no turning back, no way home that doesn’t include two border crossings. I looked at the Spouse. “Well,” I said, “I guess we can take our time putzing in Costco.”
What we didn’t know? Saturday marked the start of a major Canadian holiday weekend. I haven’t seen the stats but Ontario was evacuating on Saturday. And after the Costco run we would be evacuating with them, We’d be ok though because after Costco, we would have The Stuffed Nuggets. That’s what we figured anyway.
What else we didn’t know? The St. Catharine, Ontario Costco does not carry the Kirkland Signature peanut butter stuffed pretzel nuggets.
Depressed. Hungry. And surrounded by angry and frustrated Canadians, the Spouse and I joined the egress. The Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge was supposed to be quicker. The line for the Peace Bridge extended for miles on the Canada side. We saw people walking along the traffic for something to do. Car doors were open. “Oh man,” I head the Spouse mutter as I piloted the Pathfinder off of that apocalyptic highway and headed for the Rainbow Bridge, “this is going to be bad.”
Then we traveled 1.5 miles in 117 minutes of helplessly close people watching before we made it back into the U.S.
We saw things. Awful things. Wretched things. The Top 10 reasons to NOT buy a used car, ever again:
10. shirtless hairy backs
The summer sun sizzled on the asphalt. Superheated car exhaust blew from thousands of idling engines. It was hot. Some gained comfort by sitting shirtless and sweaty, cradled by their absorbent car seats.
9. blood soaked gauze
I watched an ancient man carefully pluck a wad of drooled-up, blood matted gauze from inside his lower lip. He inspected it closely and then it disappeared into the car depths. I watched for a long time and edged closer. I couldn’t see where he put it.
8. hair follicles
Wafts of hairs blew from car windows as we sat on the Rainbow Bridge, looking out at the Falls.
So many splashy sneezes.
6. farted up seats
And oh, the aromas. Hot asphalt. Exhaust. Digestive gases oozing from nearby cars. “No, you go ahead,” I gestured to a car who wanted the space between me and the fart-mobile ahead in line.
5. kid residues
Snot. Drool. Cheerios. Vomit. So many toddlers in the vacation evacuation line, so many kinds of kid residues.
- skin scurf
Dandruff. Eczema. Big heavy flakes like warm greasy snow.
3. butt sweat
Pick. Pick. Pick. Brush off.
Pick. Flick. Wipe.
No more used cars. No more summer Saturday trips to Canada.