Thursday, June 05, 2014

Road Trip

Do you really need to stop, he says, can't you hold it? I'll need gas in three hours can't you wait?

Drive any distance with a man and that's what you'll hear when you ask him to stop because you must meet a biological need. Once on the road, the male of the species will not get off the road until it is impossible to keep driving on that road. Then, and only then, will the car come to a halt.

A man driving from Arizona to Detroit had no intention of stopping, not when he was making good time or good progress or the sun was still up or they had to make another hundred miles to reach the day's distance quota. Ray Tomlinson would not stop for something as insignificant as a dead passenger in the car.

No, indeed. He was probably relieved that his girlfriend in the passenger seat had expired from an overdose of oxycodone because it meant he would not have to make rest stops so she could empty her tiny bladder. His ninety-something-year-old mother was in the back seat and was probably using adult diapers so that the trip could be shortened. All those pit stops add up, you know. At sixty miles per hour that's a mile lost for every minute in the toilets and before you know it you're fifteen miles behind and how can that be made up without speeding.

Mr. Tomlinson was only a day or so out of Phoenix when he realized the lady was stone cold, and wasn't just sleeping like he thought.

So why not just keep going, and try to reach Michigan before her corpse started to stink?

If the mental health facility that had just released his girlfriend had not done a well-being check, no one would have known she was dead, but Mr. Tomlinson answered her phone and stated the facts quite clearly. She was dead. Stone cold, in fact. Went peacefully, though, just fell asleep.

Call the police, the facility people insisted, but what good would that do Mr. Tomlinson in his quest to drive back home to Michigan in as short a time as possible? If he did stop, he'd have to wait for the local authorities to do an autopsy, and then there would be more delay in shipping the body home. But why do that? He's going that way anyway. Why not just get the late girlfriend as close to home as possible? Doesn't that make more sense?

The police are trying to come up with some kind of charge to level against the driver, but what are the odds of that happening? These are other men we're talking about, other men who in their hearts know that they would have done the same thing because once you're driving, you just don't stop unless you absolutely have to. The woman was already dead, so what was the emergency at that point?

Once a man gets behind the wheel, there is no stopping. Even if that means driving with a corpse in the shotgun seat for 1900 miles.

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