Please Keep Your Hands and Feet Inside the Vehicle at All Times

It’s late March which means that high school seniors everywhere are preparing for their last months of being top-dog. Appreciate it, because in a few more months you will be thrown back into the pits as a college freshman. Where I’m from, these last days as a senior usually culminate with a senior trip. While most people (usually over spring break) go to a beach somewhere, Maxine, Rupee, and I chose to go to Hogwarts. Or, rather, the Harry Potter amusement park at Universal Studios.

But in order to get there, first we had to drive. With both of Rupee’s parents as chaperones, we set of in a hideous burnt-orange Dodge minivan to highway I-75 which goes all the way from where we live in Michigan to Florida where the park is located. 1,200 miles of open road, pretty blue skies, tweeting birds, and…

A crap ton of traffic.

When we reached the hills of Tennessee, a massive back-up on I-75 put us 1 1/2 hours behind schedule, so we used our handy-dandy GPS (which, if you don’t know, can be very unhandy a lot of the time) and switched to a back-road detour that the highway system people were recommending.

As we drove, we began to notice two things:

1) It was beginning to look exactly like District 12 from the Hunger Games. I kid you not, we somehow seemed to have found our way onto the set of the movie (not really). I think I saw Katniss. Or maybe it was a deer.

And 2) there were a lot of Confederate flags.

[Mini history lesson for those who don’t know: during the American Civil War, the nation split into the Union (majority northern states) and the Confederation (majority southern states). For the most part, the southern states wanted to retain slavery and thought they weren’t respected by the northern states–it was more complicated than that, but this is a sum-up, so sorry. In the end, the northern states won the war and America was reunited once again.]

Of course, coming from a northern state, we were very confused by the fact that these flags still exist. I mean, that war finished up a long time ago, and I’m pretty sure the Confederation is…you know…over.

The conversation that followed this realization went something like this:

Rupee: Um, guys, what happens if we have to pull over?

Maxine: I’ll hide.

Me: Why?

Maxine: Umm, because–

Rupee: I know! We send Mel out first!

Me: Why me?!

Rupee: Because you have southern ties.

Me: So does Maxine, why can’t she go out first?

Maxine: Because I’m black.

*a few seconds pass*

Rupee/Me: Ooooh…right…

We never did have to pull over and as we drove we saw some pretty awesome scenery. Natural waterfalls, old mines that were turned into lakes after they were closed, mountain, and forest. If you’ve never driven through Tennessee, I suggest you do it at least once in your lifetime.

Even with the detour we made it to the Harry Potter park and it was AWESOME. I will definitely be going again in the future. We also went to the other sections of Universal and spent a day at Disney (remember my bucket list? I will be the voice of a Disney princess one day. It will happen.) I then spent a night at the emergency room, but that’s a post for a different day.

In closing, I must make a public service announcement to all those who are preparing for spring break/senior trips. Be safe, have fun, and drink water! Because it’s healthy and you need it when you’re out in the sun. If you’re more like me, eating, sleeping, and doing nothing whilst holed up in your room for the whole of your break, you should still drink water. Okay, now I’m satisfied. Service announcement over.

I feel like I have now done my duty as an American. Drink water!

And don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for Chapter Eleven of This is a Book!!!

Mel

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