I hate my brother. At present, we are en route from Boston to Poughkeepsie, NY. Me, being the sweet sister that I am, I offered to accompany him to Poughkeepsie and then take the train back to New York. He, being the bastard brother that he is, he got in the car, drove for thirty minutes and then announced that if he had to drive for five seconds more, he’d fall asleep and crash into a tree. That said, it is now eleven O’clock at night, and I am driving hour three of a four hour car ride, while he is sleeping in the passenger’s seat.

Of course, I gave him one stipulation: I didn’t want to drive on the Taconic State Parkway portion of the trip. For those of you unfamiliar, the Taconic State Parkway is the two lane road leading into Poughkeepsie. The road curves so much that eventually, you can’t help but wonder if perhaps, you’ve turned 180 degrees , and you’re now going back the way you came. To add to the wonder of it all, the road isn’t equipped with street lights, and hence, somewhere along the way, it occurs to you that perhaps, the road isn’t there anymore, and you’re just floating and flying across the grass.

Basically, it’s like one big acid trip.

And now as my eyes are getting blurring, I pull on to the Parkway. Ahead is the toll booth- $3.50. I make a mental note not to get my brother a Christmas gift. As I pay the toll and accelerate, the car chugs forward. The car, a Ford Explorer, has been in the family longer than I have. My brother currently owns it, and I’m pretty sure he’s been cutting corners in the maintenance area. Upon entering the vehicle, I had to ask him about the beautiful set of Firestone tires I noticed we were toting:

“Ummm, Mark, ummm you had these tires checked out, right?”

“For what?”

“Well, you know, that whole Ford Explorer/ Firestone thing?”

(Blank look)

“You know, where all those tires were freeing themselves from the cars at inopportune moments. Cars flipping. Major deaths. Big lawsuits. THE FORD EXPLORER/ FIRESTONE THING.”

“Oh, yeah. I got ‘em checked out. They’re fine.”

I suddenly had a mental image of some greasy gas attendant kicking the tires.

Now, as I’m chugging along at 45 mph on my Firestone tires on the Taconic State Parkway, my brother rouses himself enough to ask where we are.

“We’re on the Parkway.”

He misses my implied guilt.

“Ahhh, that sucks. We’re only insured for Massachusetts. So be careful, okay?”

I am about to wring his little white neck, when I notice a movement over by the side of the road.

“Mark, what was that?”

“Ahh, it was probably just a deer.”

“A deer??”

“Yeah, there’s a bunch out here. But don’t worry they really don’t come out unless it starts raining.”

Cue the rain…

A big drop lands on the windshield.

Suddenly, there are thousands of deer crowded along the side of the road- waiting to kamikaze themselves in front of my car.

I have crawled to a whopping 20 mph. All I see is streaming rain and deer- no road really. I just follow taillights. My body’s aching, and my eyes are drooping down to the floor. I just to want to like staple my eyelids open. Maybe some radio will help. Christmas carols. How soothing. Want to go night night.

NO, must NOT relax.

Hate deer. Hate road. Hate brother.

That deer eyeballed me. He knows we have no insurance. He’s telling all his other deer friends. They’re gonna like shake hoofs and enter into a little suicide pact.

Well, I’ll show them. I’m gonna beat them to it.

“Ummm…. Are you okay?” My brother gives me a nervous glance.

As I peel my hands from the steering wheel: “Oh yeah, I’m fine. Are we there yet?”