My family wasn't the greatest when it came to getting an early start on our summer vacation road trips.
I don't want to point any fingers, but a simple checklist prepared the night before would have helped impose some order on our annual chaos. And that's all I'll say. The people to blame for our summer vacation launch delays are no longer here to defend themselves.
But one summer when I was about 10, I was so fed up with my parents' seemingly pointless dithering, I staged a passive aggressive protest.
I got out my little suitcase. I filled it with comic books and "Peanuts" collections I planned to take. I filled it with my transistor radio with the earphone. I filled it with my baseball cards. (Why I traveled with them, I couldn't tell you.) And I went out to the car and assumed my customary position in the backseat.
I sat out there a long time. By myself. Seething.
I knew though, that when my parents discovered me out in the car, they would be shamed into changing their ways. They would be inspired to get their act together before the next vacation.
Yes, they would be humiliated by my excellent example. But they would learn from me. And we would all be better off for it.
Sure, I was being tough with them. Still, somebody had to show some leadership in that family.
But when the others finally emerged from the house, my dad noted that I was all set.
Here it comes, I thought. Let the contrition flow forth.
"Ready to go, Peeb?" my dad said to me. (That comes from trying to say the initials of my first and middle names.)
And that was the extent of the acknowledgement my silent protest received.
As I recall, we got to my grandmother's house several states away at about 2 a.m., as usual.