2003 Road Trip Diary: Chapter 8

Carleen flew into LAX the next morning, and I was happy to see her. Sure, I had enjoyed the week since I left home, but every single thing I did in those six days would have been improved by having her with me. Well, maybe not the long stretches of driving. She hates really long drives. And probably not the baseball game, because she doesn’t like baseball at all.

Hmmm … maybe this trip was perfectly planned just the way we were doing it.

We headed out to grab some lunch. I didn’t really know where I was going, so we settled on some random pizza place that seemed nice enough.

“This place is ok, isn’t it?” I asked as we sat down.

“It’s fine,“ she said, "I’m pregnant.”

I didn’t exactly have a response for that.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked by this. While it would have been inaccurate to say we were trying to have a baby, we had certainly stopped trying to prevent a baby in January. Carleen had been on some un-fun meds as a result of her optic neuritis at the time, and she decided that she didn’t want to be putting chemicals in her body anymore. I totally understood. She was miserable on the drugs, and I supported her decision to go off the pill. Did we want to have kids immediately? No, but if it happened, great.

Still, the possibility of having a baby didn’t seem all that real to us in those first couple of months of that year, especially as I was mentally, and then literally, checking out of my job. To be honest, each of us probably would have bet that, after a decade or so of birth control, it would have taken several months for her system to clear out enough for it to even be possible. The lesson: don’t bet against nature.

Not that this was unwelcome news. It was wonderful news, actually. It was news, however, that required some heavy processing on my part. I mean, here I was, in the midst of the quintessentially selfish pursuit: the quest to find oneself on a solitary road trip. A venture which, at its very heart, is all about sloughing off responsibilities and escaping Real Life for a few short weeks. And what happens? Real Life hires a skip-tracer, tracks me down and hogties me in the middle of pizza place in West Los Angeles. To say I was off my game for the rest of the day would be a bit of an understatement. I soon got my head together, though, and within the space of a couple of hours I went from "WTF?!” to wondering whether I would have a son or a daughter.

After lunch Carleen and I checked into the hotel we had reserved in Beverly Hills. It was a nice place. Certainly much nicer than the joints I had stayed at the previous week in that I wasn’t afraid to touch the bedspread. After dropping our bags and freshening up we swung by to pick up Todd and do some shopping, walking, and general farting around in Santa Monica. We went back to the hotel late that afternoon so that Carleen could rest a bit, after which we got some Mexican food at El Cholo.

We had made a plan at lunch not to tell ANYONE about the pregnancy until we had time to process it ourselves. That plan lasted about seven hours when we spilled the beans to Todd over two margaritas and a water with lemon.

If you couldn’t tell, planning isn’t exactly our strong suit.

Craig Calcaterra

Craig is the author of the daily baseball (and other things) newsletter, Cup of Coffee. He writes about other things at Craigcalcaterra.com. He lives in New Albany, Ohio with his wife, two kids, and many cats.

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