The Evolution of Psychosis: Road Trip Edition



A couple weeks ago, Pete and I took a road trip to St. Louis. As you might remember, we encountered America’s worst motel on the way, and I was very worried that I would have to pour honey on my head to keep me awake while driving. It was an adventure. We drove all over the place, and I had to do quite a bit of that driving. Not half—way less than half, actually—but a lot.

And while there was no bees or bears to keep me awake, that doesn’t mean that it was a boring trip. Here’s just a few out-of-context things that I heard us say out loud during the course of the trip:

  • “Can you put this back in my shoe for me?”
  • “It would be neat if we could shoot the moon with a nuke and make it implode on itself.”
  • “Do you ever think that bushes are just little fires that got frozen in green?”
  • “My lady parts are excited, but not in a sexy way. They just really want to jump around.”

I’m not even going to give you the context, because it really wouldn’t help that much.

Anyway, as we were barreling through the middle of Kansas listening to baseball commentary and country music, psychosis was filtering into our car. Yes, it smelled like dust and humidity, but we all know that’s just one of those Kansas tricks.

As a person who has been on many road trips, I can see the symptoms of road trip psychosis before it really hits. So, take it from me, the next time you’re on a road trip, watch for this seemingly-harmless progression before you end up as a raving maniacal poop-brain careening down the highway at 90 miles per hour.

It starts out simple enough. You get in the car with the intention of driving for a long time. You know it’s going to be a while. You’re doing it on purpose. Somewhere that you want to go is many hours away. And the evolution begins.

1. Optimism


It’s the beginning of the trip. Stuff is still fun. Stuff like “looking at things out the window” and “steering the car in different directions.” It’s fun because you’re going to places that are not the places you normally go.

2. Boredom


It’s a couple hours in. The GPS is not amusing anymore, and your husband is just sitting there reading books on his Kindle. Apparently he does not exist solely to keep you amused at all times. This is the part where getting a wise-cracking owl to keep you company sounds really good.

3. Everything Is Hilarious

everything is hilarious

Forced to amuse yourself, everything is funny. And by everything, I mean everything. That piece of popcorn you dropped down your seat? Hysterical. The fact that your window is stuck? It’s like freakin’ Brian Regan is sitting right next to you. Which is also a hilarious thought, even though you’re laughing too hard at things that aren’t funny to think of any of his jokes.

4. Sarcasm/Making Fun of Avril Lavigne

sarcasm and making fun of avril lavigne

Laughter has turned to cynicism about how you can never think of jokes when you want to, and you talk for an hour about how totally weird Avril Lavigne was acting on the Today Show. This is also a good time to make fun of other things, like the Bachelor or Twilight or vampire books in general. Nothing is off-limits. Low-blows are okay.

5. Stand-Up Comedy and Fake Accents

stand up comedy and fake accents

You remember that one Brian Regan sketch and you look at your husband and say, “It’s a cup…with dirt in it,” and he laughs, and then it turns into things like, “Hey, what’s up with mayonnaise? It’s all goopy, and stuff,” and reading fantasy novels out loud in a bad Russian accent. Comedy gold.

6. Scowling and Flipping Off Semi Drivers

scowling and flipping off semi drivers

After you’ve run out of jokes, things get angry. Effing semi drivers and their ideas about passing people on the highway. Maybe if they’d stay in their own effing lanes they wouldn’t get flipped off so much.

7. Mostly Eye-Twitching

mostly eye twitching

Your husband is asleep. You are almost asleep as well. There are no more semi trucks to be mad at. Just darkness and your own two headlights on a very long, straight, boring road.

8. Paranoia/Hallucinations

hallucinations and paranoia

Tall, scary, metal things are blinking in the distance.

They have red eyes right in the center that glow in unison, over and over. Blink. Blink. Bllliiiiiiink.

They’re either an army of angry robots that you are stupid enough to keep driving toward, or the whole town of Salina has become infected with a contagious deadly virus, and those are all warning signals to stay out of the town. As soon as you drive into them, you’ll either be crushed by giant malicious metal arms, or you’ll be locked in a biohazard hospital until you die in agony from whatever killed the rest of the town.

Either way, you’re doomed, there’s no hope for survival, and you need to turn around right now. Right. NOW. The car needs to stop moving forward IMMEDIATELY!

At this point, your husband makes you quit driving before you swerve off the road or into oncoming traffic, and you sit quietly in the passenger seat as your car passes through the field of what turns out to be a bunch of windmills.

It’s here that the evolution of psychosis comes to an end. Unless you’re driving alone. If you are, well, then you’re just screwed. Good luck getting through those windmills alive.

So the lesson is, if you do go on a road trip alone, it might be a good idea to bring that funny owl to keep you company. Or Brian Regan. I bet he would keep you sane, kind of. At least there would be more laughing.


12 thoughts on “The Evolution of Psychosis: Road Trip Edition

  1. Lisa, do not be fooled, the windmills are actually giant death robots. We just disguise them as windmills with “outsiders” pass through.

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  3. #5: I may or may not have done a fake British accent without stopping on a 20 hour drive with my dad halfway across the US. It kept me awake and amused, though I think my father wanted to kill me eventually.

    Also, in the early stages of psychosis, I make it a game to pass as many semis as I can, preferably fast before they decide to change lanes unexpectedly and crush me to death. Because that is what I think about while driving on the interstate.

  4. So Peter is following in his father’s footsteps driving 90 mph across Kansas? Or is it you, Lisa? The splatting of bugs on the windshield is entertaining at that speed!

  5. Haha. So funny and so true. I’m terrible on road trips. In fact, I think my husband would rather leave me behind then take me with him. I get so antsy…and then I start doing leg exercises…it goes downhill from there. Thank you for making me laugh Lisa!

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