Caca Sausage and the Traffic Jam


bronteteagardensLast weekend, we took the kids to the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco. Since I grew up closer to the city, I forget how rough the drive can be when you’re coming from Sacramento.

And especially with godawful traffic. It was raining off and on this weekend, which seems to scare the living crap out California drivers. We’re not used to it, you see, even though it happens…

Every year.

Back when I lived in Los Angeles, it used to amuse me how much the weather channel would panic every winter. “FLASH FLOODS!” the meteorologists would shout, as though the Great Weather Apocalypse had just hit. Weather reports would be all flashing red lights and exclamation points, even though it rains in Southern California…


You’d think someone would eventually see it coming and build some overflow pipes, but why prepare for inevitabilities when you can throw up your arms in terror instead?

Of course, I say all this from the safety of Sacramento, where we are amply prepared for these kinds of disasters. Centuries of water torment finally taught us to plan ahead, even if it means building a whole new city on top of your old one.

I don’t mean to pick on LA, though. As a peace offering, I’ll concede that you have much better drivers than we do. In fact, I think Bay Area drivers may be some of the worst in the world.

tailgateLook, Bay Area… I love you guys. You have many positive qualities, but your driving skills aren’t among them. Those never-letting-anyone-merge and irrationally-stopping-in-the-middle-of-the-street moves aren’t cute. There’s a reason all your fenders are dented.

So, my family set off for The City and four hours later, we were trying to find a parking spot (another circle of Dante’s SF driving experience) when the kids’ patience ran out out and they start shrieking as loud they could. They wouldn’t quit, no matter how many “we’re almost there’s” they heard, as I felt my temples stabbing and frustrations exploding.

By this point, I was struggling with the crazed impulse to escape out the window. Deep down, I knew it wouldn’t help, but I kept picturing a cartoon-style mommy-shaped hole in the windshield as the car kept inching and stopping and the kids’ wailing wore on.

Eventually, my mood meter spiked into red. This used to be a good time to scream some expletives, some harmless 4-letter grownup words to blow off steam. And five years ago, I would’ve done it, but you can’t go dropping F-bombs around children.

But the kids just kept getting louder and louder until I couldn’t stand it anymore and screamed “CACA SAUSAGE!”at the top of my lungs.

Brontë was scandalized.

“Mommy, stop it!”

“Caca sausage.”

bridgetteatgardens“STOP IT MOMMY!” Brontë yelled, but she couldn’t keep from giggling, which made me laugh and say “Caca sausage” some more.

After some snickering, things got quiet until Brontë put on her best growling monster voice. A low rumble floated from the back seat.

“I… AM… CACA SAUSAGE MONSTER,” she shouted. “Wash… your… HANDS!”

Finally, we made it out of the car and went to the Japanese tea gardens, where we had a great time. The kids loved running around the grounds and sampling different cookies. Brontë ordered hot chocolate but insisted she was drinking COFFEE because she’s not a baby anymore.



We also went to the California Academy of Sciences, where the kids had fun roaming the exhibits and checking out the rainforest display. They especially loved the aquarium, pressing their little faces up against the glass and probably believing, for a moment, they were actually inside a wonderland of fish.

It was all in all a great day, apart from the horrendous traffic and made-up swear word incident. I’m guessing the Caca Sausage Monster will be a running joke in our house for months to come.



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