This past Sunday on Interstate 5

“Are you okay?”

“Just got this fly my leg. It’s driving me crazy.”

“Stop doing that. You’re gonna get us killed.”

“Then what the hell am I supposed to do?”

“Just try to rustle it up,” Nancy says, “then open the windows. It’ll get blown out.”

“Fine fine.” I jiggle my leg, see the fly buzz around my lap and open all windows as we speed southbound on Interstate 5. Suddenly, it feels like we’ve opened a convection oven and stuck our heads inside — only, in this case, the hot air is hitting us at 80 mph.

Papers go airborne.

Manure fumes overtake the car.

The boys squint and scream in delight.

“Okay,” Nancy hollers over the din, “roll ’em up, roll ’em up.”

The windows go up, and now it feels like we’re in a sweat lodge. Eventually, the air conditioning kicks in and we’re comfortable.

Ten minutes later.

“What’s your problem?”

I cuss under my breath. “Damn fly’s crawling up my leg.”

“Mommy,” Dylan says, “I want juice.”

Jack asks, “Daddy, is this Disneyland?”

“No, sweetie. It’s Coalinga.”

Nancy says, “Jiggle your leg and open the windows.”

Leg jiggles, fly takes flight, windows open. Oppressive wind and heat come in. This time a percussive whomp whomp whomp assaults the eardrums.

Nancy’s hair is stuck at an 80-degree angle.

My eyes turn to slits.

The boys holler and laugh and stomp their feet.

“Okay,” Nancy yells over the din, “roll ’em up.”

A few miles later, AC battles the overwhelming Central Valley heat, at which point I feel the fly on my calf.

“Roll ’em down,” I holler.

“No, just your window this time. It’ll create better suction.”

Extreme wind and heat on the side of my face. A McDonalds napkin covers the speedometer.

“Roll it up, roll it up.”

Fifty miles later.

Whispering through gritted teeth, “This fuckin’ fly.”

“Daddy, is this Disneyland?”

“Let’s leave all the windows down for a minute. That’ll do it.”

Extended wind and heat.

“Okay, roll ’em up, roll ’em up.”

Seventy miles later.

“I’m gonna kill this fly.”

“Here,” Nancy says, “I’ll stir it up, then you open your window.”

Mayhem ensues.

I get swatted.

The boys point at us and laugh.

Hot air blows through the car in a circular pattern.

“Roll it up, roll it up.”

Fifty miles later, we’ve gotten over the Grapevine. Now we’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic near Saugus.

“Daddy, is this Disneyland?”

“No, honey. Not yet.”

I feel the fly crawling up my leg. I roll the windows down and rustle my leg. The fly whizzes in two tight circles and exits through my window.

A deafening roar overtakes a Toyota Highlander on southbound Interstate 5 near Saugus.

Let the vacation begin.