The art of road tripping
Springtime means road trip time, right? And road trip means dealing with the ghosts of Road Trips Past; the ones you took with your family, the ones where you were stuck in the back of a station wagon for days on end, going to see some relative you’ve never met while your pleas for a restroom stop are ignored and your sibling refuses to stay on their side of the imaginary line, and your Travel Scrabble game is missing some crucial vowels. But now you’re an adult, right? You’ve spent the last few years and several thousands of dollars on various therapies (group, aversion, Gestalt, electro-shock, aroma, etc.) for the express purpose of overcoming your childhood road traumas. Right?Well, half right. Your road companion has done all this stuff. You, however, are about to get some serious mileage (so to speak) out of your hard-earned psychoses. Let’s begin:Who drives?Easy answer: “We both do, switching off every few hours.” True, that’s one way to do it, but consider the advantages of doing ALL the driving. After all, the driver’s seat is the throne of the automobile, and the one seated in it, casts down arbitrary decrees which must be followed.”Hey, wake up. I’m hungry.””Huh … what the hell …?” “I’m hungry, make me a sandwich.””I was sound asleep! And I just made you a sandwich!””Oh, OK. I’ll just continue driving then, as I have been for the last five hours.””Look, I offered to drive, but you insisted that …””No, no … I’m sure my rapidly plummeting blood sugar won’t affect my depth perception at all. Nighty night.”At this point your companion will, strictly for self preservation reasons, make you a sandwich. If you’re really good at workin’ it, you can even get her to feed you soup. What to listen toOne of the quickest ways that a road trip relationship can turn bad is when it comes to music. I’ve ruined more than my share of trips back in the day by uttering the words, “Hand me that Butthole Surfers CD.” If you and your companion have vastly differing musical tastes, the best thing to do is to compromise. HA! Kidding …!No, the best thing to do is to make sure that your companion with the lame musical taste somehow “loses” her CDs at the first gas station and/or a toothpick accidentally gets inserted and snapped off in an important part of her iPod.Hey, accidents happen. Console your trip partner by assuring her that you have the entire Butthole Surfers’ discography loaded on YOUR iPod. What to talk aboutSometimes it’s nice to just enjoy the soothing, meditative hum of the road, especially if you’re traveling cross country and neglected to get your studded snow tires changed before leaving. Other times, though, a good, stimulating conversation is in order. Here’s a list of things to say/do that are guaranteed to really get things interesting:”Hand me that Butthole Surfers CD.”Drive up a runaway truck ramp. Fast.”My blackout spells aren’t lasting nearly as long these days.”While driving mountain passes, close your eyes and mutter, “Use the Force …” Zen and the art of staring out the windowRoad tripping can be a very spiritual experience. Then again, so can breathing deeply into a paper bag for a few minutes. Paper bags are a lot cheaper than three-dollar-a-gallon gasoline. Just a suggestion. Be there nowSo what are you waiting for? The road beckons. Grab that person in front of you and say, “Let’s do something crazy, huh? What say you and me hop in the car right now and just drive? No destination, no agenda, no place to be and no time to be there. Let’s just drive because we can! Let’s sit for hours mesmerized by that glorious ribbon of American highway unfurling itself before us. Whaddaya say?”Try it. I think you’ll be surprised. Chances are that person will look you square in the eye and say, “Are you ready to order now, or do you still need a few more minutes?”Buckle up!Read about Barry’s upcoming epic road trip at http://www.barrysmith.wordpress.com.