As opposed to the last couple summers, both ‘Summers of George’ in which Dave and I didn’t work and sucked our savings dry while spending copious amounts of time with our friends/family in our respective and glorious hometowns, this summer is more like real life. And by real life I mean not like real life at all because Dave works 32 hours a week and I don’t work and we live with our friend. But still, a step towards real life.
Seeing that we live in a third location this year, thereby avoiding living with our parents for the summer months as our 30’s rapidly approach, we have enlisted ourselves in a number of road trips to and from our homes for various events all summer long. So far, since my return from England in May, I have spent two actual entire weekends in our apartment here. This essentially means that we have logged in many, many hours in the car together. Many, many hours.
This isn’t really anything new for us. We’ve driven from Brandon to Marquette, Marquette to Brandon, more times that we’d like to count. We’ve driven from Marquette to Denver, Marquette to South Carolina, from South Carolina to Bakersfield, from Bakersfield back to Marquette, Bakersfield back to Brandon, Tilburg to Fuessen, Crimmitschau to Holland, Copenhagen to Oslo. We’ve done it in the Tracker with a roof rack and in a U-Haul towing our Camry. There have been tense moments in snowy mountains and giddy elation seeing the sun rise over the plains. We’ve lived through all these hours trapped in a tiny steel box together, and this is how:
- We take it as a chance to get to know each other. This may sound strange since we’ve spent nearly a decade together now and would probably like to think we know the big stuff by now. But hours in the car lead to all the stories you forgot you knew about yourself. Or that you never felt the need to express before. Dave recently discovered that I cried for an entire weekend when I first got a B. If that isn’t revealing, I don’t know what is.
- We appreciate each other’s musical choices. I’ll admit, sometimes the way I appreciate Dave’s penchant for Metallica is by not making him turn it down while I take my post-lunch nap. But overall we take turns choosing discs or songs and we sing along to the other person’s favorite. Dave probably would never have turned to Florence + the Machines without me, and I wouldn’t have discovered my love of Cold War Kids without him.
- We accept that bickering will happen. If you are on hour 15 of an 18 hour day of driving, with a few more 18 hour days in front of you, you are going to get annoyed with the other person you are flying down the highway with. If you don’t, I think there is something wrong with you. The cramped quarters, the lack of anything but country stations in the whole middle part of the US, the incredible amounts of salty/sugary foods that you end up buying at gas stations all come together and create the perfect storm of irritation. Good news is that if you accept it for what it is, then stare out the window for a while or pretend to sleep, it will pass and you’ll realize you better get over it or this is going to be a long, annoying few days.
- We make an adventure out of it. We spy historical landmarks and stop at random scenic overlooks and we have a laugh at creepy billboards pushing salvation. We judge the aggression of mini-van drivers, try to stop in small towns to fill-up, and take pictures of our dogs with various landscapes as backgrounds.
The road tripping will continue next weekend, and it won’t end there until we get to wherever we are going for next season. Warm-up the Toyota and pack the cooler with sandwiches and dog treats. We’re back on the road on Friday.