Thursday, September 9, 2010

Car Tripping

It seems as if I perhaps don't take many long car trips the way I once did. The family often did so years ago, going someplace in-state or even cross-country periodically. When I was in Boy Scouts, we drove someplace well out of town once a month for camping and perhaps hiking. Doing it often enough was maybe both good and bad. One went through it enough times to work out how it might be made as pleasant an experience as possible, but how pleasant could the ride really become? Kids of the age my sister and I were really must be drugged in order to be peaceful for such a length of time. My parents were of the new school which eschewed chloroform.

It will probably come as no surprise that I found the best means of passing the time in the car to be reading. I could go through a lot of them, for there were few real distractions competing for my attention most of a day on the road. There at least used to be nothing in between cities but cows and rest stops, but it seems like sprawl swallows up more and more of the desolate stretches that used to help me focus. Anyway, reading was what I mainly did except when I was playing video games. I think now that those were more an attempt to connect with my peers than anything. The books did little to endear me to classmates, but were really more enjoyable in the car.

One thing not really available to me was sleeping. For much of my life, it seemed as if it were not possible for me to sleep in the car. I kind of took pride in that for some reason. I suppose that in the absence of accomplishments, a young kid seizes on what he can for the sake of his self-esteem. In any case, since I was not going to be sleeping at any point while on the road for hours at a time, I had to do other things. I described reading, which was something I might do at any time, but there was something that I could only do while others were awake, and that was talk. Tracking state license plates and Slug Bug weren't really my thing, so my contributions to car ride entertainment didn't much resemble what people do in movies when on a road trip. I just spoke my mind, being silly, jokey and ruminative. On Boy Scout trips, I was much prized by the adults as a means of staving off the doldrums of driving. I would get rather sad when most of the car drifted off to sleep as we drove to our destination early in the morning.

As I said, there are few of those trips these days. I recently had a short one, which was only somewhat conducive for sleeping on the part of my carmates. It was a lot of fun to carry on as I and others once did more often. Having become more social, I was really glad that I needed not resort to reading, which is something that more often fills the quiet lonely time than take precedence over opportunities for social interaction. What a lot of fun it was to drive out of town, especially with a comedy sketch video about a road trip being a recent memory for myself and the gentleman seated next to me. I hope there will be more such drives to come for me.

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