#TBT The Fun is in the Drive

“…if i don’t get out soon I’ll lose my mind
take me anywhere surprise me.”
–  Eddie From Ohio


Back before we were real adults, we were college students in Asheville, North Carolina, and we were motivated by a passion for going. Anywhere. Everywhere.

My friend Steven had a Toyota Camry named Victoria and enough cigarettes to get him through even the longest, latest drives. Three or four of us would fill his car, me always in the back seat, freezing my ass off. Victoria had some sort of weird butt draft going on, and we would stuff jackets in the crack of the seat to try to keep the cold air out. Steven chain smoked, so the windows were always open, chilling us further.

We felt mostly unencumbered by responsibilities, and the more ridiculous the plan the more we loved it. We drove to Canada. Because we could (and because we were legal drinking age there. #priorities). Alabama. Because we could. Because some contingent of us had never been to these places.

I would always call my Grandfather and tell him where we were.

“Grandpa, we’re in Lexington, Kentucky.”

“I had a heart attack in Lexington once.”

“Okay then.”

There was so much music. Both in the car, and as a destination. We went to dozens of concerts. We packed four people and all of our camping gear into Victoria and drove to New York for a folk festival. There was a feeling to these trips. The music turned up loud enough to drown out our young-adult worries, staring into the stars and the cold late air, feeling powerful and yet so small.

We drove around New York City at 10pm on New Year’s Day, 2002. We didn’t even know we were on Manhattan when we came upon what we thought was construction. So much dust, so many lights. There were signs reading “no photography” and we were turned around by a grim-faced policewoman. Ground zero. Contrast that with picking up leftover confetti left in Times Square.

Steven’s birthday trip across the Mississippi River. We left Asheville at 1pm, drove all day just to cross the river, adding Arkansas and Mississippi to our states-visited list.Then we turned around and drove home. Mid-Tennessee Victoria broke down. An existential crisis of axles. We hiked through tick infested brush to the nearby Waffle House where we played Waffle House Birthday Song repeatedly on the jukebox while taking turns in the bathroom removing ticks. I counted seven. Gas was cheap. Time was vast. Our to-do lists were problems for another day.

Today we are scattered by distance and restrained by time, and yet there are certain songs that take me back. I can feel the air, the clarity, the expanse of a road to nowhere.

Today I’m restless and constrained, staring down the barrel of yet another day of tantrums, picky eating, and exhaustion.

Today I vow to remember that the adventure is as important as the destination – and we can make an adventure out of anything.

If I could know then what I know now
I’d you hold you close and tell you how
we grew
and still… we grow
wasn’t that a time
wasn’t that a time
if you look back
oh linger linger linger linger
wasn’t that a time
wasn’t that a time
– The Nields

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