01 Sep The Pre-Marital Road Trip Test
Being the Jewish mother that I am—I seriously didn’t want my 19 year old son (also the baby of the family) to drive 14 hours alone. Better he should fly to soccer pre-camp in New Hampshire. Better that I drive his car and meet him in Amherst.
Don’t all mothers do that? It’s actually the “stuff” I love…the “stuff” I choose to do!
I was prepared to go at it alone. Solitude and quiet seemed like a good plan, until Old Spice offered to accompany me on the journey. I decided every “almost married” couple needs to tackle a road trip before their wedding day, right?
I am reminded of what Maya Angelou once said, “you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three things: tangled Christmas lights, lost luggage and a rainy day.” I would actually add a fourth item to that list: road trips.
Road Trip Style: Shortest Time vs. Seeing the Most
Does the person you are co-piloting with like the “point A to point B approach?” No stops—no sightseeing—just get me there attitude. Or is your co-pilot a meanderer who chooses local diners over fast food, drives 60 mph and has not a care in the world about hours spent needlessly driving?
If I might interject here…the word “needlessly” was carefully and conscientiously chosen…by me. Right after my asking “are we there yet?”
My style clarified, I must say, I wasn’t exactly sure about Old Spice. We have not done this before. My expectations were limited. However, I had visions of his wanting to stop at the Hershey factory or other such sites, just because. Who knew if we would ever get there again? (Excuse me while I spontaneously combust.)
But I was happy to set out together…looking forward to the test of time alone.
Old Spice and I set out on last Friday (an hour behind our scheduled ETD), unsure of what was ahead for 12-plus hours. And wouldn’t you know it, 20 minutes into the drive I had to go to the bathroom. Good thing it was me, not him.
But we might as well stop at McDonald’s—seemed obvious, since we were already stopping. Might as well actually go inside to eat, as long as we were there. What can I say—not everyone likes a drive-thru.
At this point, the first 20 miles on the open road had me thinking Amherst was a long shot. We would never get there.
Then we got our groove. I was the navigator. He was the driver. A team in harmony: I hate to drive and he doesn’t understand Google Maps. (Still prefers a printed Triptik).
Turns out we are a great team on the open road. We were each other’s captive audience. Undivided attention is good stuff. When conversation is flowing, especially in your direction, it’s a blissful feeling of love everlasting. And even if you don’t like the way the conversation is going, you can’t exactly get up and leave the room—so you can test and improve your mastery of communication, negotiation and compromise.
You’re stuck— unless of course you want to be dropped off at the bus station.
It is amazing how much meaningless and meaningful conversation you can have in the span of a 12 hour drive.
Even if you have been married for 30 years, I highly suggest putting down your phone long enough to be a captive audience. It is always good to know that there is still “stuff” to talk about. It is equally good to just listen, to just sit still and to be content with silence and with each other.
In the scheme of life we are a new “old couple” navigating a relatively unknown “twosome.” There is always something to learn, like how two people can listen to the same podcast by divvying up the headphones.
Without complaining, Old Spice even listened to the same 10 songs over and over again (that’s all I could find on my phone). But now I know all of the words to Rocket Man. Ha…we can sing it at our wedding!
With six hours and several stops under our belt, we pulled off the highway when it got dark. Being our “older” selves driving in the dark wasn’t a viable option. The Hampton Inn in Buffalo is clean and cozy and safe. And how nice not to be alone.
Happily, we didn’t end up in Hershey, Pennsylvania or Niagara Falls. We didn’t fight or get lost or even miss the tolls on the Mass Pike. We pulled into Amherst 13 plus hours later.
We nailed it. Maya Angelou is smiling. We passed the road trip test!
Thank god we don’t have to worry about Christmas lights.