08 May 2009

Car Games

Brad and I have spent approximately 328 hours in the Jeep together this past year, maybe a little more. A lot of this was very long driving days around the western US (on a 39 day road trip), across the country to Vermont, and down to Key West. Driving in the West is not like driving in the East, where you can drive for 4 hours and pass through five major cities. In the West, you can drive for 12 hours and see only forest or desert (sometimes both) and maybe some deer in between your destinations. This past Sunday we drove 15 hours down to Key West stopping only to get gas, food, and to pee. 

Somehow we've managed to do all of this driving with only one fight (in Prague - both of us hungry and thirsty - driving in the dark, in circles, looking for our hotel). It's true that we generally like each other, but after that much time in a small car anyone would start to irritate you. So, how do we stay together on the road? 

We talk. After all of this time driving around, we still manage to find things to talk about - whether it's the people we met in the last town or space travel. We plot the next adventures. But, we are also OK just looking out the windows.

Satellite radio has been incredible, making it easier to listen to something else without searching for, agreeing on, and putting in a new CD. Now, we can simply switch to another song. During the last two days of The Road Trip we discovered the comedy stations. These are a great distraction for long driving days, and usually lead to some off-the-wall conversations. But, we seem to reserve the comedy stations for the end of the day or when we get exceedingly anxious to get somewhere, anywhere. 

One of the things we never do is read while the other person is driving. I think this is a sort of fuck-you to the driver. I do admit that on the way down to Key West, somewhere around hour 11, I desperately wanted to flip through a magazine. We sometimes look at guidebooks and talk about the next destination. Or, in a pinch and in a good cell area, we check out the Wikipedia article about the next destination on Brad's iPhone. Without this we wouldn't have broken up a very long drive out West with a stop to a ghost city boasting the country's largest historical landmark district, the longest running whorehouse in the country, and a superfund site that has been turned into a tourist attraction (we drove around in circles looking for the whorehouse and gave up when it started snowing - I'm not sure what I was planning to do once we found it anyway).

When we get really bored, we play a game we like to call "Who Am I." One of us gives one clue about a person, anyone, and the other asks yes/no questions until he/she guesses the person. This game usually leads to a conversation about something we wouldn't have otherwise been thinking about, like space travel. 

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