This one was written while whizzing down I-40 between Albuquerque and Flagstaff. Spo 

I enjoy road trips, which are like a stencil that the contents varies but its outline is always the same. Someone does the driving. Per protocol, I ask him if he would like me to take over so he can nap or read but he always declines. He prefers driving and he doesn’t like mine. After this ritual is concluded, Urs Truly gets into the passenger seat as always and off we go. 

In the days before GPS I was Map-master, in-charge of knowing when to take the next exit and how many miles it is to the next rest stop.* The only remnant of this once vital function is I am in charge of programming ‘Directions Dora’ to our destination, making sure I turn her voice off as she is a bossy-boots who doesn’t take kindly to sudden exits to rest areas. 

In my role as The Passenger I often go into a boketto or dwam or whatever you call a mindless trance that comes from staring out the window. This can be hazardous if Someone is talking to you or asking is this the exit for the rest area. Oh the horror. 

Proper road trips require a Ghost Bag, full up with things to pass the time. Usually therein is a magazine of puzzles, last week’s mail that wants sorting, and mindless past times. I get car sick easily so I can’t read in the car, worse luck. 

Road trips are not known for their haute cuisine. We want to stay on the road (rest areas the exception) so ‘road food’ drive-through type eats are the norm. Someone prefers McDonalds; I like Burger King, but as he is The Driver we do the former. Once in a while when there is no rest area we stop at one of those trucker’s resorts to refresh Someone’s fountain drink and pass through the store to see if there are any ‘road treats’. One tries not to get anything too crumbly lest the car becomes nasty. Gummi bears are appreciated as are Pringles**, something never eaten except on road trips. 

Einstein’s third theory of relatively (after General and Specific) is Road relatively: Driver and Passenger arrive at the destination at the same time but experience different timelines doing so. Dr. P, engrossed in his Ghost Bag, looks up to only realize we are halfway through New Mexico while Mr. D is wondering when will we ever get to Arizona. Time always slows down mightily when one is in need of a rest area. 

With hours of driving you would think it would be a good opportunity to discuss erudite and cosmic things like where are we figuratively going in Life. This never happens. We discuss where we want to eat dinner, usually soon after eating lunch.***  Sometimes we discuss what is the next trip on the drive home on the present one.  Mostly we keep quiet and listen to podcasts. I sometimes nap when the dwam is intense.  

Someday I would like to do a Road Trip with no specific destination or time restraint to it. I suppose in a way that is Life, but I will settle for a drive say to The Pacific Northwest. I daresay it will require a very large Ghost Bag but I’m up to it.  I trust there will be sufficient rest areas along the way. 

*Knowing where is the next rest stop is quite important as Someone always consumes large fountain drinks on the road. Oh the pain. 

**These ersatz edibles don’t make as much mess as nasty chips out of the bag. Afterwards one can bop Someone on his right thigh as he drives when he shows signs of nodding off.  Jolly good fun! 

***This is called “Shannon’s Law”, named after Someone’s mother, who often brought up what to do about the next meal right after finishing the present one.