I am the conversation driver, not in that I’m the powerhouse behind the conversation or the one keeping it going, but I’ll steer it away from danger. Someone’s going on a political rant? Now we’re debating Funyuns vs. Fritos. Someone’s making the driver want to take us off a bridge? Time for k-pop karaoke. Everyone’s falling asleep? Guess whose monotone voice is lulling these babies off to dreamland while he takes the wheel.
When the crew is me, my wife, and the dog I am the driver, pointer outer of horses/cows and provider of fun, non-political, anger-inducing podcasts.
When it’s friends, I tend to be the gamemaster. I suggest and explain 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, Zich Dog, or a game that my wife and I invented where you use the letters on a license plate as an anagram to create a word or phrase. So if I see a plate that’s 333 ELZ, I would come up with Euphoric Lithuanian Zebra. Everyone is a winner.
I’m going halvsies. Half the time I’m the co-pilot conversation driver—and I say copilot because I inherited my mum’s very Irish-American ability to steer the convo off with tangent after tangent that eventually loops back to the point of me telling a story in the first place.
The other half? I’m staring out the window listening to music (back in the olden days, on a portable CD player).
Josh here, signing up for snack duty, a vital job for any good road trip. And I don’t take my responsibility, or my snacks, lightly. I know the importance of having a variety of options from sweet to savory and from skimpy to substantial. TRUE STORY: In preparation for a recent 4 hour drive for only 2 people, I packed the car with breakfast bars, fruit leather, peanut butter pretzels, Cheez-Its, bananas, and cookies.
But wait, there’s more I am willing to offer as your snack sherpa! I’ll also pick up the tab on bevs and will be happy to dole them out in single servings so we don’t need to make extra stops for bathrooms!
Josh, I need you to remind me to stop buying Combos to eat on road trips.
Long drive you say? Moon on over Memphis Raines, I’ll take the wheel. Like a true Masshole, every drive is a race to beat the Google time prediction, every alternate route is an opportunity to save 10 seconds, and every stop at the gas station is a NASCAR pitstop. Is that the 5-0? I’ll also double as the sweet talker to get us out of any potential speeding tickets.
I was once given “Best Navigator” as a superlative for club soccer in college, and I will cling to this piece of recognition until I die.
Since Dennis already claimed gamemaster, I guess that leaves me with the important job of Wikipedia Reader-in-Chief. Headed to a ski chalet in Vermont? I’ll tell you all about the Appalachian Mountains (and we’ll all be delighted when we learn that the Adirondacks came up during a different geological timeline). Why, that one time, did everybody think Paul McCartney was dead? What’s the name of that place that demarcates where water flows west to the Pacific and east to the Atlantic? What inspired the Lewis and Clark Expedition? Hold up, Meriwether Lewis isn’t a girl?!
If you’d like to apply to be Wikipedia Reader-in-Chief for your upcoming travel plans, I’d recommend you practice inflection and consider making a small donation to the Wikimedia Foundation to keep the lights on.
Let’s say you just took Exit 313 off I-81, in search of a convenience store. Problem is, you see signs for four different gas stations, all within a half mile. How do you choose? Call me, the Convenience Store Concierge. As a person who’s lived in multiple fireworks tents on multiple empty lots next to multiple gas stations, I am intimately familiar with the inner and outer 24-hour workings of the American convenience store, and fully prepared to make recommendations based on whatever reason you’ve been dragged you off the highway—snacks, toiletries, wiper blades, cheap aviator sunglasses, regional gag gifts, a pressing need for a periodical which shames people who’ve recently been arrested, or just plain old local flavor. The answer isn’t always [Sheetz / Wawa / Royal Farms / Quik Trip], people! Unless you need to shit. In which case, yes. The more likely to be owned by a Mormon family, the better.
Regulators Mount Up! While the hubs is in control of the steering, we all know who the real navigator is, but I’d never steal the spotlight. He will ultimately be so preoccupied controlling the music that even with the navigation on the screen screaming the next move, he will miss each turn. Instead, I will chime in upcoming mile markers while bending like a pretzel to the backseat to fix any iPad issues and control snack flow while keeping an eye on rest stop locations so I can determine to best upcoming options for the inevitable “I have to poop” announcement from the backseat. Smooth and steady wins the race and this regulator keeps the calm on the road 😉