By: Anne T. Donahue
My favourite adventures are road-trip based. Plans are fine and trains are cool (and boats are terrifying), but as a control freak who likes to snack, talk, and stop at every store and restaurant I pass, I live for summertime in the car with pals.
The thing is, there are rules to be followed. And because I love rules as much as road trips (I’m a fun person), these are mine. You’re welcome in advance, and also please just offer to buy me one coffee if you’re the friend I’m driving to Niagara Falls with.
Please just offer to pay for gas or breakfast or something
I hate accepting gifts unless they’re physical presents I have to unwrap. Am I a child? Absolutely. But I am also that weirdo who thinks that if I take you up on your offer of breakfast or lunch or a squeegee at the gas station, you will think I only keep you around to score free stuff from. (Is a squeegee a “score”? Oh, for sure it is.) But at least offer. Offer to help with gas. Offer to grab a bottle of Perrier. Refuse to put our donuts and coffee on two separate bills because “Jesus Christ, it’s two dollars, Anne!” Just offer. Because if you don’t, I will tally everything in my head and, like the worst person alive, eventually sit quietly in judgement because the least you could’ve done is pay for my admission to that train museum I dragged you to.
Okay, fine, please buy me a coffee
Because typing this, I just realized that I would love one, thanks.
Don’t spring a “I have to be back in two hours!” surprise
I mean, what is that? Why would you do this? Where do you think we can go in two hours? Do you want to walk around your neighbourhood? Is that what you want? Is this an excuse for me to drive you to the grocery store? Am I uncool for having cleared the day like a real friend? Why wouldn’t you just ask to reschedule? What are you even doing tonight? A BBQ? Are you kidding me? For “some guy”? Get out of here. No, seriously, get out of my car. We’re three minutes away from your house, which is the maximum distance we can go in our short-ass time limit. I’ll see you in hell.
Prepare yourself to take and be in an obscene amount of photos
This is what road trips are for. Road trips are not about being cool or hip or whatever you’re supposed to be if you’re a hip, cool person. Road trips are for fun. Road trips are why I dragged my friend Amanda to meet a famous groundhog once. Road trips are why I made my friend Sara come with me to Fort George on the hottest day of the year. Road trips are the justification for a full-fledged photo shoot at an arcade in Niagara with my friend Mina. Road trips are beautiful, brilliant entities to themselves, and they are never – under any circumstances – meant to be anything but kitschy and ridiculous.
Accept the worst (best) music
Imagine getting into someone’s car for a long drive and they’re listening to Bon Iver. First, I would assume (and rightfully) that I was being driven someplace morose, likely to my depressing death. Second, I would calmly open the car door and roll out because that would be more fun than listening to anything that isn’t Spice Girls or Top 40 from 1999. Goodbye.
Prepare for the worst
Which, of course, I mean “you’ve eaten way too much of a food you can’t eat and now the question is whether this is a bathroom or pull-over-to-the-side-and-pray type” of situation. So bring Pepto Bismol. Have Gravol at the ready. Do not skimp on the Imodium. If, for any reason, you think you’re above Advil, you will need it more than anybody. This isn’t a drill; this is a road trip. It is a fun adventure that could morph into a living nightmare with only the sampling of too many ice creams. Look alive. Or you will not be. (Just kidding, you will be: but honestly if you’ve ever been carsick before, you know it makes you pray for death.)
Do what I say
And this is actually a rule for life. But in terms of road trips, please just listen to my instructions. Please pass me those chips. Please read me the texts you’re sending your crush. Please do not ask why I’m pulling into the outlet mall again. Please do not tell me that I’ve already spent everything and that you’re tired and can we go home. No, we can’t. Your dinner is the leftover Cheetos. And you can either come with me to look for more discounted socks, or you can stay in the car and listen to Spice Girls for the 52nd time. The choice is yours. But please, I beg you, just do what I say.