A road trip always sounds like a good idea, right? Well, that’s until you’ve been driving for hours and hours with friends you thought you’d never get sick of (how can anyone have to pee THAT OFTEN?!). The longest I’ve ever had to spend in the car with my friends has been on the way to Bonnaroo– about 10 hours of shouting and sleeping and pretending I was sleeping so I wouldn’t have to drive.
Now I am facing a bigger journey, one for which many other college-age idiots may also be packing: a road trip to Florida. Clocking in at double the time it takes to get to Bonnaroo, the spring break exodus to random warm weather Airbnbs will be quite the trip. Unlike the drive to a music festival, the playlist doesn’t really make itself. It’s so easy to just throw together a couple of songs from each artist and end up with almost 20 hours of music, but what do you do for spring break? Now, I’d like to take a minute and map out how I imagine this drive might go. I imagine a few phases…
This first portion of any long drive is full of energy. You’re excited about the destination, but have not yet endured the harrowing journey. So, these hours will probably be filled with potentially cliché driving songs (I’m looking at you “Life is a Highway”). There’s nothing wrong with that. This will be the happiest yelling of the entire trip, so please loudly sing the old-ish songs that everyone knows (I’m sensing a lot of Queen and maybe TLC’s “Waterfalls”).
Phase 2 is by far my favorite. Here is where you blast every sing-along from the early 2000s, or any other odd song that makes you happy and nostalgic. I don’t even need to explain this part. It is pure joy and all downhill from here.
I didn’t really know where to put this part, because it’s actually a few phases rolled into one. Phase 3 occurs for a while during each driver’s turn behind the wheel. This is when they, as the driver, first take control over the aux cord and completely change the vibe. It’s fine, it will end eventually (also, I’m not trashing anyone, I too will be guilty of this). When I switch up the mood, people will either be lulled to sleep or make me turn it down. It all depends on the exact positioning of the sun in the sky (kidding… kind of).
We’re over the halfway hump, most passengers have slept so much they can’t sleep anymore, and every song in the history of music has come out of those speakers. There is nothing left to play, nothing left to listen to (except maybe your own screaming), and no new tweets to read. At this stage of the trip, depending on whoever is awake, it may be time to do something drastic. I now call upon my childhood car rides with my parents, not even a little embarrassed to say that listening to an entire musical can really do the trick (okay, maybe a little embarrassed).
Complete silence. Please, if I hear one single sound I will literally freak out. Also, no one tells anyone that a car full of 20 somethings just scream-sang the entirety of Wicked, Les Miserables, and Mama Mia. We must now be quiet. Listen to a podcast or watch a movie on your own, but dear god no one talk or look me in the eyes.
After an hour or so of everyone plugging in headphones and sitting quietly, we are finally ready to pee our pants. After pulling over, with no songs in mind, we turn to the radio, flipping through channels for a while and drifting in and out of slumber.
The Final Phase…
Here we are, the last hour (ish) of the trip. There were ups, there were downs, there were awkward silences, but now it is finally here. The excitement from the beginning of the drive has returned and comes to life in this last stretch of highway. The weather is warm and the air is salty (or maybe that’s just everyone in the car… it’s been a while since anyone has showered). Here is the party song phase. Whatever gets the friend group hyped up is what gets played now. If you don’t roll into the Airbnb driveway with the windows down and the volume up, it has not been a successful road trip.
We started with clichés, so why not end with one too.