Essays

10 WAYS TO PASS THE TIME ON A LONG CAR TRIP WITH YOUR PARENTS AND THREE OLDER SIBLINGS (IN THE 1970s)

  1. Spot license plates from other states. When this gets boring (after 3 minutes), read road signs out loud, at top volume, until your dad says his patented, “The next kid who says ANYTHING is going to get tied to the top of the car with his mouth propped open to catch flies!”indoor-swimming-pool-735309_1920
  1. Speculate about the swimming pool at the hotel where you’re stopping that night, half way from your home in rural central Illinois to your grandparents’ house in Pennsylvania. “I bet it’ll have a big slide!” “You’d be too chicken to go down a big slide anyway.” “Nu-uh!” “Maybe it’ll have a whirlpool!” “Maybe there will be a floating island in the middle with real mermaids and talking fish swimming around and a bar where you can get chocolate cake and milk and then ride a dolphin back to the other side and…” “Little kids.”
  1. Play tic-tac-toe. When you’re the youngest, you will always lose. But keep playing anyway, hopelessly, because that’s better than staring out the window wondering when you’re going to be there. game-944386_1920
  1. Get the giggles. This always goes over well when you have just gotten to a big city and there are still a couple of hours left to drive for the day and your dad is fuming behind the steering wheel because you’re stuck in traffic. Try hard to stifle the sounds of your giggling, which will ensure that your next eruption of laughter is even louder and more uncontrollable, like when you try to hold an inflated beach ball under the water and finally let it go.
  1. Pretend to have a conversation with your sibling in another language, even though no one in the car actually speaks any language other than English. See how long you can go on before your mother asks, “Have you both gone insane?”
  1. Take turns saying, “I’m hungry,” “I’m thirsty,” “I have to go to the bathroom” because when the parents get frustrated with all four of you, it’s not nearly as bad as when just one of you gets in trouble.
  1. Ask your teenaged sister what she’s reading. Every five minutes.
  1. Play the “You’ve got a spider in your hair!” game. Bonus if someone actually DOES have a bug in their hair, but doesn’t believe you because you’ve been playing the game too long.
  1. Understand that the front seat of the 1972 blue Dodge station wagon is a different universe from the back seat (and the “back back”). In the front seat, “fun” actually means “screwing around” and “relaxing” means “boring silence.”car-26559_1280
  1. When all else fails, lean your head against the cold glass of the window and, when you wake up, wonder how you got out of the car and into bed, how you got this far at all, how you possibly slept through the arrival that was so very long in coming.

4 replies »

  1. Well
    You can also irritate other people on road..
    The worst yet the most irritating thing to say to other riders is,”dude, your car’s wheels are rotating” :p
    Childhood fun

  2. the 1972 blue Dodge station wagon: DODGE BROTHERS are in my mind when i see the name : they were the first associates with mister HENRY FORD : more that a legend for us in FRANCE !!!