I’m in the car with my middle son Evan heading up to UVM.
He’s driving and eating potato chips and drinking soda and only has one hand on the wheel.
We’re going 70 mph.
I try not to watch the road. I look at the trees, the mountains, the steeples in villages. I see big white rolls of hay like marshmallows lined up across a field.
An obnoxious car, getting off at the next exit, zooms in front and cuts us off. My hand grabs the door. I am now trying to steer the car with my energy; to slow it down.
I regret that I didn’t bring my knitting. I only have a tiny pad of paper for writing notes.
Evan glances down at his ipod to pick a song. I tell him NOT TO. He says he isn’t looking. I tell my same story about hitting the deer; it only takes a second, sometimes they jump out in front of you from nowhere.
Miranda, catching a ride up to see Alec, takes a picture from the back seat.
******* Evan *******
I am driving directly centered in between the two lines on either side of the car, going roughly 10 miles over the speed limit, a common practice on the highway when intending to reach your destination faster than google maps has predicted.
I reach a slight turn on the highway and in my peripheral vision I witness my mom engage in a death grip on the door handle, shortly followed by a classic “SLOW DOWN”.
I try to ignore my moms delusional nonsense, because this is realistic, this is how people drive, but in my moms eyes, this will be her last road trip, ever, because anything can happen, and this is most likely the time and place, where after a year and a half of driving, I am randomly going to go off the road.
Later in the ride I attempt to change the music. Instantly my mom says “You’re not really gonna use that thing now are you?” I tell her I am only changing the song, only looking away from the road for an eighth of a second, even though I have witnessed her looking away from the road for an equal, or longer, amount of time. The conversation ends with “you can never look away from the road ever, anything could jump out or on the car”.
Moments after departure, the boredom sets in. We’re passing picturesque views, but it doesn’t matter. I’m jaded. Boredom is all-consuming. The first hour at least is uneventful.
Maybe halfway through we’re at a rest stop and I get a cup of black tea. I sip the tea incessantly once it cools because there is nothing else to do. By the time the cup is empty, I have never had to pee more in my life.
I decide not to say anything, I just want to reach the destination. At least trying to convince myself that I don’t have to pee helps to stave off the boredom.
Evan aggressively engages his mom in a discussion on driving safety. “You’re saying I can’t take my eyes off the road for an eighth of a second. Will an eighth of a second make a difference?!”
Of course it will. I’m not getting involved.