Part Four of our Travel Special!
Part One: Flying the Friendly Skies
Part Two: London for Singletons
Part Three: Italy for Couples
You're Driving Me Crazy:
Roadtripping for Love
or, Well, Here's One Way to Get Out of a Long-Distance Relationship...
by Joshua Allen
We're all spending our summer doing a wide variety of monotonous
tasks, and buried within that monotony, like a painful splinter, is the
heartache of desire for someone far away.
That splinter throbs on days like these, when it seems ridiculously dark and
airless inside and ridiculously bright and alive outside. Dogs are barking!
Babies are laughing! Skin is being tanned
and ice cream is being licked and somewhere out there is the source of that
desire and I'm here to tell you that there's no better time to drop what you're
doing and hunt that source down.
Friends, I'm talking about Roadtripping for Love.
about the roadtrips you've been on. Making the trek to school? Moving to a new
town because of work? Spring
Break 2000? Zzz. Oh, I'm sure they were mind-blowing and meaningful and
whatnot, but for a roadtrip to have real flavor, you need a goal, and that goal
needs to be both Personally Important and Potentially Ill-Advised. Only when
love is that goal do you get the real one-two punch of lust
and danger, the essential ingredients to any journey that will truly live
on in your memory.
Be Careful of Your Blind Spot
I'll be the first to admit that this is sketchy advice. One morning a few months
ago, I got up, quit my job, threw away most of my belongings, packed up the
rest in my car, and drove from San Francisco to Philadelphia ... for love.
Can you believe that nonsense? Now, you may not be ready for that level of commitment
to the roadtrip experience, so allow me to recommend a few warm-ups:
The Small World Roadtrip
This old chestnut is just a grandiose variation
on an old theme: "I just happened
to be in the neighborhood." Sure, some people might be flattered that you
drove 3,000 miles just to see them and declare your true feelings, but most
encounters, in my experience, have gone more like this:
YOU: [wilted daisy in hand] Sweetheart, I have crossed great deserts and
vast oceans to see you once ag--
THEM: And how did you get my address?
YOU: Baby, baby, please, don't do me like this...
THEM: I'm giving you to the count of two to get off my front porch.
Why taint your visit with the stench
of desperation? Play it like you just happened to be in town when you remembered
that your soulmate lived nearby:
YOU: Hey! What a small world! I was just driving through and I just happened
to see your car! I knew it had to be you, what with that old "Picard/Riker
sticker! You're looking fantastic! Almost unbearably attractive!
THEM: Your serendipitous arrival in my life must be the work of Fate. Already
you are filling the aching emptiness that's been threatening to consume me
since we last saw each other. Please love me. Nurture our love and let it
grow into a blinding, white-hot flame.
The Homecoming Roadtrip
A popular variant, this one involves a voyage back home to see the folks
and hunting down that high school sweetheart in an effort to relive glory days
and/or avenge long-buried traumas. The key here is that even if you live in
a squalid suburb of Squatsville, you're still the Outsider, the Romantic Wanderer
who's been out to see the world and
is now back to tell your tale.
Another benefit, common to many of these low-end Love Roadtrips, is ye olde
"I've only got 12 hours of shore leave, baby, so let's make the most of it" expiration date. If it doesn't
work out, well, you'll be hitting the road again tomorrow and can put the whole
ugly encounter behind you.
The Awkward Internet Love Roadtrip
You met in a chatroom. You exchanged
prolix, lascivious emails. You swapped digitally enhanced (or perhaps completely
false) photographs. Now it's time to take it to the next level: The in-person
Can there be a more nerve-wracking Roadtrip d'Amour then the one where you're
going to spend a weekend with someone with whom you've shared your innermost
thoughts and secrets and desires, but never actually met? What if their online
persona was merely a manifestation of one of their 19
sociopathic personalities? What if they decide your back
hair is no longer "adorable"?
Just remember to have at least three escape routes ready. In extreme cases,
you can always have someone call you on your cell phone in the middle of the
initial meeting. If you don't have a cell phone, be familiar with the primary
of appendicitis and be prepared to use them.
Son, Let Me Show You How to Drive...
There are other examples of the Love Roadtrip, including Hitchhiking to Destiny,
Rearview Mirror Eye Contact, and I
Think The Motel Maid Likes Me. But if you really want to "get extreme,"
as they say, you should forget this kid's stuff. Follow in my tire treads and
go for the...
Life Change Love Roadtrip.
I blazed across the country, radio stations squealing and exploding into static,
the floorboards strewn with half-eaten sticks of beef jerky, all my worldly
belongings violently knocking together with every pothole, my knuckles white,
my eyes red, my jaw clenched -- I was truly alive. Sure, it was a feverish,
insane version of being alive, but there's nothing wrong with that if it only
lasts for a week or so.
But before you can embark on such a journey, you'll need the following:
- An operational stereo system. I can't stress enough the importance of having
a ready supply of mix tapes. As you know, mix tapes
are especially effective for both roadtrips and expressing those romantic
feelings, so here is a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one 90-minute
- Beef jerky.
- A valid driver's license. Might seem obvious, but I forgot this item and
came to regret it.
- Tunnel vision. You can't drive mile after mile while being plagued with
concerns like, "What if she doesn't feel the same way?" or maybe "For the
love of god what have I done?" Stay focused, use your obsessive nature for
good instead of evil.
- The intestinal fortitude to throw your entire life away and start
over someplace else.
- Comfortable shoes. Remember that it's illegal to drive barefoot. I forgot
this and came to regret it.
- Some bottled water.
Yes, the Love Roadtrip is risky. Yes, it could all backfire. Yes, people might
think you're crazy. But screw all that. You can't deny the aching intensity
of steering three tons of vibrating machinery into that greatest of unknowns.
You're here, the person you love is way over there. Do you want to spend the
rest of your days wondering what could have been?
Get in the car and close that gap.
Joshua Allen is the dark and turbid genius behind the suspiciously convenient
Fireland Text Products. When last spotted
at the Big To Do, he diagrammed Love in the Burbs.
His personal favorite gameshow has no survivors.
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