Growing up, before embarking on any long road trip your dad would check the fluid levels of the car, inspect the tires, review the route, and rig an intricate system for configuring the luggage. Anything left was tied to the roof or hung off the back. At 29, you find you have inherited some of these tendencies. Along with your mother’s habit of always packing for perhaps.
A few nights before you depart for a 2,500 mile loop around Nevada, you set aside your tent, sleeping bag and pad, Swiss Army knife (that you will eventually forget), mess kit, two first aid kits, long underwear, running shoes, emergency rain gear, two cell phone chargers, extra bike tire tubes, three sundresses, fishnets, and a pair of stilettos. Just in case.
You make a checklist for groceries. Examine your car registration and insurance stubs. Run to the bank. And plot your course. Sort of. Enough to know where you might go and what you might see, but leaving a whole lot of unknown to discover in between. And when it seems you don’t have anything left to worry about, you can finally address what is really on your mind. You roll over, throw your hand over your road tripping partner’s chest and say, “I wonder what our first fight will be about.”
He smiles with eyes still closed, “I thought about that.”
You smile back even though he doesn’t see it. “I hope we don’t fight. I don’t think we will.”
You consider the possibilities. Directions? How you kept nagging about needing a tarp. And rope. His music? Your boys with guitar CDs? Then you wonder, do people actually fight about stuff like that? What if you run out of things to talk about? What if you talk about things you shouldn’t?
“We will be fine as long as you don’t get hungry and I don’t get cold,” you finally say.
The next day you send him an email warning about your need for frequent pit stops. You have great kidneys you insist. You confess you like milkshakes and burgers and sometimes get carsick on winding roads. You tell him you are going to want to pull over when you see something pretty.
He admits he likes the window down when the pace is slow. Is susceptible to speeding and driving long distances without stopping. He says he is not opposed to pausing for stone throwing contests, taking pictures or dancing. He just doesn’t always think of it first.
You smile and type: I think we will be a good match.