Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

The Anatomy of a Road Trip

I love to drive.

There is nothing more satisfying than cranking up whatever stupid song is on the radio (or my creative nowadays) and singing/screaming along the road. It's a therapuetic thing, spending quality time with yourself and performing for no one's sake but your own. The road offers an endless supply of entertainment for me. From checking the foliage or crazy sky formations, to people-watching, to trying to find that dream house, to determining the quickest route between two points, I enjoy it all.

The five years I lived in New York between 2000 and 2005, that was only one thing I lamented about city life. I wasn't able to afford a car. Actually, I couldn't afford the freaking insurance. I don't know why some companies charged over $4000 a year to insure a crappy car in Brooklyn. Who cares if the borough has one of the highest frequencies of grand theft auto (the crime, not the game) in the country? There's no way a sane working-class human can afford that shit.

But in December 2005, several planets aligned to let me own a vehicle. My generous brother was in the market for a new car and was fairly certain he wouldn't be able to get very much for selling his 1989 Volvo station wagon. So he let me have it. Upon checking inurance quotes, I realised 3 things which drove the price down considerably.
  1. I was over 25.
  2. I was married.
  3. I had no moving violations in the past 5 years (this was because I hadn't owned a car, not because I was a good driver. More on that later.)
After pushing the paperwork through the annoying bureaucracy of Geico, the DMV, AAA, and the Polish guy who passed the Volvo through the NY State inspection, Sparky took up residence on the streets of Williamsburg. The name comes from the various wires poking out all over the interior, remnants of my brother's various wiring projects. He's a fiesty bastard, Sparky, but he kicks enough shit for me to love him.

With the myriad of public transportation available in NYC, I always thought that owning a car was a superfluous endeavor. I WAS DEAD WRONG. My life has dramatically changed for the better since Sparky came into it. It's easier to get around with a car. I still take the subway to work in Manhattan, but if I have to go to a basketball game, or play D&D at night I always drive in. Parking can suck, but once you master the basics of cutthroat space scanning, you're fine. I know exactly how long 10 feet from a fire hydrant looks from a block away.

And Sparky makes weekend jaunts so much easier. In order to go to the nearest beach that wasn't Coney Island, we would have to take the subway to Penn Station and then ride an hour on the LIRR to make it to Long Beach, where meatballs white hats and skanky women (not that bad of thing really) abound. The return trips were never fun, sitting on a far too heavily air conditioned train in wet shorts while rubbing aloe into your badly burned face. But now with the car, I can drive to Jones Beach, suck in the morning sun and get back to the city while hopefully avoiding the traffic on the LIE.

I like that I have a Volvo station wagon, too. I had a bunch of friends in high school with old volvos and I will always associate them with being 18 and reckless. They have so much character. Boxy but good. And they fucking last forever. When my brother gave me this one, the odometer read 289,000 miles. That's a lot of freaking miles. After almost a year and a half, it's got 298,400. I've said that all I want to do is break 300,000 and then Sparky can die a happy death. I think one good road trip might do it.

Which is what this blog is all about. This weekend, a couple of friends and I are departing on the next great road trip of our young lives, or The Death of Sparky, whichever comes first. My only plan was to go south and chase the sun. We've got a place to stay in DC on Friday night, and then it's up in the air as to where we'll end up. I see myself on a beach in VA as the sun goes down on another Saturday. Whereever it is, it will be somewhere I've never been before, and that alone is a reason to go.

This week we'll make the preparations. I bought a case of oil (Sparky's been drinking the stuff lately,) and a wiffle ball bat. I'll throw a few tee shirts in a bag and my digital camera will have all it's memory sticks clean. There will be plenty of reading material and all three of us will have our mp3 players. I'm sure somebody will bring the evergreen and the road sodas. After work on Friday, we depart for destiny.

And we're not coming
back till the 'meter reads 300k.


Rain Delay said...

Oh we are coming... or going or whatever... And just so we are all clear, the proprietor of our place to stay in DC only wants us to refer to him as Jesus from here on out. (I believe this is in the Big Lebowski sense and not in the Son of God sense... but then again, does it really matter?)

This roadtrip is for all the Volvo's out there that never got a chance... BLUE YOU MY BOY!!!

Britt said...

I wish you the best adventure. Might I recomend Virginia Beach. It is a great ride down, 6.5 hours. Amazing sun rises. Bring a tent, if you really plan on the Volvo dieing. Pitch it near the beach, and enjoy the life!!!

Bob Jingle said...

Oh there will be tents. Just in case. Plus it's cheaper to pitch a tent than to pay for hotels.

And Rain Delay, make sure you bring the composition book for the up to the minute journal entries. If oyu don't post it, I will.

MostlyModest said...

Sounds like a trip worthy of the name Feel Good, Inc.

"City's breaking down on a camel's back.
They just have to go 'cause they don't know when
So all you fill the streets it's appealing to see
You wont get out the county, 'cos you're bad and free."