Disclaimer: The following in about 92% true. This is based upon the inadequacy of my own memory, varying levels of insomnia-induced confusion and personal tendencies towards hyperbole. Please don't take any of it too seriously - the stories, yourself or life in general.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things To Do While Driving Through The Empty Plains

Anyone who has driven the vast stretches of empty space, prairie and farmland that comprises the Great Plains of America will understand.  And most of you will know what I mean when I say that there are times when an entire song will play on the ipod and you will realize that, albeit the fact that you have been starring at the road the entire time, you have not really looked at the road for the duration of the song.  This empty, straight road, devoid of other drivers, provides you with ample time and ability to perform myriad meaningless task behind the wheel.

1. Read the map.  I mean really read the map.  When you really read the map you discover town with names like Fairplay, Last Chance, No Name, Slickpoo, Zaza, Hungry Horse, Lolo, Cut Bank and even Hell (Michigan).  You learn about mountain ranges and lakes, national monuments and national parks.  One time I read the map for ten minutes in eastern Wyoming and realized that I should check in with the road before continuing to study the map.

2. File your nails.  Yes, this sounds unnecessarily girly and very anti-feminist of me.  But trust me, when you've been driving for throaty-seven odd hours and have nothing to look at but trucks, prairies, the hood of your car and your hands on the steering wheel, eliminating ragged nails become an obsession.  And since driving requires little or no attention, filing is easy.

3. Eat.  You could actually set up a TV table with a full steak dinner and enjoy it without disrupting your drive.  Nonetheless, on the road, all you're likely to come by is Arby's or Subway, McDonald's or Burger King.

4. Change drivers.  I've done it.  Cruise control makes many things possible.

5. Read a book.  Or, for those who prefer pictures to words, watch a movie.  While I've never tried either, I know people who rent a stack of DVDs before any long road trip.  This makes you question the safety of the roads more than you already do doesn't it?

6. Take a nap.  Ok, just kidding.

7. Watch other drivers.  You will never believe the things you see people doing in cars.  I've seen people applying make-up.  Not just lip gloss but full blown foundation, concealer, eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow.  Like my mother always said, "Careful you could poke an eye out."  I've seen people reading books.  Probably just tourist book and not entire novels but nonetheless, truly engrossed in books.  I've seen more nose-pickers, family-jewel-adjusters, clothes-changes and eyelash-getter-outters than I can count.  But what really takes the cake is when you look at a passing car or glance in your rear view mirror and see a lone driver behind you.  And then, just like that, there are two people in the car behind you.  A guy and a girl.  Priceless.

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