In Defense of the Car Ride


March 25, 2013 by kmwelden

I’m writing this because it has recently been brought to my attention that I graduated high school four years ago now (wow, Kaitlyn, someone had to bring that to your attention? Can you even do math? Hey! Shut up, negative reader! Take your genius brain elsewhere). 

Anyway, I was doing some thinking about my favorite high school activities. I was pretty  very straight-laced. The most rebellious thing I did was make a secret My Space profile when my mom banned me from the site so I wouldn’t get abducted, citing “that one time you and your sister were talking to strangers on that Survivor fan-club chat-room. You could have been killed!” Well, my mom found my “secret” profile when I left it open on the family computer, and I was grounded for a week. This was the only time I’ve ever been grounded, and it happened to fall on my birthday. Super lame. 

Anyway, because I was not hood-ratting around at high school parties, my favorite activity was driving around with my friends. Nowadays (yes, I said nowadays, because I am four years removed and therefore practically a geriatric), I think people only view their car as a way to get from one place to another. And yes! This is a perfectly acceptable (and practical) function of a car, but I can’t help but remember what it was like when a car was so much more than the vehicle to get to the fun. The car was the fun. 

My friends and I used to drive up and down Atlantic Avenue– the road right along the beach in Garden City– and blast our music with all the windows down. Most of my best memories take place along that road, blaring The Rocket Summer or Taking Back Sunday or Mariah Carey or any of the bands du-jour in Isley’s white Jeep Grand Cherokee. My sister and I used to play a game where we drove along Atlantic and rolled down all the windows and screamed our secrets at the ocean. All of these escapades ended with a trip to Sonic, where we sat in the car and drank slushes for hours. These are some of memories from high school that I treasure the most. 

Vehicle-related nostalgia aside, I think far too often I don’t value the journey of getting from place to place. I sit in traffic and grow so frustrated, even when I’m not in any sort of time crunch.

Kaitlyn-from-four-years-ago would shake her head at me. Dude, she would say (I think that if I met another version of myself, we would most certainly call each other ‘dude’) Relax. You weaving in and out of traffic isn’t going to make you go anywhere any faster. At least you aren’t stuck riding in a silent car with your mom, because she’s incapable of driving and listening to music at the same time. Put on Your Favorite Weapon on full blast please. Take it easy. This is fun. 

I think as we get older, we are conditioned to appreciate the journey less and less. We are so focused on completing tasks, we forget that sometimes the process is just as important.

I invite you all to just go get in your cars and drive around aimlessly sometime this week. Reframe your drives. Blast your favorite music and remember what it was like when you first got your driver’s license and the world seemed bigger than it ever had before (I happen to remember that “Smile” by Lily Allen was the first song I listened too while driving in a car all by myself. I waited until I rounded the turn on my street, out of the eyeshot of my worried parents in the driveway, before turning the volume up all the way up and rolling all the windows down. Certified bad-ass here, people, running around blasting Lily Allen). 

Enjoy your journeys this week– they can be adventures, too. 



PS- this is what I’ve been blasting on my car rides this week:


5 thoughts on “In Defense of the Car Ride

  1. Isley Arruda says:

    We never get to ride in my Jeep ever again. So sad.

  2. Jessica Hotzelt says:

    So true about your mom not being able drive and listen to the radio. So happy for safe and sober drivers!!

    Also I read this blog in your voice and I laugh at least four times out loud!!

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