It was exhilarating and a little terrifying, and it only lasted about ten minutes. Tristan, the friend I’m visiting, took us on a country drive, that most American of activities. We went along county roads so overlooked they didn’t have painted lines on them, and were only wide enough for traffic to go each way if both drivers were polite and neither had a very big car. Corn lined both sides of the road, interspersed with mailboxes and deciduous trees.
She finally found a place to turn around at a small junction, marked by the Countryside Restaurant and the Broken Spoke Roadhouse, the biggest buildings for miles. Once we were back on the quiet road facing the other way, she pulled onto the grass and made me switch seats with her. It’s the first time I’ve driven, something I’ve been meaning to learn to do for years but never gotten around to.
With my death grip on 10 and 2, I managed to stay in my lane for the most part, and even managed to pass a truck going the other way. Tristan threatens that next time we’ll go at night, and I’ll actually have to stop at a stop sign.
Driving and the road compass a huge part of the American journey to adult-hood. One of the iconic works of the 50s and, really, the entire twentieth century, was On The Road. The act of it occupies a huge place in the American psyche, and I’m starting to learn, which makes me very happy.