Road trippin’: I gotchahome

By Tim Rath and Joe Guzman

Web Editor and Senior Reporter

The end of the winter semester means many different things to different people. For some, it signifies the beginning of an arduous journey of summer-specific work, for others, the fireworks of studying abroad. Still, finals week is the kick-start to the majesty of the road trip.

However, the road trip isn’t based in exact, uniform emotions for all the participants. Some see the road trip as encompassing the entire journey, whereas for others it’s all about the destination. For those wayward souls caught in the wind-like plastic sacks, the unpredictability of the open road blinds them to the distant goal. For those driven by destination, the end of the drive actually signifies the beginning of their trip.

The backseat driver represents a roadblock for the actual driver. In his urge to the voyage, the backseat driver shoves disease-ridden needles into the neck of the actual driver with every piece of unwarranted advice as the actual driver attempts to remain focused on the road like a hawk on Ambien.

That will be the topic of a point-counterpoint debate, with web editor Tim Rath taking the pro-backseat-driver point and senior reporter Joe Guzman taking the anti-backseat-driver counterpoint.

Joe: It’s obvious, Tim, that backseat drivers are the scourge of the road. Driving is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship. We’re not here to get everyone’s vote on how fast to go, what direction to take, when to stop and eat, or which AC/DC album makes the best open-road soundtrack. You don’t need to respect my authority, just fear that I have the wheel and realize that at any moment the car could go flying off an overpass.

Road trips are not coke trips. I am not booking a hotel days in advance, packing up a bag full of clothes, or scheduling the time to leave point A and arrive at point B for the sake of clearing my head. The open road is simply an obstacle toward my destination, so Tim, spare me the cooing of your hippie prose from the backseat. It just adds to the pain of cornfields and roadkill.

Tim: Joey, I realize that the open road isn’t all fun and games. I’m not tossing and turning like a crack baby in a cold hallway as I try to sleep in the backseat for my own amusement. Road tripping is an investment, a test of our endurance, and to pretend that such a time-consuming part of our plan only exists in our minds is a fruitless endeavor.

You’re missing out on all of the fun from your seat on “the throne” up front. You will never know the feeling of satisfaction that comes from filling up each cup holder in a vehicle with a cup, nor the sweet stroke of a blistering wind as you lean out of a window at 90 miles per hour. Go back to math class and leave the spring breaking to a pro.

Joe: First off Timmy, the name’s Joe, use it, remember it, and never forget it. Second, I apologize. My idea of fun doesn’t consist of being the bitch, sandwiched in the middle of the backseat for god-knows-how-long, sitting knee-to-knee with some “buddies,” or crushed against the window being used as a pillow. For me, the glory comes with the results of the established system. That is to say, us, on the beach directly outside of our hotel, slathering each other in suntan lotion, sucking Jello shots out of our belly buttons, ignoring Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild fame as he incites stoned coeds to take off their sparkling tops. That is so wrong.

The glory of the quest does not come as the result of aberrations, rather, it is in the absence of them. When we’re picking up a hitchhiker who’s still wearing a straightjacket, weighing the car at the weigh station with ourselves still inside or stopping for ice cream cones that will most assuredly end up on the floor of my dad’s BMW, we’re not making real road trip memories. It is in the trip that we’ve paid for, the trip that we’ve planned, the answer to the question of what we’re doing this summer. Tim, if you didn’t want to do anything of real worth, you should have stayed at your summer job with Dairy Queen. I think you’ve got a real future in banana splits.

Tim: Joey, I think that finals week got you wound too tight. With every mile we pass comes a bong hit of the infinite, the windows of possibility expanding at 10 miles over the limit. The rigid structure of APA formatting has left you sterile and internally cavernous. This is our time to color outside the lines, we are due for a bong-hit of the impossible and let’s not waste this time stuffing Rand McNally’s fat wallet.

In conclusion, it is apparent that the debate of whether true glory is to be found in the journey or the destination is one that will be continued as long as the act of summer vacation itself. In the meantime, let’s chill out, kick back and remember that at least we’re not in class.