When I was a kid, my mom and dad liked to go on Sunday drives. They would load me and my sister into the station wagon and off we would go, never with a particular destination in mind, but often we would head into some of the more affluent neighborhoods in town, driving slowly by the beautiful homes (like stalkers). My parents liked to see what kind of homes other people had built – trying to find styles they agreed on or certain features that they wanted to have when they were finally able to afford to build their dream house.
I can’t speak for my sister – but I found these drives to be a HUGE borefest. I wasn’t interested in architecture or landscaping design – I would much rather be PLAYING house than LOOKING at houses – but I attempted to be good, because we usually stopped for ice cream on the way home. Still, I was only five or six years old – and I had the attention span of a gnat – so it was inevitable that I would find a way to get into mischief.
On this particular drive, my sister and I were laying in the “way back” of the station wagon, rolling around, poking each other and giggling like little girls do. One of us pulled up the worn carpeting in one corner and discovered something marvelous! It was a perfectly round hole, about the diameter of one of those “cutie” tangerines, with a clear view of the road rushing along beneath us. It was just begging to have something dropped through it and onto the road below, so we searched for the perfect victim – and found it in a nearly full box of tissues. We took turns tugging a tissue free from the box, feeding it into the hole – and then sitting up quickly to see it dancing in our wake on the road behind us. It was a bit like a science experiment – we folded the tissue in different configurations or wadded it up in a ball – each time dropping it through the hole and then bobbing up again to see how our handiwork reacted when it hit the road.
It kept us entertained for a good while and those tissues, the hole, and the road behind us had our undivided attention – but before long, our parent’s voices intruded on our play. “I’m not sure I would want to live in this neighborhood,” my mother proclaimed, “There sure is a lot of trash blowing around!” “I didn’t notice it when we drove in,” my dad responded. There was a long silent moment – and then, “What are you girls DOING?” Apparently, the road had divided, looped around, and we had now joined up to the main road again – where our tissues still frolicked in the breeze or were being held captive by shrubbery along the sidewalk.
The now nearly empty tissue box was confiscated and I’m sure we were scolded, but I don’t remember what happened then. Did my dad stop the car and make us get out, driving slowly behind us as we darted along the road, collecting our prey? Or did he just give us a glare in the rearview mirror as he stepped on the accelerator, urging the station wagon to pick up some speed and get the hell out of Dodge before our misdeeds were discovered? One thing I’m VERY sure of – we didn’t stop for ice cream on the way home THAT Sunday.
How did you entertain yourself on road trips as a kid? Do you remember the first time you got in trouble?