Grant is usually the primary driver on family road trips. I suspect it has to do with two particular things. The first is that in our family, driving the vehicle automatically puts you in charge of music. No one else in the car can dictate what comes out of the radio, and while suggestions and requests are entertained, the final decision rests with the person in the drivers seat. This rule has kept us from auditory disasters, such as the season when Pursy became obsessed with They Might be Giants. I had put Flood on Spotify one day while cleaning the house (Birdhouse in Your Soul makes me clean faster, I can't explain it) and she LOVED it. For weeks she requested nothing but TMBG in the car, while doing homework, and as soon as she opened her eyes in the morning. It was cute for about 7 minutes. Then I remembered why children of the 90's were more influenced by Nirvana.
The second perk is more of a logistical one, which is that if you are driving you cannot mediate interactions between children in the backseat. You cannot retrieve fallen books, refill water bottles, break up pinching fights, or pay close attention to Knox counting to 10 in Spanish. The driver's seat is a magical no-parenting seat, and for the duration of the car ride, you are an individual with singular responsibility which is to get the car and its inhabitants from point A to point B. The crisis of who got more Goldfish crackers in their paper coffee cup is not yours to manage.
I do think that Grant inherently does enjoy driving, and while I don't mind it, my natural gift of falling asleep as soon as the cruise control is activated and my very unnatural lack of directional sense does seem to indicate that my place is shotgun.
On the way home from Philadelphia last weekend, our late nights with Mark and Kim and our early risings with children who failed to respect those late nights, resulted in Grant needing to take a nap halfway into the drive. We stopped at a gas station so I could grab some lemon infused Perrier (highbrow) and Lifesaver Gummies (lowbrow). I was standing in line and Jagged Little Pill started playing overhead. Immediately I began to feel angry at this guy I dated for a few months in college who broke things off with me after the 3rd time I left his apartment in the middle of the night so confused as to why he thought we were going to sleep together. Boys are so dumb.
And Alanis got that. She ranted me through many a relationship and didn't require any logic or rationale for how and why it ended. Just raw and poetic rage.
I got back in the car and immediately downloaded Jagged Little Pill the Collectors Edition on Spotify. And while I eased the car from the parking lot and back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, All I Really Want began. Every word, every note, every feeling. Grant's head rose up from the pillow he had just rested it against and he turned to me with disbelief in his beautiful hazel eyes.
I put a hand on his shoulder and a finger on my lips, and turned it up. Rule one of being in the Martsolf car drivers seat, no one gets to change the music.
I have never seen a man try to fall asleep so fast.