How I feel about driving could best be summed up by Jack Sparrow:
“That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that’s what a ship needs but what a ship is… what the Black Pearl really is… is freedom.”
Yeah, he’s not talking about a car, but he may as well be, because that freedom, that’s what I used to lay in bed late at night thinking about when I was in high school…just getting in my car and driving as far south as I-95 would take me just because I could.
And it happens still, though it’s not always as gallant and romantic as I always imagined it, especially if you ask my ex-girlfriend Sonja. When she was living in southeast Georgia during summer 2008, I visited her three times, always enjoying every second of the six-hour road trip between Goldsboro, N.C. and Hinesville, Ga. That’s when I first discovered that lovely scenic bridge mentioned in my “What’s news to you” post, but I digress.
Anyway, we frequently made the 1.5-hour trip to Brunswick, Sea Island and Jekyll Island, simply because there was little to do in Hinesville. I always drovebecause she loved to ride, and I drove all across that region, always trying new ways to shave minutes off of our trip, finding new roads to try out and generally just driving aimlessly. With El Cheapo gas making me feel like I was a king, I poured gasoline like cheap beer, especially since I was living at home and had lots of disposable income while my girlfriend bankrolled our excursions halfway with her Rayonier-funded salary.
But she got sick of me taking the scenic route everywhere and started limiting my gas. She would never pay to fill my tank because she said having a full tank of gas made me “drunk with power.” If I wanted a full tank, I had to pay for it myself. Otherwise she bought it one half-tank at a time.
I’ve always loved the way she put it, drunk with power, because it’s so true. When the needle is on F, I feel invincible. I peel out. I make my tires bark. I take the long way home. I take other cars off the line.
It’s a powerfully intoxicating notion, having a full tank of gas and knowing the routes are endless and they can take you anywhere.
It’s the knowledge that I-40 ends in California, I-85 takes you to Atlanta and I-95 south leads to I-4, which runs right into Disneyworld. It’s knowing 95 north puts you through D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and right up into Massachusetts and U.S. 17 winds from Virginia through Wilmington, N.C., past Myrtle Beach to within half an hour of Hinevsille and back to coastal Georgia before ending in Florida. (I like road maps…and Highway 17).
It’s freedom. And it’s a pleasure.