If only we could live everyday like we were on a road trip, we would discover more of each other and ourselves.
Over the recent holidays I decided to be a follower and let the travel planning be initiated and plotted out by someone other than me. It was deliberate. I found myself completely relaxed, as I was not personally vested in ensuring we kept to any plans or schedules. I didn’t own time. I didn’t care, as much. I could flow with the eventualities. I did not judge. I did not have an opinion. I did not have a preference. And if I did, I chose not to speak them aloud. It was refreshing. I was present in the moment, not obligated like a GPS to live one step ahead of the now.
With a simplified travel itinerary, we spent many hours on road trips. During these journeys we sang with abandon in a sound proof bubble, we laughed hysterically at the silliest jokes like drunks on a Friday night at a noisy pub. We fought like fox cubs vying for an inch of space in an overcrowded den, almost drawing blood as we kicked and scratched. We enjoyed quiet moments where most of us had fallen asleep, hypnotized by the hum of the engine and rocked to bed as the wheels revolved. We posed “what ifs” ranging from the preposterous to the poignant, and learnt just that bit more about personalities we have shared a home with for over ten years. We interrupted fervently, listened intently, sparred verbally and shared long silences, quietly gazing out of our own windows, lost in reflection.
There was no talk of homework, deliverables or schedules. There was no groaning over unfulfilled pledges, obligatory responsibilities and debating priorities.
I loved getting to know myself and my fellow life travellers better through these unending conversations – verbal observations, expression of ideas, cryptic questions and the “why” and “why not”s. We shared stories of the past and we hypothesized about the future. We met each other as people, souls and kindred spirits. It was a road trip, a shared journey of conversations.
Today is the first day back at school. I greeted each of them in the afternoon with the cursory “How was your day?”. They grunted an equally perfunctory reply. The unspoken “any homework?” question hung like a grey cloud in the energy-sapped atmosphere. Our conversations are once again clipped, interrupted by reminders of the time and what’s next on the to do list. We hurry our words and condense our stories and thoughts. The luxury of conversation has been taken away. At least till the weekend. If not, till the next term break.