When I’m in transit, I’m in a strange, in-between world. I’m leaving one place and going to another, but I’m not there yet. I hit the pause button, and I take a look around. I read road signs, look into the sky, and admire my kids’ pudgy toes.
As much as I hate to ride in the car, I love a road trip. I’m free to follow my mind as it wanders. Shut into this tiny space with the people I love, I relish the intimacy of eating, sleeping, talking and sitting within arm’s length of one another. It’s like we’re in our own little rocket ship, orbiting the moon, with all the supplies we need for a long journey, and only ourselves for company.
Road Trip Catalogue
Sandy toes on the dashboard
Pink polish chipped
Unopened box of animal crackers, white string attached
Warm lemon-lime Gatorade
Toll change in the cup-holder
Five o’clock shadow at three
Back seat sausage toes
Polka dots on the first little piggy
Purple pajamas, stars and donut crumbs
Sara, the sea turtle
Brown paper bag , half-eaten Cracker Barrel biscuit
Pillow covered in navy blue airplanes
Matted blankets, one pink, one blue
Apple, the sea turtle
Chocolate graham Goldfish
Six empty Ziploc bags
Black wires connecting heads, ears and cigarette lighter
Brown bear pajamas
Magnetic U.S. map
Kentucky, waiting patiently with the other 48
Golden Arches everywhere
Pretzels in seat belt pockets
Tennessean Travel Stop
3/4 miles ahead
I wrote this poem – or is it a list? – on my iPhone, as we came to a dead stop on I-65. I felt the need to capture the little world inside our car. If you have young kids, I’ll bet your road trip catalogue looks just like mine.
While it was fun to write my own poems as they came to me, I certainly couldn’t do so for fourteen hours. When I wasn’t stopping for gas breaks or potty breaks, or handing Ziploc bags full of goldfish into the back seat, I listened to some really cool poetry podcasts. My new favorites are Indiefeed, PRI’s Selected Shorts, and The Poetry Channel. Should you ever have time to kill and want to immerse yourself in the world of poetry, check them out.
While I’m glad to be out of the car, I’m a little sad the road trip is over. Thanks to the logjam on I-65, I have some new ideas to tinker with as I await the next one.