With a new semester spread out before us like a damp quilt left in the polar vortex, everyone wants to focus on the near future, specifically the summer. Personally, I find living in the past much more enjoyable. No, it’s not because I don’t have a summer internship lined up or that I’m not sure how I could ever afford to live on my own, and it most certainly does not, I repeat, does not, have anything to do with the fact that at 21 years old I haven’t figured out how to ride a bike and that’s all people seem to want to do when the sun is out…at least, back when I was in elementary school and had no friends because they were all out riding bikes and being all mobile while I stayed in my house watching episodes of “Emeril Live” and yelling “Bam!” around my house. Yeah, the past was great.
Anyway, a few weeks before the semester started, my brother and I embarked on an 18-hour drive from Brecksville, Ohio to Somewhere-That-Isn’t-Orlando, Florida. Senior Editor of The Miscellany News Marie Solis said the trip sounded very Kerouacian. Normally I’m all about making literary allusions, especially if I haven’t read the book or any works by the author—it feeds my English major ego and makes me feel like I’m important even when my close friends state otherwise—but I knew deep within the icy pits of my soul that she was wrong. It was very Cory and Eric Matthews from that one episode of Boy Meets World. Yes, that one.
I like to think of my brother and myself as the real-life Cory and Eric, you know, if we were both white, went to the same university and had the same father. Technicalities aside, I’d say the trajectory of their relationship mirrors ours…kinda. Like Cory, I didn’t realize that I actually liked my brother until it was time for us to part ways. Since then I’ve grown fond of him as a person and enjoy our annual winter break trips to Buffalo Wild Wings and the occasional texts that we exchange every few months. So I was pretty stoked for this road trip. Just two men in their twenties, the open road and enough Monster to give the Energizer Bunny a heart attack.
The trip was awful.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I learned that I can outdrink my brother in the happiest place on Earth, so the bar for my life has been set at an unobtainably high level.
The drive down had its fun moments, too. We set out on the road just before the sun had a chance to fill the sky, flashes of Disney World and butterbeer dancing in our eyes. Then my brother told me I should stop rhyme-narrating our adventures, so I listened to music instead. And honestly, I was mostly just excited about the playlist I threw together for this trip. I spent the three days leading up to the trip “legally” downloading music between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. to fill my iPhone with songs that I thought I enjoyed at one point or another in my lifetime (you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find a song by searching “the one that goes la la dum ba la la doom doom psh I think” into YouTube).
We bonded, we laughed and we both experienced dangerous caffeine highs.
The trip back, however, was miserable. Nighttime driving isn’t the most friendly, and somehow you can’t help feeling every drop of sleep you’ve ever neglected in your lifetime smack you upside your head while you’re racing down an empty highway. Spoiler alert: We lived. If I didn’t have to play DJ for the ride, I probably would have passed out in the passenger seat. Looking back, maybe I could have done a little more to help the situation. I mean, at 4 a.m. when you can’t tell if your brother is intentionally driving toward the edge of the cliff, what else can you do but scroll through your playlist and select the most epic song for your inevitable death? I was torn between R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” when I realized my brother was, in fact, not veering off the road on purpose and we should probably pull over to sleep. I’m a hero. Feel free to give me a hug when you see me around campus. Or money. Probably money.
I can’t exactly explain why I keep thinking about this trip, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with me being a mushy human being and I’m definitely sure it has everything to do with me living my life as cliché as possible. I’m a third-year student who has no idea what waits for him in the future (yeah, look how original I am), so maybe I don’t want to think about internships, careers, moving, marriage, kids, the upcoming summer or all of the things I need to prepare for or accomplish in the coming years. Not yet. Not now.
I’d like a little more time to chill in the front seat next to my older brother. Just two guys, in their twenties, who have no qualms about playing High School Musical songs on full blast with the windows rolled down.