Some Thoughts on Road Trippin'
Spring done sprung up and that means our ol’ buddy, summer, should be following closely behind. In honour, (weird spelling = a nod to our brits) of the eventuality of the dog days, we talked about the history and cultural importance of the American road trip on last week’s episode. The conversation along with the change in the weather started to thaw the frost of the NYC winter from my brain. Hold on to yer butts, ‘cause I got some thoughts.
NYC is one of the greatest cities in the world. Within its five boroughs it has amassed some of the best music, art, food, architecture, and so on and so on and so on. Moving from my hometown of Birmingham, AL to a place like New York was a shock and I’d be a lie if I said I had loved it from day one. I really hated it here for the first couple of years, but after nearly five years, I have come to love this city in many ways. Now I say all that to say, for all of the exposure to fantastic cultural peaks there are a, uh... let’s say, a few valleys that makes living in a place like NYC challenging, to say the least. I know my privilege might be showing here, but one of the hardest things about living here for me is not having a car or motorcycle. It’s weird to feel isolated in a place like NYC with so much around you all the time, but not having a car, and being able to go when you’re ready to go, leaves me feeling stuck. Driving was the main way I did my good thinking back home. Driving didn’t have to be any grand adventure or an Instagram content trip through the badlands or some yurt village in texas to be important or clarifying for me. Don’t get me wrong I love taking those sorts of long haul trips through dramatic landscapes, but driving around my neighborhood, or simply taking the long way to work could often have a similar effect. Taking a drive could bring me levels of joy and release, as well as a safe and contained sense of privacy to deal with heavier stuff. As a musician and writer, it was a cornerstone. Driving was the main way I ingested music. Whenever I bought an album, I would drive until the CD played through at least twice. As a result I have very active and specific geographic connection with most of my favorite records. Driving allowed me to not only view but interact with the world in a very unique way. I was able to be vulnerable and completely myself in this hybrid space that was equally public and private.
I realize this may have little to do road trips for most folks, but for me, my relationship with cars/motorcycles is integral to why I love road trips so much. I think it is an extremely human thing to do. What we do for entertainment shows a lot about who we are as people. It makes sense anthropologically, that things like a family road trips is something that sticks with us. If y’all want my advice, I would suggest you go buy an album or two that you’ve never listened to before, get in your car or on your bike and spin them tires for a while. See if you don’t come up with something good!
- Pete (@buttermilk_pete)
1958 Ford Fairlane (or like a Honda Civic. Really whatever’s layin’ around.)
Sunglasses, so you can feel cool. (I don’t know any cool sunglass brands. Y’all on yer own)
Beef Jerky (non-negotiable)
Puppy dog if you got one.
Lowland Hum, “Native Air”
Belle Adair, “Tuscumbia”
Alabama Shakes, “Boys and Girls”
Gold Connections, “Popular Fiction”