It’s as American as baseball, apple pie, and seriously endangering your friends and family members’ well being with a concoction of booze and fireworks on the Fourth of July. Oh indeed, I’m of course referring to the summer road trip. Blame it on gas prices, fat children, or the government rejecting your disability claim for your self-diagnosis of “crippling apathy,” but money is tight this summer and you can’t afford air travel.
You’re okay with that though—the open road doesn’t have the speed of air travel, but it also doesn’t usually have screaming babies, restrictions on personal swords, or incompetent Indian businessmen who fucking lock themselves in the single bathroom on the plane. Yeah, it’s a love-hate relationship when it comes to air travel.
Now you’ve put in the road-trip research. Depending on your fancy, be it ballparks, restaurants featured on Man vs. Food, or just cities you haven’t thrown up in yet, you’ve mapped out a route and time frame. You think you can finagle a car or soccer-mom-tastic van under false pretenses of community service from your parents, plus you’ve also amassed enough boxes of cereal and cans of ravioli to last you indefinitely. Only thing left now is figuring out who is down to take this freak show on the road and get weird across America. Choose wisely; there are seven billion people on this planet and a lot of them would fit into one of these five archetypes that suck at life on the open road.
1.The Weak Stomached: Everyone has that one friend who, after reading an article, watching a movie, or accompanying their slaughterhouse foreman father on Take Your Child to Work Day, has decided that they are going to be overly conscious about the food they ingest. They’re going to be upset when gas station coffee isn’t fair-trade, or when bits of your Slim Jim are totally-accidentally spewed from you craw into their kelp chips, or even when they can’t find anything they like on the menu when you’re eating at Big Leroy’s House of Barbecue and Animal Cruelty. Frankly, their inability to be able to wolf down processed meats, cheeses, and salts is going to be a huge inconvenience that you should happily leave at home.
2. The Fearful: Now on occasion you may find yourself low on gas late at night as you’re passing through an inner city. You’re off the freeway and searching through stores that only seem to sell liquor, lottery tickets, and other temporary cures to depression. It’s not looking good, your fuel light has been on for the last twenty-five minutes and the only people you’ve seen are prostitutes, homeless, and homeless prostitutes. Just ask Kerouac, the road is no place for a freak out, and neurotic, closeted racist might be the type to lend themselves to such an outburst. Remain calm and eventually you’ll find a nearly-deserted, off-brand gas station. Stay level-headed: get in, get out, and get back on the interstate
3. The Sensitive Bladders: Everyone has that friend who breaks the seal after one beer and spends the rest of the night in a perpetual state of listening to drunk girls cry while waiting for the bathroom. They’re fine at a party when his or her problem doesn’t become your problem, but when you’re stopping every hour so they can sample yet another McDonald’s bathroom you might have a problem. They’re totally a liability if they’re unwilling adopt a system of bottles, jars, or catheters, assuming everyone is cool with them taking their dick out in the car every hour should you go with the bottles or jars options.
4. The Obese: Gas is expensive enough without the mileage taking a hit from your corpulent compadre’s wide load continuously riding shotgun because his girth is too massive for the backset. Plus, the obese have a nasty reputation for carrying smells, rashes, and other filthy secrets deep within their rolls. From a fiscal, hygienic, and comfortable standpoint it makes more sense to leave them at home; they might want to see America, but America doesn’t want to see them.
5. The Complainers: Truly a catch all for all those high-maintenance, obnoxious individuals who didn’t quite fit into one of the other categories. You know these friends; they’re invariably complaining that there aren’t any girls at the bar only to start whining an hour later when girls actually show up that we should all leave because all of these women are “shallow whores who won’t fuck me.” He’s the guy who’s always sending back food and never forgetting when you owe him any trivial amount of money. Anne Frankly, he’s best left at home, or in a quiet attic, for any events, not just road trips.
Justin Gawel is somewhat of a Mitch Albom-type, as he does enjoy spending his Tuesday afternoons watching Maury on TV. For more of his writing, his BroBible.com archive (which is under construction), and his updates you can go to www.justingawel.com or @justingawel on Twitter.