I can hardly believe it, but Drew, my husband, and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary in just five days. Has a whole year really gone by since the day we said “I do”? Actually, no, because neither of us said “I do.” I think what we really said to the Rabbi when he married us was: “We will say “yes” to whatever you ask us as long as we never, ever, ever have to plan another wedding again! Also, let’s wrap this thing up so we can go drink champagne and eat cannoli cake!” Anyway, according to the calendar, almost a whole year has gone by since that day, and, I’m happy to say: so far so good. But all that could change next week when Drew and I go on our first ever road trip together to celebrate our anniversary. Road trips are the kind of vacation that could go either way: the driving could be smooth and uneventful, the scenery beautiful, the snacks tasty, the tunes good, and the conversation effortless and interesting. Or … everything could go to crap. I’m pretty confident that we’ll have food and conversation covered, and the scenery where we’re headed is supposed to be lovely, but I’m far less confident about the one thing that could truly make or break a road trip: we don’t drive. More specifically, Drew doesn’t drive (or read a map, for that matter). As a lifelong New Yorker, he’s 40 years old and doesn’t have a license. I, on the other hand, know how to drive; I just don’t like to … and I’m not very good at it. And I haven’t done it since I moved to New York almost three years ago. In short: we’re kind of out of our minds.
Crazy or not, Friday morning we leave for our trip. We’re flying to Memphis first where we’ll spend two blessedly car-free days sightseeing (Graceland, anyone?) and drinking cheep beers in dive bars and licking barbeque sauce off our fingers. Then, on Sunday, the real fun starts. We’ll pick up a rental car and immediately hit the highway for a 5+-hour drive to Springfield, Missouri where I went to college. I haven’t been back to my college town in years and have always wanted to show Drew my old stomping grounds. Drew’s always wanted to see Memphis, and my parents, who live in Germany, will actually be in St. Louis that week, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a road trip en route to see them and cross a few things off our bucket list. Only now, I’m hoping we don’t actually kick the bucket before we have a chance to get to a few more things on that list (like that aforementioned license for Drew).
Is driving like riding a bike? Do you just pick it back up as soon as you get behind the wheel again? Even if it’s been years? Even if you once crashed a car on the highway looking for a specific mix tape to play as you entered the next town? What if your navigator doesn’t read a map? What if he likes listening to ball games on the radio when you prefer NPR? What if the road trip ends with a visit to the ‘rents, who will probably ask — since “no one’s getting any younger” — when they’re going to finally have grandchildren? “You’ve been married a year, after all.” On second thought, maybe we should stay home and celebrate our anniversary with a nice steak dinner and a bottle of wine. We both have a license in that.