ARE WE THERE YET?

I have never understood the appeal of family road trips. I mean, in theory, it does sound nice to spend some time with family without the interruption of phones, TVs, computers and general busyness of life. It also sounds nice to use the time to do things that you might not otherwise do. You can read books, catch up on sleep, do puzzles and card games…

But honestly, what’s the reality here?

If you have children, expect to hear “Are we there yet?” on repeat like a broken record.

Most, if not all of you probably live at the same residence, so what’s the chances of anyone having anything new to say? And if by chance, you do have something to add to the conversation, there won’t be hours worth of content.

You’re in a confined space with no escape. Problematic if there are belchers, farters or annoying siblings with knee jerk reflex issues. Imagine being in a car with these people for several hours; it’ll test the patience of a saint.

There are minimal bathroom breaks so you can’t be drinking too much liquid or risk the embarrassment of roadside bush prickles in your butt and indecent exposure. Plus no-one wants to be tooted by a passerby.

More importantly, to us at least, road trips means sharing music space. No one listens to their own music with solo headphones because there’s no fun in that. So, it can get quite heated in the car with everyone dissing on each other’s musical choices.

Our latest road trip took a total of seven hours, so we devised a “fair” system where each person got to choose a song of their choice to be played upon their turn.

My four-year-old son was happy to forfeit his turns to his eight-year-old sister, who tortured us with Disney songs from the movie Descendants. Although, I’d never admit this to the husband but l kind of like the sickly sweet and catchy pop songs.

My husband chose Barry Manilow’s Mandy and did a silly Dad rendition, an ode to our daughter’s name. It wasn’t a surprise that the children pretended to vomit and yelled out “Yuck!” He followed up with songs from Wig Wam, Diablo, The Darkness and Iron Maiden.

I’m not a fan of heavy metal or rock bands but the husband believes he is “expanding” the children’s musical tastes. He’s actually had some success. One of our daughter’s favourite songs is “Sandstorm” by Darude. He’s even gotten our daughter into Gloryhammer!

I like mainstream music. I don’t mind pop, hip/hop, R&B, country, indie or dance. I don’t know what that says about my personality other than I’m easy. Instead of going for current chart songs, I went with the classics. I chose Gloria’s “I Will Survive” because it has hooks that are catchier than covid. Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It” and Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” made the cut. Not a single person enjoyed my selections. It really says more about them than me, right??

Eventually, we got sick of playing musical merry-go-round and left Ballad Collection by X Japan on for the rest of the road trip. Our son stopped asking “Are we there yet?” and fell asleep. Our daughter pulled out a few books and was content for several hours.

With three long hours of the road trip left, no bickering over song choices and quiet from the children, I found myself moaning… “Are we almost there yet?”

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