After some time, we came to see our best talks were had in the car, on the road. None of these planned. It seems the freedom of the road lends itself to the freedom of the mind. In looking out instead of looking at one another, the pressure is removed. We can deliberately get on the road to go nowhere. Or we can drive through nearby neighborhoods looking at lovely real estate. Or we can be on our way back from a dinner, a trip, or simply the store. In this return, there is a relaxed state. We’ve come to express ourselves best in the setting of no plans to say and no pressure ‘to talk.’ In the car, we are on neutral ground.
I’ve always heard parents speak of taking restless, crying babies on a drive, as the low engine hum seems to settle the child, quiet them down, put them to sleep. I smile internally knowing how this applies to us in mature ways.
Certainly, one of us may need to get out; to drive or be driven. Maybe we both need a momentary feeling of escape, the sense of freedom from responsibility a wide-open road can entail. In this way, the drive becomes trance-like and meditative. Ahead of us, as far as the eye can see, we are revealed and we are relieved. Even if we have already made it back home, we can sit still in the driveway. A song can finish; a thought can complete. Most things wait. In the car, our words can be processed and understood. No rush.
These drives can have no music. Silence sits comfortably on top of the backdrop of the car’s ambiance. Other times we speak entirely through music as specific songs better articulate on our behalf. We can tolerate to turn it up as loudly as possible, because this serves as our own screams or to drown out what we can’t yet share. Either of which seems known. When any of the songs reach their crescendo, our hands meet at the console to squeeze tighter. I hear you. I know what you’re trying to say.
Every one of these drives has gotten us back to where we needed to be, emotionally or intellectually. In some of the longest trips to our furthest destinations, we have each felt solitary, alone, and pulled apart at times. Yet seated beside one another, we always thread back together. After the engine turns off, we are reset. An air is cleared; a calm restored; a gap between us has closed. Even if nothing was ever said, our drives have become our best form of communication.