Thanks to a really good deal, we were able to take an impromptu trip to the beach a few weeks ago.
Usually on any family trip, I get to our destination as quickly as possible, making as few stops as necessary. Because I was trying to savor every moment of this trip, I paid more attention to the journey.
I didn’t drive any slower, but I did make a few extra stops. We stopped at the Florida line and got a sample of grapefruit juice. All the times I have ever been to Florida and I had never done that before. It was delicious.
On the ride home, I noticed a car with Alabama tags pretty early in our trek. I only noticed it because it had a weird trailer hitch. I didn’t think much of it, assuming we would drift apart after a few miles and never see each other again.
For whatever reason, this car and I stayed together mile after mile after mile. He would pass me for a few miles. Then I would pass him for a few miles.
We found ourselves stuck behind the drivers who drive the same speed right beside each other, not allowing anyone to pass. Anyone who has ever driven the roads to the Gulf Coast knows the drivers I’m talking about.
In the few instances where it drops down to one lane and you get a passing lane every few miles, he would stay behind me through the passing lane. That means he had grown to trust me.
There is a lot of pressure that comes with being the lead car in a passing zone. If he chooses to stay behind me and we go back to one lane, I feel like I need to repay his trust. I can’t slow down and become one of those drivers who speeds through the passing zone but then resumes a normal speed on the one lane road.
I don’t want to be that guy. I can’t stand that guy.
I began to wonder about this new traveling companion of mine. What was his name? Where was he going? I figured he was on way to a Boy Scout Jamboree. That would explain the weird trailer hitch.
I know that the hitch and the Boy Scouts had nothing to do with one another, but since I was making up his identity and I wanted him to be en route to a Jamboree then that’s exactly where he was going. He would have made it to Eagle Scout if he had gotten his Citizenship Merit Badge.
You can get pretty creative when you are inventing personas on a four and a half hour drive.
I named him Carl Morgan. That’s a good name for a guy with an Alabama tag and a weird trailer hitch who was on his way to a Boy Scouts Jamboree. I saw him first in Florida and lost him somewhere down in Columbus.
I don’t know where the lake is in Columbus where the Boy Scouts meet, but I trust he got there safely. He was a good driver. We spent a few hours on the road that day and didn’t have the first kerfuffle.
Toby Nix is a local writer, guitarist and deputy sheriff. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org