Summers are the one season that fools everyone. People go around talking about the weather and how nice it will be, and how much socializing they’re going to do with their friends, and all that ever happens is those same people who hyped the sun are now bemoaning its presence and sheltering themselves indoors with Netflix. There is no cure to possibility of heatstroke, and the desire to socialize is often trumped by the overwhelming urge to sleep in an air conditioned bedroom with every shade drawn. The only thing that can save the summer is the one thing most people can’t access easily– the beach.
The sound of the waves. The feel of the water. Cold sand squelching between your toes. The way it smells. Nothing can top the ocean in a sweltering summer’s heat. Not only is it much, much cooler in the beach areas, but it’s also more acceptable to wear less clothing there too. Any complaints about the heat are easily overridden by the ability to shed clothing, and just step in the ocean’s cold grasp and rest. But for those of us unable to jump in our cars and get there within half an hour, there’s a certain trick to fulfilling all of those summer goals you set for yourself, and still manage to spend a whole day at the beach.
Invite your friends
How else are you guys going to bond over overplayed pop music that you’re singing at the top of your lungs as you drive eighty miles an hour on an empty highway? What are you going to do if not laugh at how hungry you all are for full-fat gas station nachos and lukewarm hot dogs and cherry red slurpees that give you the lip color everyone secretly wants? Not only will you have someone to read you directions and change the CD, but you can invite all those people you kept promising to hang out with that you never did because the sun made you so sleepy. And you’ll be seeing them in a completely different setting than you’ve ever seen them before, and road trips– at least, moderately short ones– somehow bring out the best in everyone.
Mix CDs are your new lovers
Marry the CDs you listen to, because they have to be some really good stuff if you can stomach them for four hours in a car. Blast that overplayed pop music and scream the lyrics. Add in those songs you all dismiss in the light of day, because the bets are off when road trips happen. People are softer, blurred around the edges– much more willing to scream a One Direction song with you in a car than in a casual setting. Put some cheesy songs like All Will Be Well by The Gabe Dixon Band. A song that’s soft and sort of emotional will be perfect on the way back as the sun sets behind you and everyone in the car is sleepy and sated and feeling like they never want to leave, because everything about their life is perfect.
Obviously the most important aspect to any trip besides the music, the food should be like the ocean itself– large and in such vast quantities that you can’t possibly enjoy it all, but still appreciate that it’s there. Food for road trips should come from the grocery store before you leave, but the majority of it should come from shitty, run down convenience stores, and truck stops/diners whose waitresses call people “sugar”, and “darlin”, with food that’s surprisingly delicious. The only way to truly appreciate the food is surrounded by people you love, going to a place you haven’t been in a while.
I know trips in general are exciting, and a beach trip when it’s hot as hell is only more so, but after you arrive and do the usual roughhousing, lay down near the waves and let the ocean wash over you. Smell the sea air, feel the water tickle your toes, listen to the birds squawking, and let yourself be. Everything is important, but right now, this is most. Don’t let it slip away because you were thinking of what you left behind. Feel it crash into you, again and again and again.