Roadmap, Road…trip? [WORK IN PROGRESS]

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev

The day’s come. You’re leaving on that road trip, the one you’ve been talking about for ages. It’ll change the way road trips are done. And you’ve managed to convince someone of your vision. His name is Mark, and thinks your destination sounds amazing; It’ll be life-changing.

Of course, Mark’s paying his fair share — you’re the one who’s driving, providing the car and gas, and who knows how to get there. Mark is funding your hard work, in hopes of living an amazing experience. And perhaps by profiting from the pictures he’ll take, but that’s a bonus.

Day 1 —

As you mount the highway, Mark asks for the itinerary. You hand him a piece of paper, scribbled with notes.

  • Stop #1 — Between 150km and 200km
  • Stop #2 — About 100KM after that
  • Might stop for dinner after
  • Will find hotel when tired

“This is just the first day,” He says.

“Yeah, I like to avoid restricting myself to set paths. We’re doing something new here! It should take like 3 or 4 days.”

Mark is ecstatic —He’s never been part of something as innovative!

“Do you know how much gas this is going to cost? Just want to make sure we’ve budgeted properly.”

“Like, 250$ worth”

Seems fair enough.

The mood is vibing. You both talk about the things you’ll do when you get there, and how everyone will want in on this new experience. After hours of talking, you both hear a *clunk* below the car.

“That’s weird. Did you get the car checked by a mechanic before leaving?”

“Nah, the car’s fine — Can’t afford something fancy, but this’ll do.”

“What happens if it breaks?”

“It won’t break.”

“But what if it does?”

A silence instills itself. The rest of the day is subdued.

Day 2 —

You decide that you can’t do this the whole trip — you can’t answer Mark’s questions while making sure the trip succeeds. You find a jobber on Craigslist to sit in the backseat with him and answer his questions. His name is Steve.

New rule in the car — All communication goes through Steve.

What a difference! You get to focus on the road.

But it isn’t long before Mark is asking questions that Steve can’t handle. Steve asks if you two can take some time to talk at the next stop. You take a few minutes with him, but managing the passenger isn’t a priority — you want to focus on the road. The passenger will understand once you get there.

Steve resorts to giving vague answers, hoping to swipe the questions away.

Day 3 —

Mark’s not happy. Steve said that you’d be up by 9:00 to give us the day’s plan — it’s now 10:30, and he’s just saying it’s coming — “Soon”.

You come out at 11:00. It’s not your fault — The breakfast line was too long. You couldn’t plan for that. You give them them your game plan as you tank the car.

“Woah, aren’t you up to like 350$ in gas?”, Mark asks.

“Yeah, but it’s normal for a trip like this.”

“You said 250$ in the beginning, and we aren’t done!”

“It’s fine, once we get there, it won’t matter.”

Mark starts looking around — Are there any other cars going up north? He asks a few others in the parking lot where they’re going. While he does that, you get approached by a stranger of your own — He overheard where you’re going. He likes it — He thinks he can make a quick buck with it. He pays you to join in.

Mark comes back. Bobody is going close to where you are. He gets back in the car — It has trouble starting, probably the battery.

“Who are you?”

“I’m Richard!

“Just be careful, Richard, don’t want you losing money. The driver isn’t the best at-”

Richard interrupts: “Hey, can’t you see how far he’s gotten, all by himself? The driver knows what he’s doing.”

“He doesn’t even know how to get there.”

“Why are you even here if you don’t like the trip?”

Steve throws up his first smile in a while. Finally, someone he can have fun with. The rest of the day is just Richard and Steve vibing.

Day 4 —

Before the day starts, Mark announces that he’s out. He just asks that you pay his Uber ride home — he’ll eat his losses on what he gave you. You accept. You don’t really care — you’re happy, even. He was throwing doubt around. It just slows you down.

Richard suggests a shortcut — he says it’ll get you there faster, better return on investment. But you know that shortcut will make you miss a bunch of great views.

He’s your last source of funding if the car breaks down; You’re afraid to tell him “no”. You let Steve handle him. His job — Keep Richard happy, without letting him meddle.

“Soon”

It becomes Steve’s go-to. But he’s getting tired out. The questions don’t stop, and it’s not just in the car — Richard is texting him in the hotel room.

After a few too many “Soon”’s, you finally speak up.

“We’re arriving tomorrow morning.”

Day 5 —

Okay, you said morning, but it ends up being in the evening — You got too excited and announced it too soon.

You’re there — the destination is amazing. You’re proud of the work you’ve done.

As you arrive, Richard rips the bumper off the car, siphons the gas, and takes a Uber ride home. He got the pictures he needed, he’ll sell them for profit. He didn’t really care about the actual destination.

The value of your car keeps going down. Repairing it at this point would be a loss — Might as well buy a new one.

Nobody’s left with you to admire the view.

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