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It’s one of those sounded-good-at-the-time ideas. “Let’s drive across Spain and France during a heatwave. We’ll take the Classic even though it doesn’t have air conditioning and the steering wheel will be on the wrong side for European driving. And we’ll take the dog. It’ll be fun.” Said nobody ever? Alas, wrong. I must have uttered words to that effect because there we were, driving across Spain. And France.

And you know what? Even though all those European countries look about the size of Rhode Island to my American geography eyes, they are actually huge. Especially when you measure them in those adorable little kilometers instead of miles.

So yes, I was bored. Playing car games was out because the only other people there were the dog (far too sophisticated) and the Driver (far too busy complaining about every other driver on the road and about road signs in the Basque dialect which clearly must have been written during a big sale on letters X, Z, and T because most words have a distinct shortage of vowels.)

Singing was even more out. My family has been labeled singing-impaired by one of my brother-in-laws. He was being kind. By mutual consent, we do not attempt singing in public.

That left… torturing other drivers. I noticed that people would pull alongside, glance over at me, and look worried until they realized that the woman with both arms stretched back up and behind her head was not the actual driver of the car. Well okay.

First I set the stage. On the dashboard in front of what would have been the steering wheel in regular car, I set up lunch. Cheese, crackers, and coffee made with one of those little instant electric kettles.


Then I got up on my knees in the seat, turned around, and faced the back seat. Driver after driver passed us, their faces a study in panic and horror. Some shouted in Spanish or French or consonant-riddled Basque. Usually I waved.

My work here was done.

How about you? How do you pass the time on road trips?