an homage to baseball (and bigger things)
The day my parents brought home the Chevy Corsica was a big day. We were living in a small town in southwestern Michigan, right by Lake Michigan, and I was five or six years old. A new car for the Millers felt pretty good (especially because it was a stick, which seemed cool).
My dad and I would ride around in that car as he listened to AM sports radio that we picked up from across the lake in Chicago. There was usually a sort of droning hum in the sound, like an electric buzz, probably because of the distance the signal had to travel. Sometimes I would notice my dad humming, too. Not a melody, though. He would just match the drone of the radio, every time he exhaled. I guess he was really into sports radio (still is).
Whether it was in the Corsica or our big white station wagon, I loved road trips as a kid. Thank God my generation wasn’t cursed with those built-in DVD players with flip-down screens like every third row of economy on an airplane. I’d let my mind get lost staring out the window as landscapes passed by. I remember doing a lot of daydreaming then. There was something about a road trip that felt freeing, like we were getting away with something. Whatever your normal schedule is, it has no claim on your life during a road trip. And your usual surroundings are replaced by bigger, more interesting scenes, like fields and highways and cities. I still love a good road trip.
I need experiences that help me pay attention to the things that seem insignificant and ignore the things that feel urgent sometimes. I want moments in which I disregard the clock and instead sense time moving through some other metric. I want to feel connected to other people by something other than email. Road trips with friends are good for all of that. But in the last few years of my life, I’ve found other ways of checking out on the urgent and checking into the transcendent, too. Like watching baseball.