For me, nothing can quite evoke the feeling of being a child than sitting passenger in my parents car.
A few years back, I was browsing Spotify for new artists and came across Stornoway. Immediately, I fell in love with their music. However, one of their songs, ‘Fuel Up,’ was especially stirring, tracing the relationship with driving throughout various stages of life. For me, as a teenager soon to move to University, it was a welcome marker of what was to come.
Curled up in the back of the car
Nine years old you don’t know where you are
And your head’s on the window, your eyes are just closed
There’s a voice in the front and a hush on the road
You’re a passenger but your mind is travelling on
Open your eyes and you’re nine years older
Hands on the wheel and you’re racing on over
To lie with your first love, you can’t wait to see her
You borrowed the car and you think you’re the driver
But now you’re the passenger to your own heart
and it takes you travelling, travelling on
When the morning broke and the sky fell down
It went black as night and the wind blew round
And stole your directions, you lost your way home
And you felt like a passenger left by the road
But I’ll tell you the reason you couldn’t get home
Cause there’s nowhere you’ve been and it’s nowhere you’re going
Home is only a feeling you get in your mind
From the people you love and you travel beside
You may feel like a passenger but now you’re the driver
You’ve got to go travelling, travelling on
Because if you break down, it’s a cold, hard shoulder
So fuel up your mind and fire up your heart and drive on
Drive on, drive on
And when your days are darker, put your foot down harder
Drive on, drive on
However, it was that first verse that really resounded with me. I find little as calming as sitting and watching the landscape shift while my parents drive. There is a real sense of childlike trust that you no longer get as an adult, that belief that they will get you somewhere safely. And while I love to drive myself, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgia when thinking about those long sleepy journeys with my family.
Testing, testing, 1,2,3.
There is something about counting up that is far less terrifying than its counterpart: ‘3,2,1.’ Counting up presumes a continuation, an extension and accumulation, while counting down anticipates an end or a beginning.
The ‘3,2,1’ trick, has potentially, been used by every parent ever, anywhere, as a tool to get their child to stop misbehaving. What happens after the countdown ends, is of course unknown, but it is that unspecified ending that invokes a sense of fear in the pits of children’s stomachs worldwide. When I was younger, this simple utterance would work wonders. My parents would calmly count down, and I would pause whatever I was doing and calculate whether it was worth it. In that space of the unknown numerous outcomes would be
They won every time. However, at a certain age, it ceases to be as effective, and eventually becomes useless, with the realisation that the parent rarely actually has a consequence figured out already.
However, counting down continues to be a fantastic tool in building tension. It appears at the beginning of films; the start of a race, a song; the build up to take off.
It ends in an exhale.
We expect a beginning. This is mine