Small town living: cruising?

26 Mar
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Kind of like this, but with crappier cars and less reason. 

The other day I was wishing a childhood friend a happy birthday on Facebook. “Happy Birthday, old man!” I wrote. “Hop in your car and go cruise the McDonald’s to feel young again!”

As soon as the words came out, I cracked up. They struck me as absurd – not only imagining my 42 year-old friend attempting this, but also because the entire concept of “cruising” seemed so ridiculous.

Unless you’re from a small town, you probably have (at best) only a vague notion of what cruising entails. I know this because – after cracking myself up with my Facebook post – I asked Alan if cruising was a thing in Northern Virginia when he was a kid.

He gave me a blank look. “What kind of cruising?”

Which basically was the confirmation I needed that cruising was not, in fact, a universal THING.

After I explained it, he asked if we also hung out at sock hops, then returned to the book he was reading. (I think he’s suppressing his jealousy.) 

If, like Alan, you grew up in a semi-urban area where cruising wasn’t a thing, I’ll offer a quick description: Cruising was the main Friday/Saturday night activity for high schoolers in our small town. It involved hopping in a friend’s car – usually with a few other people – and driving a repeated loop of town, waving at other kids doing the same thing, and occasionally stopping at McDonald’s to have an actual conversation with someone.

There’s really no way to describe it that makes it sound even remotely as fulfilling as it somehow was. And if it’s something you’ve never experienced, it probably sounds both weird AND boring.

I say that because as an adult who is now living carless in a large city, the idea even strikes ME as ludicrous. The environmentalist in me also cringes thinking about the gas that we wasted, going exactly no where.

And before you ask: No, we did NOT tip cows for sport. That’s tacky. We were too busy tp’ing each other’s houses for that.


8 Responses to “Small town living: cruising?”

  1. Kelly Thompson March 26, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    Blue Earth Avenue, with stops in the Fairmall parking lot and Jake’s Pizza. But I could only go cruising when I was done working at McDonalds. Seriously. Fun post – thanks for the grin!

    • pithypants March 28, 2016 at 8:54 pm #

      Whew! Glad I’m not the only one. Brings back memories, doesn’t it?

  2. Alicia Farmer March 27, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    If your readers don’t know about cruising, they may not know about either.

    • pithypants March 28, 2016 at 8:54 pm #

      Exactly. I like to be a dick like that.

  3. joyburnout March 27, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    I’m grinning at the pervy thoughts “cruising” conjures up now. Oh, how (relatively) innocent we were! Thanks for the memories.

    • pithypants March 28, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

      Ha! It makes me wonder what they did before McDonald’s arrived on the scene. What were the destinations? The Dog N Suds and the Li’l Skipper?!

  4. Babs March 28, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    Ha! I grew up in the same house as him as I know what it is! Obviously he never hung out at the main strip in Manassas during high school. All of our cars were tricked out and had ridiculously loud sound systems… it was a fun time in life 🙂

    • pithypants March 28, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

      Ha! He tried to tell me, “Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there isn’t exactly a ‘main drag’ in Fairfax.” I said, “But when you were growing up that was all farmland, right?!” He didn’t like that.

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