Garrison Keillor, legendary yarn-spinner and the Christof behind the idyllic Lake Wobegon, has a new short essay appearing in Salon. In the piece, called “Just Follow the Map,” Keillor advises that the best way to break out of the holiday blues or blahs is to hop in your car, put the windows down and the music up, and drive west.
After an old friend confesses that the holidays have left him frustrated and lonely, Keillor tries to sympathize: “I listened and tried to say validating things, but guys don’t sit and brush each other’s hair and talk about life late into the night as girls do; our hair is too short. And my friend is 54, which is an awkward age. And I guess I believe in small answers to these large questions.”
One of his “small answers” is the aforementioned road trip, that staple of Americana that seems to be disappearing ever so slowly as flights become cheaper and gasoline gets more expensive.
When I was a kid, my family used to pile in the minivan and drive fourteen hours to New York or Colorado, and I never imagined that I might eventually become nostalgic for those long road trips. At the time, they were something to be endured rather than enjoyed. But as I’ve become more accustomed to flying, traveling in what Keillor calls “the realm of stale pretzels and unhappy flight attendants,” I really do pine for a long car ride– but, hey, I call shotgun.