My mother and I went to Peru, Indiana this weekend for a friend’s wedding. We took:

loaf of home-made bread
bag of candied pineapple
container of chopped pitted dates
snack box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
container of Slim Jims
jar of peanut butter/strawberry jelly
jar of Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
bag of fried snow pea snacks
box of crackers/pretzels
jug of water
thermos of coffee

This was only an overnight, you understand, and the trip itself only took an hour. We left after breakfast and got there before lunch, left up there the next day after breakfast and got home before lunch. I don’t know what made us think we needed all that food. Happily, we did not eat it all.

What is it about a road trip that makes you want to eat–or at least makes you want to take lots to eat? Some of it is boredom. Some of it is tradition–snack food goes with road trips like popcorn goes with movies. But I think some of it is interaction. The driver drives, somebody else is in charge of the snacks, in charge of unwrapping something and handing it to the driver or pouring something and holding it for the driver. It’s friendly. It’s teamwork and communion. “You want some–” “Sure!” “Here you go.” “Thanks.” A pleasant little social interchange, with something good to eat or drink thrown into the bargain.

Writing exercise: Characterize two people on a road trip by what they brought to eat and how they make that social interchange.