Survival Guide to the Car Ride Back Home for Winter Break

If you’re driving by yourself or flying, you probably have a plan of sparking up a jibber joint and doing eighty the whole way or jerking-off in the airplane bathroom before falling asleep in your seat during the first ten minutes of that Jackie Robinson movie. However, if your school’s within a few hours of your parents’ place, you might be in for one of those classic awkward rides home. However, adhere to our advice to weather the storm of uncomfortableness and soon you’ll be home on break with nothing left to do for the next three weeks except binge eat, sleep fourteen hours a day, and re-watch all of The Wire.

First off, it’s a rookie mistake to have your parent come into your domicile. Unless you have something that you desperately need help carrying, make up a lie about increased building security. “Sorry, Mom, I’ll just come outside with my laundry. Yeah, there was this gang fight, and then a rape happened, and then this one complain-y kid got his iPod stolen and he bitched enough for the leasing company to put keycard locks on the outside of the apartment building, so, yeah, it’s easier if I just come down.” A parent coming up means that you’re either going to have to clean up the four months of apathy trash and body-hair trimmings you’ve been living in or endure a lecture on hygiene, self-respect, and tub cleaning for the entire car ride.

Once in the car, it’ll, once again, become blatantly apparent that your folks tell a lot better stories when they’re drinking. Sober in a one-on-one situation, a lot of parents feel pressure to tell stories with morals and life lessons instead of entertaining tales that reinforce recklessly not-giving-a-shit. It a shame they won’t share that one time Dad kinda-sorta drunk drove a stolen car into a river before walking home and never facing consequences or any stories from the saga when Mom was really into acid, dream journals, and Laser Floyd.  Around their children, some parents try to live up to a paradigm of ethical integrity and impart life lessons. Stories stop being fun, shenanigan-filled romps and become dry, depressing narratives that end with things like “tobacco doesn’t care how hot or pretty your mouth is now” or “that’s why I wear a seatbelt AND watch for crossing trains.” Come on, parents, if we wanted our amusement sacrificed for preachy parables we’d all just start going to church again. Get a road beer or three in your driver and the journey will become a lot more fun.

Now, always have a good, non-family topic to argue about ready. You’ve lived through enough dinner-table rants, Election Day grudges, and email forwards to know where your parents stand on the issues. So if they happen to broach the unpleasant issue of your spending, studying, or sexual habits, feel free just bring up some blood-pressure raising subject and get ready to pass the time through relentlessly debating each other. Relish in your flawless diversion, as it beats addressing real issues or listening to those couple out-of-context chapters from whatever book on tape they listened to on the way there.

If you’re in a bind, namely you fucked up in some capacity and you know a lecture is imminent, utilize your good friend, drug-induced sleep, to help you through. A pregame of Tylenol PM and a tumbler of whiskey can make a four-hour ride seem like a quick jaunt back from the grocery store. Ideally, your parents will think you’re just exhausted from studying and chalk up that “blood and booze” smell to “library musk” while precious memories of a younger you napping melts their fury into nostalgic delight.

Godspeed, you lovable alcoholics!

Justin Gawel is an adult baby from Michigan whose articles appear on BroBible most Thursdays. Look for more of his writing, his archive, and his updates at or follow him @justingawel on Twitter.