I’m the kind of dad who will take the family on a month-long road trip and then ruin it with a bunch of rules like “No screaming back there!” (because I don’t want to crash); “The driver picks the music!” (because I don’t want to go insane); and “Hey, no junk food before lunch!” (unless you give half to the driver).
But even up in Akita, in Japan’s pretty-far north, the summer days can be blistering hot by 11am. And after a couple hours cramped in the back seat with no escape from dad’s previous-century music, my kids were likely to start screaming at each other.
I pulled into a convenience store parking lot and said “Nobody wants ice-cream, right?” or something equally corny. The kids exploded out of the car and ran for the air conditioning and the ice-cream coolers. My wife almost beat them there. I couldn’t remember ever seeing her run so fast.
I stayed outside, absorbed in the poster in the window.