The other day, I heard the Florida-Georgia Line (ft. Nelly) song Cruise for probably the 80th time. And every time I heard it, I would think to myself, “This song really reminds me of high school.” But I couldn’t figure out why. I finally zeroed in on these lines in the chorus:
In this brand new Chevy with a lift kit
Would look a hella lot better with you up in it
So baby you a song
You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise.
It’s something about these lines, I thought. Then, later in the day, I remembered that this song was actually written by a guy I went to high school with, Jesse Rice (Don’t judge me–I remembered him posting about it, but I don’t listen to country, so I never heard it until it was redone with Nelly. Yes, I listen to Nelly.). So it sort of makes sense that his lyrics would remind me of that time period.
So here’s the thing: small town kids don’t always have much in the way of entertainment. We actually did a lot of “cruising.” I was trying to explain this to my husband, which earned me a lot of “Why?” and the occasional “In a circle?”
This was before everybody had a cell phone. As teenagers, we couldn’t just ring one another up and say, “Hey! Where you at?” If we wanted to see where people were and what they were doing, we cruised around local hot spots. Now, in small town South Carolina, “hot spots” include the (mostly defunct strip) mall, church parking lots, and abandoned lots. On a Friday or Saturday night, local teenagers would drive around and pass these “hot spots” and occasionally stop to chat. If you parked for ten minutes or so and no one else stopped (or if the police came by and told you to leave), you just started driving around again. The goal was that you’d see someone you knew at one of the spots, stop, and discuss “what’s going on tonight?”. Eventually, some sort of plan for fun would be devised—or we’d hit curfew and go home.
Now, there’s a town near ours that’s far more rural, and they had their own version of cruising, known as “cruising the grass patch.” This meant going out to an empty lot (of grass) and driving around in two concentric circles going in opposite directions. This way, you’d pass people, and as you did, you could slow and stop and chat with them.
I only “cruised the grass patch” once—purely for sociological purposes (i.e. curiosity and pure boredom). This brings me back to the “brand-new Chevy with a lift kit.” Most of the “discussion” at the grass patch was about trucks. Now, trucks, where we lived were a big deal. Having a lift kit = big deal. Glass packs = way cool. You catch my drift? And that’s basically how the discussions went: whose truck had what and whose didn’t and whose was better (this occasionally led to fights). There was a lot of posturing.
At least in our town, we were trying to find an activity (not that we always found one). In that town, that was the activity. I know, you may not see the difference: the line is thin. But rest assured, cruising the mall (sad though it may be) is très sophistiqué in comparison to driving in circles in a grass lot. For hours. And hours. On end. In their defense, there was absolutely nothing to do in that town (we had to drive 20-30 minutes to a movie theater. They had to add another 20-30 minutes on top of that). Also, everybody knew it was way better than “cruising the Boulevard” in Myrtle Beach, which only lame tourists did.