My favorite place to sleep is in the car. The rhythmic motion of the car, the warmth from the seats, the low hum of the stereo, and the ticking of the turn signal provide an instant surge of melatonin. I have fond memories of my Dad and I blasting “Rockstar” by Nickelback. I know, I know. Nickelback is outdated and cringe, but they have produced some absolute bangers. I also love driving at the wheel (not asleep, of course), while blasting my music with the windows rolled down. Daydreaming is a hobby of mine, as I look out the windows of my car and the scenery from my hometown flashes by.
So, I was not surprised when I found a second home in the Vandy Vans. These vans help transport students across campus safely at night. I took my first Vandy Van ride this spring semester, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. My friends and I were headed over to Commons from Scomb, but it was cold and dark, so we decided to gamble and take the Vandy Van for the first time ever. We waited for a couple of short minutes, and then our knight-in-shining gold and black arrived. The foldable doors screeched open, and we ascended the staircase to our seats.
We sat down, and my first sense of feeling went to the heat radiating from the inside of the van. It surrounded my cold exterior, and melted through the layers of chill. I felt a sense of comfort as the yellow iridescent lights and warmth from the heaters made me sleepy. Yet, the icing on the cake for me was the music playing from the radio. The driver had put on the ’80s classic rock station, which just so happens to be my Dad’s all-time favorite era of music. Naturally, I grew up listening to these tunes, and overtime found myself enjoying them as much as my Dad. I heard classics from “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey to “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith. I was jolted back to car rides with my Dad and siblings, so my meter of comfort was reaching maximum levels.
The ride itself was smooth and calm, with the blinker making soft ticking noises at corners and the engine revved a slow purr at green lights. My friends and I were all in a trance as we looked out the windows at the glittery city of Nashville. We started off the ride cracking jokes, but we were soon thrown into a vortex of utmost comfort that we ended up finishing the ride in silence. We arrived at our destination, thanked the driver, and descended the stairs into the dark and cold night. We all had glassy eyes and slow thoughts when we first exited the van. How long were we in the van? Did we all age 10 years? Are we even in Nashville? Was that the Magic School bus?
We lost our trance-like state, and returned to a homeostasis, but we all had the same experience riding in the Vandy Van. It was a vortex of comfort that threw us all into memories from our childhood. I don’t know if the vents were blasting aromatic dopamine or serotonin, but it was such a calming and euphoric experience. The Van makes you remember things clearly, and look inward at yourself. Each time I take a ride with a Vandy Van, I close my eyes and let the warmth and music take over. For a short 10 minutes, I am transported to an alternate universe where my only concerns are if I know the next song lyric. I urge you to ride the Vandy Van with your friends, and see where the vortex takes you.