Eyerman and Lofgren mention the metaphor of life as a journey numerous times throughout their essay. After discussing the topic more in depth in class yesterday, my mind continually came back to a song I have heard many times–Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts– because the title of the song is literally the metaphor we are talking about. I checked out the lyrics of the song, and it turns out that the whole first verse directly relates to what Eyerman and Lofgren were talking about in Romancing the Road. The verse goes:
“Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There’s a world outside ev’ry darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won’t hesitate
To break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today”
Eyerman and Lofgren write, “Going down the road, not only symbolized a way out, a going to and getting away from, it represented possibility, risk, and romance” (57). In Rascal Flatts song, lines like, “There’s are world outside ev’ry darkened door, Where blues won’t haunt you anymore,” speak to Eyerman’s and Lofgren’s idea of “possibility,” of a the road as being aa place where you can wash yourself clean of the mucky goo that your current life has bestowed upon you. Lines like “Where brave are free and lovers soar,” speak towards the idea of “romance,” as the road being a place of discovery, both personally and romantically. If you want to know if you love someone, leave the world behind and spend days cramped in a car with them, right?
What I believe is really enthralling, though, is the idea of “risk.” Eyerman and Lofgren say the road represents, “the throw of the dice, the chance of a new start and the ever present danger of failure…” (57). To me, the risk of the road is so appealing because of how accessible roads are to everyone in the country. While social and physical mobility are preached to be available to everyone in America, the road acts as a leveler of the playing field– The same road is utilized the same way by both the president of the United States and your Average Joe driving cross country. The road doesn’t discriminate against all the “ism’s,” it is simply always present and easily found. So, if life is getting you down, the road becomes one of your easiest ways out, no matter who you are, and that’s what has made the road such an icon in this country.
There is an urgency present when people discuss the road, though. This idea of, “we have to go now, its now or never.” Rascal Flatts certainly falls into this notion with lines like, “we won’t hesitate” or “there’s not much time left today.” I think the availability of roads is what feeds this idea–that the trip of a lifetime is just right outside your front door, tantalizingly close, so why keep prodding away at the monotonous life you live, when you can have adrenaline pumping through your veins and risk it all on the road?
In America, we preach that everyone has equal opportunity for mobility. In reality, there are people who want to “roll the dice” but have no dice to roll, or their dice has been rigged to land on only certain numbers. The road isn’t like that though. Everyone seemingly has the same dice. So, maybe, the road is a true manifestation of the American Dream we always talk about.
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