I used to play singles on the cassette player in the family wagon. The song would repeat automatically, which was fine by me as it was usually my favourite at the time. The rest of the family weren’t too impressed though. They didn’t have much choice when radio reception had long since left us during long family adventures to remote parts of New Zealand.
There were countless feuds and to be honest, it was part of the fun of travel. Maps were made of paper. We inevitably ended up lost and consequently arguments ensued. Mums want to stop and ask for directions. Dads don’t want to waste more time than they’ve lost thanks to their children’s constant need to visit the bathroom or purge the candyfloss they just scoffed at the beginning of the journey.
I was recently enlightened what the set up is in a typical family car these days. Well, GPS’s are a dime a dozen and except for plugging it in and turning it on, there’s no room for adults to argue. A slightly nasal woman instructs them clearly when and where to turn. The guesswork that caused my family often take a wrong turn is gone. What Kiwi doesn’t love a tiki-tour now and then?
Children’s fodder for fighting is significantly reduced nowadays. Instead of a shared radio and tape deck, they get individual entertainment compartments with their own television screens, headphones and content. When did cars become like airlines? And what do travelling families passionately argue about now?