I have been meaning to sit down and write this post ever since reading Alicia’s post, “From Junkers to Swagger Wagons.” When we were 16, one of our most favorite weekend activity was cruising down Dodge Street. Do teenagers still cruise today? We loved cruising so much we even went out in Alicia’s parents big ol’ hooptie station wagon when that was our absolute only option, rather then stay home. Back before the internet and Facebook, cruising was our way of social networking. It gave us a chance to meet a lot of people, well boys in particular, from all across the city. Alicia was hands down the best at pulling guys over, which I was more then grateful for being the quiet, shy one of the two of us. We met a lot of guys this way. My very first date was with a guy we pulled over while cruising.
On a typical Friday or Saturday night, we would load up the car with any number of girlfriends, crank up the tunes and head out to have some fun cruising down Dodge. We would do a couple of laps first to see if any guys we met from previous nights were out and about and also to see which cars had the cutest guys in them so we could focus on trying to pull them over. There was a definite art to cruising. You had to be a good, defensive driver because: 1) you had to swerve in and out of traffic to catch up with the car on your radar, and 2) you had to be able to yell out a window and drive at the same time. Believe it or not we never had a single accident while either of us were driving. One of friends wasn’t so lucky though and had a minor fender bender one night when she was driving us around.
Once we knew the lay of the land it was time to roll the windows down and work it! Our hope was the guys would do all the work and pull us over but it didn’t always work out that way. So, our standard pick up line was a simple, “Hi, what’s your name?” If the guys didn’t try to up their speed and lose us at the next light, then we would ask them to pull over so we could talk and maybe, just maybe get some digits and a potential date for the next weekend!
About a year after we turned 16, cruising down Dodge Street met an untimely death. The silly city council decided we teenagers were being to disruptive to the local businesses who were along the cruise loop and shut us down. Signs went up all up and down Dodge Street declaring it illegal to drive up and down the street more then 3 times in a row. For a while, we headed across the river and cruised Broadway Street in the city next to ours. This didn’t last long. We were getting bored with the whole cruising scene and had began looking for other ways to spend our nights out.
Cruising will always bring back such fond memories of my teenage years. One of the best things about cruising was all the laughing, gossiping and general fun spirited times I had with my friends. Having a license to drive, had opened this whole new world for us teenagers and we were very eager to venture out and explore it. We were young and free with no cares in the world but cruising down the road in our cars!