First, let me be perfectly clear here — I am an accidental tourist tonight. I have no business cruising through downtown Fort Collins with three teenage girls in a pickup truck. And rolling coal — a term that was recently explained to me.
But here I am. Wrapped in a blanket, hiding in the back seat of a Ford F250 because tonight, I am not a mom. Tonight I am an embedded reporter and the stories will tell themselves because tonight, we cruise. And I am mostly interested in the IHOP pancakes promised at the end of the ride — sometime around midnight.
Also, I am tired. I don’t usually go out and I most certainly don’t cruise. But tonight I’m on assignment. Sort of, but mostly I want to sleep.
So, I wait. Covered in a blanket in the backseat like a mom burrito and very close to beta sleep, trying not to correct my daughter’s shitty lane changes because that was part of the agreement. And don’t get me started on the music. Holy craptastic hellishness. But I accept it. For I am embedded now.
Oh, by the way, this blanket is a super soft blanket provided by my daughter so I can drop into hiding on notice in the backseat, which is frequent. *Come sweet slumber and cloud me in thy purple cloak…*
Wake up, Amy!
We agreed that I am to say nothing nor am I to change the guidance of this night of cruising. I’m simply along for the ride as an observer. I am not to speak unless it’s an emergency. I am silent. I am Burrito Mom.
Very early on, I learn that part of cruising is avoiding yet acknowledging cops, which both disturbs and excites me. Because I, too, used to do that. Cops are the enemy and the ultimate obstacle when cruising. They are to be avoided *yet* noted as part of the Code of Cruising.
Over the course of two hours, here’s what I hear from my comrades, “Cop. Cop. Cop. Cop. Sofia, slow down. Usually a cop there. Put your phone down. Cop. Cop. Cop. Look cool. Put on some country music. Cops like that.”
And I say nothing because it’s part of the agreement.
Cute cowboys, it turns out, are the ultimate goal of cruising. I do like cowboys, so this is the part where I start to take notice.
My head pops out of the mom burrito blanket so I can see who the girls are talking to. Cowboys. Damn cowboys. Cowboys everywhere. One is potentially and likely a rodeo clown. I try not to be obvious because that was my assignment: “Just be embedded, Mom.”
So we roll coal again. The girls finish their flirty conversations and flash their ridiculous waves. I hunker down in my mom burrito… And then I see it coming… and that’s when it gets real.
IHOP. Pancakes. And I feel peace. And I, Amy Cosper, mother of three, made it to midnight without saying a goddamned word.