The exact length and breadth of the drag depends on when you lived as a teenager in my childhood hometown. In the middle ‘90s, when I was a driver, the drag was basically from the Puckett’s grocery store parking lot to the main intersection maybe a couple miles away. We drove and drove. Sometimes, kids would congregate at one end or the other but usually at the north end. We listened to music, flirted, and gossiped. North. Turn around. South. Over and again until curfew or the mosquito sprayer scattered us.

I lived my whole childhood in the same house; yet, I was an outsider in my town. I was socially awkward. Half of me knew I was invisible. The other half hoped I was. A few fast friends and I kept one another company, but I wasn’t part of the larger group. I don’t know how much this depended on me and how much it depended on the insiders. It bothered me then but not now.

That’s the power of the drag. It pulls teenagers toward the flame of community and then it’s done. And the hopes, the mischief, the regrets of the drag stay behind.