thoughts, tires, and tarmacPosted: November 14, 2010
There isn’t much ahead, just the prospect of lying in my own bed for once.
I’m dozing off behind the wheel of a car the age of a fourth grader, while the wind rattles the car windows in a manner not unlike that of a shiver. At eighty miles an hour, on a dark stretch of road illuminated only by passing radio towers and UFOs, I’m resting my elbow on cold plastic and glass while resting my head on the hand attached to the forearm attached to said elbow. It’s too dark to form a coherent thought and too monotonous a drive to gain any sort of excitement, as evidenced by the other people in the automobile, currently asleep.
The one in the back seat, wrapped up in a hooded sweater and white cords descending from his ears, is long gone. His snores, loud enough to penetrate the sound of air rushing past us add to the drone of the drive, only bringing variety with the occasional cough or snort. The other one, holed up two feet adjacent to me, is leaning his face on the passenger side window, and I’m left wondering how the hell he can tolerate the vibrations. The rattle’s enough to drive someone crazy, and any bump in the road would cause his head to disconnect from the glass for a brief instant and reconnect with a loud thunk, enough to make his heart stutter and knock him awake.
There’s nothing to do but grip the steering wheel and stare into the darkness while listening to the CD being churned out through the speaker system. My hand gets tired of holding up my weary eyes and now I’m just gripping air. Every time I consider doing something stupid; take up smoking cigarettes or roll down my window and let the air currents lead my arm and fingers in a dance while risking becoming an amputee, all just so I can have something to do with my hands instead of letting them atrophy into claw shapes once I peel them from the wheel, I take a sip of iced tea. There’s about a quarter of the bottle left, and I’ve already decided that there won’t be another pit stop for another hour.
Drops of water start to accumulate on my windshield and wiping them away just makes it worse. Nearby cars in the form of small red and yellow orbs of light have now transmuted into streaks. The outside air roars louder now, as its being ripped apart by a bored kid audacious enough to break the speed limit in a ten year old car. Being behind the wheel sounds more like being strapped in the window seat of an airplane, watching the wing lights pulsate slowly and staring at the night sky above the clouds.
If it were daytime here beneath the clouds, the domineering darkness would be replaced by flat fields and scattered trees, the orange-tinged gray of the visible road would be baked by the sun instead of headlights. I would be less reminded of the fact that someone I love is a plane ride away. I’d be more enchanted by the prospect of seeing a funny sign, roadside stall, or cow, and absolutely enthralled at the thought of all three of those things being spotted at the exact same time. But that’s not the timing for this particular instance, instead I’m traveling in a straight line, listening to people snoring and my music barely penetrating the noise of engines and passing miles.
They’re the sounds I’d much rather her to hear than me, because at least then she’d be closer to home.