Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Oblivion or Bust
Hey I'm no Willie the Wimp, but when I pass, you can bury me behind the wheel. Why not? I've spent most of my adult life entombed in a procession of Fords: a pre-OJ White Bronco, skeevish EconoVans, all sorts of Escorts, one two-door Explorer and the esoteric little number I drive today. Couldn't tell you every make and model; but I bet I've fled, bled, and even played dead in more near-new hoopties than a parade of repo-men. It's not how I envisioned spending my very adult weekdays, but neither did I see all that lower back pain coming. Perhaps I was distracted by all the gas I passed. Or maybe I was taken with all those logos on the doors. Empty promises and day-glo striping can hypnotize any pilot, ya know - from that fresh faced traveler with dreams of prizes on the horizon to that craggy has-been who now lives in my rear-view mirror. Was that mental breakdown closer than it appeared? Or am I just a little highway-shy after flogging oh so many miles?
Ya got me. All I know is a thirty minute commute each way and a never ending list of stilted missions have left me a lot less fond of the cockpit than back when I first stowed away in a rusting production truck. Back then I'd let the older guys strap me to the hood if they'd let me hold their fancycam. It never occurred to me I'd have that pleasure for years and years, but now that that the groove in my shoulder matches the one in Unit Four's driver's seat, I can't help but glance at the places I've been. Clogged interstates and empty back-roads. Fog-choked mountain passes and trinket shop parking lots flooded by twisters with nicknames. Ritzy neighborhoods I could never afford and squalid housing projects where all eyes were on the cracker behind the wheel. I rolled low and slow through trailer parks where I wasn't wanted and emptied whole gas stations just by pulling up to the pumps with an unleaded icon on board. Mostly though I've leaned forward as the engine roared, wondering what normal folk feel when they grip the wheel and squint into the distance.
I may never know, for proper reflection would require me to slow down a bit - and as long as there's a cell phone diggin' into my side I simply cannot afford to coast. If I did, the good citizens of central N.C. might miss out on the latest in ribbon cutting intrigue. Whole imbroglios would go unnoticed if I get stuck in traffic.Viewers may even be forced to shut off their tranquilizing tubes and look outside should they really wanna be a Weather Spotter. No, I'm not crisscrossing the same eight counties day after day for nuthin! I'm on an expedition of utmost import: a timeless journey of stale drive-thru items and fine-divining u-turns. Yes, there's no mistaking I lead a purpose-driven life; I just wish it ran through Easy Street. Still, I saddle up most every morning fresh but never rested- knowing that no matter where I may end up, I'll have forgotten how to get there the next time I try to find it in a hurry.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to ask some stuttering drifter how to get to the Pop Tart Emporium.