Jan 7, 2009

driving sideways

And so I turned it off.

Yeah, so I don’t know when. I can’t pinpoint a moment. But I can tell you this: it’s been like autopilot. No: cruise control with a slow leak. Like, if your car was ever so slightly programmed incorrectly to slow down a quarter mile an hour every so often when left on autopilot so almost imperceptibly, as you were listening the radio, having a conversation, you would begin to slow and eventually come to a grinding halt.
And what of the cars around you? Would they honk? Shake their fists? Or simply pass you and shake their head in confusion.

Yes, it’s like that. But life. Real life. As in all its enthusiasm and vive and intent.

So there I am. You can see me, progressing in a mostly perfect line at a slowly deteriorating pace, listening to the same old mix on autorepeat, feeling oddly safe at first, but beginning to get a sense of trepidation as more cars pass me, more honking takes place…

I mean, at first I was probably shaking my first! Asshole! Calmdown! What’s your hurry!? What is wrong with the world where everyone needs to be slightly more neurotic about the silliest things and so what if I choose to keep my own pace? Fuck off.
But then I was wondering “huh, a lot of people are passing me, that’s odd. But the speedometer is set and I can’t figure out what their damn problem is”
And then suddenly I’m acutely aware that is I, who by error of gross apathy and a kind of negligence, has fucked up.

Now here is the thing. I can just turn the damn cruise control off, right? Step on the gas pedal, pull it up to speed, turn off the damn stereo, listen to time revved back up in motion. But the thing is…the thing also is, if I never even noticed my deteriorating pace, did I really even care to get where I was going? Where was I going again? Did I ever even know? Was I out for a joy ride? Was I on my way to work? A wedding? A funeral?

I really just don’t know. I just know that I pulled over by the side of the road and suddenly I was in the middle of fucking nowhere that looked just like many everywheres but no place I could recall or ever wanted to be. And it was quite. And not in a soothing way. Just quiet. Like the moments after you turn off a TV show you weren’t all that interested in. Like the lights up in a theater after last show and people quietly gathering their things.
And the fact that I could see hundreds of other people pulled over as well, windows pulled up, contemplating their next move, or their stereos, or their maps, or for all I know, their belly buttons, didn’t make it any less lonely. Or less scary.

So here I am guys. Side of an unknown road. I’ve still got gas I think, although I have doubts about this car, at least for the real long haul.
What next? Back on the road, Take out my cell, Pull out my map? Open the door? Walk? Forward? Back?
Do I even take the road?

3 comments:

rif said...

I think you're awesome. Also, I have very little idea what you're talking about. Therefore I suggest you let the stars be your guide. If it's daytime where you are, use the sun and clouds.

Stacy said...

I have no advice for you, but I very much enjoy your writing, as always.

cordelia said...

Enjoy the break. Maybe you will like it.