I drive like death is around the corner. I may not look like I’m freaking out, and I may even drive faster than Captain America might like, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that my mind is constantly preparing for my fiery doom. (side note for English majors: ever notice that “fiery” rearranges the last two letters in “fire”?)
This constant anticipation of crunchy metal sounds leaves me with a lot of adrenalin while I am required to sit still and drive. The result: spinning wheels of brain matter, many random nerve firings, lots of radio fiddling. Talk radio is best for me, because it calms my brain and focuses some of the synapses towards something concrete, if not particularly constructive (although all the hours of NPR have made me a kick-ass trivia game player).
If NPR is hopelessly lost in a funk of Celtic folk singing, I’ll try the local liberal radio station. If the present liberal at the mike seems to be trying to do a backwards Rush impression, I’ll try the local comedy station. If they seem to be in a ten-minute block of herbal Viagra commercials, then I’m stuck with music, which does nothing for my adrenalin-pumped noggin, so I am forced to try to focus my thoughts on my own, which isn’t always successful.
I think of a lot of brilliant topics for this space, but they are gone as fast as the next thought speeds in.
Once, I saw a youngish guy walking down the sidewalk. It looked like he had the tips of his hair dyed blond. He had on one of those big, thick sweaters your mom gives you for Christmas. He had a doughy round face and was on the heavy side. And he was walking with the kind of jaunty step that catches your eye as you drive by.
I was so trapped in a sitting position with many long minutes of driving to go. I started trying to generate instances in which I could imagine not just being, but wanting to be, friends with this jauntily walking dude. Maybe if he was an editorial cartoonist. Not the fantasy comic type. I suppose they call themselves something else. Maybe if he was in a really good band. I mean lots of really cool band members look like complete geeks, so it’s not impossible. Improbable. Maybe impossible, owing to the fact that I was in Hazel Dell. He might be a successful artist with many sold-out shows, but I doubt it. Artists (successful or otherwise) usually take such care in dressing like artists. Well, I guess I’m either the exception to that rule, or that doesn’t really hold true.
Okay, I give up. He’s a talented, guitar-playing, master’s degree-sporting, comedic essayist with designs on a Senate seat. See, the moral to this story is that you shouldn’t judge a book by its tip-frosted hair.
Or he’s 30 and living on his sister’s couch because his parents threw him out for stealing beer money from them one too many times.