I Love To Drive.

I jinxed myself. I didn’t even get 6 hours sleep last night, very little deep sleep (10%), battled the full face mask all night and tweaked my neck badly so I can’t look to the left. Bahg! Jinxed. So, zombified today.

On a good note, yesterday I drove! And it was delicious. I smiled the whole way to my appointment, relishing changing lanes and turning corners. It’s amazing the joy I can get from the little things now. My glee was not so much because it was a sense of accomplishment or a baby-step forward or anything, just simply because, in the words of Raising Arizona‘s Gale Snoats: I love to drive. I love it. I love being in control of where I go. I love the feeling that I could just leave and see anything I want. I’ve fantasized about this my whole driving life: on the way to work, I’d think, I could just not take the exit and keep heading East… I’d be in Boston soon, a city (and accent) I love…

I did the cross-country trip in the opposite direction 17 years ago, by myself, on my way from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest. I could write a book about those few days driving across the country. I had a teeny red Ford Festiva named Peppy. He was my best friend for a long time. He was my escape for years ~ in college and through all of my 20s, I would take refuge in Peppy when I needed to get away. I’d just camp out there, listening to music, smoking cigarettes. Years before, fed up with the endless Midwestern winter, my friends and I drove from Madison, Wisconsin to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and Peppy was our hotel. Another year, on a whim, we drove Peppy to the East Coast, walked around Harvard’s campus and then spent St. Patrick’s Day in Central Park. We did the return trip in one shot, taking turns picking music, all of us singing together at the top of our lungs. But, when I drove (3/4 of the way) across America by myself… heading West… leaving college behind… it was the first time I truly felt free. It was before mobile phones and all I had was a bunch of cassette tapes and Hobbes, my childhood teddy bear, sitting shotgun. It was a magical feeling: the stereo turned up all the way, cruising at night on a desolate highway ~in between cities, it seemed we were alone on earth, the overhead lights rhythmically slipping up and over my windshield. It was hypnotic and peaceful. I’ll never be able to listen to The Cure’s Disintegration in daylight again.

There was a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where Hobbes posed for a bunch of photos in all these different wacky positions and, at the end, you see Calvin looking at all his snapshots and each one has Hobbes slumped, motionless, in the same pose. It broke my heart ~ in a loving way. The imagination of a child, playing alone… So, on that road trip, I took pictures of my Hobbes in all the photo-op places off the highway. Hobbes looking out over the Badlands, Hobbes in the dirty motel in Montana, Hobbes sitting in the middle of a flat, empty road in Idaho that went in a straight line into eternity and, finally, Hobbes on the ferry to Bainbridge Island. I was trying to get to the ocean like the Motorcycle Boy from Rumblefish ~ always wrapped up in the tragic, beautiful fairy tale ~ but I didn’t quite make it. Maybe one day.

motorcycle boy