Driving at Night


Let me tell you something. I like to get lost, on purpose, at night. It’s a habit I developed in my sixteenth year, when I acquired my first time machine. To get lost in time. “Get lost,” that’s the old saying isn’t it? Let’s get lost together.

I drive foreign streets in the night when the moon is smiling side-ways. No one knows where I am and I love it. I like to watch passing cars filled with arguing couples, women smoking, teenagers bobbing their heads like turkeys to hip-hop, bebop. I like to sing to myself, alone, with the windows open, in the cool, cold night.

I sit up straight, so I won’t miss anything in the dark: the swaying trees, the yellow lines, the signs that tell me what is supposed to be important in electric neon green and pink and red. I can mosey now and I like that word, mosey, to describe what I’m doing. To wander or shuffle about leisurely; stroll; saunter. I would like to be a connoisseur of sauntering.

I especially love the canyon in autumn, in the dark. The giant purple crags hug my peripheral vision, companions. We know each other well. The russet leaves cling to my windshield like vagrants hitching a ride. And then I deviate from my regular path and take another way and get lost to my utter delight. I take these lengthy drives when there is music I want to hear or thoughts I wish to appear or when I want new places to reveal themselves to me accompanied to Jeff Buckley.

I might end up at a cafe or a gas station or an abandoned, derelict barn or a run-down neighborhood riddled with lost hope or squeaky clean, yuppie suburbia; houses with beautiful windows. I drive past old boyfriends’ homes and wonder if their new lives are happy, past girl friends’ door steps and reminisce kissing. I drive past homes I used to live in and wonder who sleeps where I slept, now. Do they dream as I did?

I notice that, at night, when it has just rained, the streets shine like diamonds with their coat of wet oil slick. Stars dancing in urban pools.

I am an amateur wanderer, observing rain and clouds and oblivious travelers…and you have come with me. Did you enjoy yourself?

I like to get lost. There could be nothing worse than always knowing which way you’re going.

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