Drive Failure

“For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn”

Ernest Hemingway (maybe)

how am i driving

I’d guess maybe fifteen years ago we were driving along on some sort of road trip or camping trip, my dad and my brother and me. I was riding in the back as we climbed up some winding mountain road– the kind where it’s difficult sometimes not to think about what happens if the driver makes a mistake and nudges out over the asphalt into the void– When I saw a mass of ivy leaves along the side of the road, which itself wouldn’t be unusual except I could swear I could just see the back end of a car poking out from it. I wondered if I should say something about it, but…

Much more recently, maybe five years ago, I was driving through a thick fog, an incredibly thick Silent-Hill-brand-pea-soup fog. I was going a pretty reasonable speed under the circumstances, meaning. I slowed the fuck down like a sane person, and was driving along in the left lane when I saw, half buried in the bush which divided the two halves of the freeway, a crashed car. I swerved out of the way and continued on. I suppose I should have called the police, but…

And it was like they’d never happened, either of them. Maybe they didn’t. All too often I lose track of which are the dreams and which are the memories. I hope this uncertainty won’t lead me to be publicly harangued by Oprah someday if I write my memoirs. I will say that I’m not lying, at least, since one must intend to deceive if one lies, and if I deceive it’s entirely by accident.

I’m more certain about hitting a deer a few years ago. I suppose it could have not been a deer, I didn’t look closely, but it was a something which appeared in front of my car and then disappeared with a dramatic thump and left my grill smeared in– blood? Oh I wish. No, apparently when you compress a deer’s midsection with a hunk of hurtling metal and plastic it causes it to shit all over the place. I was drinking a Rockstar, and due to the aroma there’s a permanent scar in my psyche now that tastes like Rockstar and deer shit. There’s evidence that that one definitely happened, though, since I now drive a completely different car, which is a real shame because I liked that car a lot.

I guess collisions are, by their nature, much better recorded than near misses and mysterious wrecks.

That first wreck on the mountainside… it looked old.

I wonder if someone slammed into naked rock and the ivy grew over their car with time. I wonder if they were okay, if they called for help, if the authorities saw the car and just decided it was too much trouble to remove and just left it there for the leaves to grow over.

I wonder, too, if they weren’t okay, if the authorities never found the car, if the leaves embraced the wreck without enough force to cushion the blow, if the passenger disappeared, if someone waited for them, if someone waits for them still.

The things I’ve seen, the things we have all seen– it may not seem like much, but we’ve each got a million seeds for a million stories in us. But all of them, if they are never planted, will just end with our own story.

It’s not a tragedy, but it’s sad nevertheless.

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