"For my own part I am pleased enough with surfaces...Such things for example as the grasp of a child's hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover, the silk of a girl's thigh, the sunlight on rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind - what else is there? What else do we need?"
- Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
Traffic. Traffic. Traffic.
I almost had three wrecks yesterday on my morning commute. That's down one from the usual two. The closest I came was when a lady decided not to yield to me and turned right in front of me. Both of our lights were green, but I had the right of way. Because of the flow of traffic behind me, I wound up right on her back bumper. I don't often lay on my horn, but yesterday I LAID on it. A sheepish grin in her rearview mirror and an even sheepier wave to me was her response; it felt like that "Oh my, did I just turn in front of you and almost cause a major accident that possibly could have ended your earthly existence at age 40? Oh wow, I am sorry. Silly me. Thanks. Have a good one. Ohmygod, I'm getting a text."
There's a line at the beginning of the move Legends of the Fall where the old Indian narrator talks about the colonel going over the mountains to "lose the madness." That's what I wanted to do yesterday after that incident - go somewhere over the mountains and lose this commute madness where people don't yield for anything, don't leave a car length between them and you, where she puts on makeup at 75mph and talks to someone on her cell phone at the same time, where he lights a cigarette with both hands and uses his knees to hold the steering wheel, and I could go on. Madness. God never intended a morning commute. It's stark evidence of the Fall. Folks trying frantically to get somewhere other than where they are, so they can go be someone they're really not. East of I-25. East of Eden. Banished from the garden.
I got home and told my girlfriend about it. She knows. She drives in it when forced to. I told her that one of these days, I want to be where the morning commute is walking to the edge of the driveway to pick up the paper. The only thing I'd have to yield to might be a rabbit or a fox. There would be someone right on my tail, but it'd be my dog and he doesn't wear makeup. No one would be important enough to talk to on a cell phone as I walked for the paper. I'd be alone with my thoughts, with the surfaces. The feel of an autumn chill as it finds the spaces in my red union suit; the perfect commute fashion statement. The honk of geese overhead - now there's a group that knows how to drive. The horn of a lone pickup that passes with an accompanying wave that's not sheepish but friendly. The beat of my heart. The pleasure of opening a virginal newspaper. The heat on my fingers from my coffee mug and the taste of Major Dickason's coffee going down my throat. The knowledge that where I am is right where I want to be. And the only madness is that the deer have been in the roses again. But that's easily forgiven.