Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The last passenger -draft 1

I was standing outside in bare feet and shorts, no shirt.  It was 9pm.  My car was running on the side of the highway.  I laughed.  More cars zoomed by at 70 mph and I can only imagine what they were thinking, first seeing the flashing lights of a car on the shoulder at night and then seeing a bare foot and shirtless man laughing while looking intently at the car.

What could possibly cause such a circumstance?

Marijuana.  That's what.  I was in the very first stages of heading to my place of quiet and salvation; a little family house in Falmouth, MA on Cape Cod.  I hadn't been driving for more than 10 minutes when I realized I was ill prepared for a 4.5 hour weed enhanced drive.

There are certain things one must prepare for BEFORE beginning a journey on which one will be filling ones brain with mind altering chemicals.  The key is to BE prepared.  To have your "items" set out before you, easily reachable, easily hideable.  And it's not just the weed...it's the cd's the water, the notepad, the wallet - all things needed to make the drive secondary to the experience of the drive.

Well I hadn't prepared and after a few long tokes it became paranoidly clear - If I was having trouble with my accessibility now, what would happen when I reached the tolls or 93 or 495 got forbid, without being prepared.  And what if one of those highway men who are now paid to watch for speeders and those outside of compliance happens to focus on my wifes little jeep?  That would not be a good thing.  The biggest deals always start with something small and I didn't feel like planting the seeds...actually I felt like digging up the seeds that I had already planted because they were the wrong ones.

And those were the thoughts in my mind as I directed the tires of the jeep over the roadway alarms (you know those grooves that run along the sides of the highway that signal with noise and vibration that you are about to crash in a fiery ball if you don't pull it back on the road?).  I felt the vibrations in and up my ass as both tires passed over - 50 mph, slowing down, 35, 30, 20...rolling to a stop, flashers on.  A Vermont highway (one of the two) is dark at night, there are no lights other than the lights of passing cars.  It is beauty for someone who expects it and terror for someone who doesn't.  For me the darkness was my cloak.  I didn't worry about putting shoes back on or my shirt.  This would take just a minute and anyone driving by wouldn't know what they were seeing till they were by, no time to stop, and by that time I would simply be an apparition to them...a story to be fuzzily told or an exclamation to their car mates..."what the fuck was that".

It was raining hard - and it didn't bother me at first.  My job was quick and a little rain never hurt anyone.  It was cold, cold like November cold but that didn't bother me for the same reason that the rain didn't bother me.  I had to get the lights rigged and I would jump back in the car and be on my way.

I pulled the casings off the fog lights. 

Do you know those cars that were engineered to be smarter than people?  It seems like a Japoneese thing.  The ones that keep lights on even when you have gotten out of the car.  The lights that you always assume will go off after you walk a few feet, but never do.  The lights that have you turning around and checking on them 50 yards away - saying to yourself..."no no it's ok...the lights were designed to stay on, I don't have to go back, those lights will go off...but they haven't, but they will, but what if they don't and I don't come back for a while and then my battery is dead.  But the manufacturers of the car surely did this to help you, the lights must go off, go on now, go about your business the lights will go off...but they haven't - ohh fuck" and you go back to the car and just as you unlock the self locking door - the lights go off.  Do you know those types of cars?  My wife's Jeep was once such car.  A greedy designer figuring that he or she would install intelligence before intelligence was ready.  Another aspect of cars like that is their self locking mechanisms that seem to have a mind all of their own.  

Whomever thought it was a good idea to incorporate some miniscule computer brain to the task of locking the car without the good advice of the driver is probably a millionaire but my only wish for them is an eternity spent with a car that thinks it knows better than you when it should be locked.

When the I heard the locks engage I cursed the designer.  I looked around.  I tried the door and then I laughed.  I was basically naked on the highway with my car running, locked out...with a couple of beers on the front seat and a big stash of ripe marjiuana right next to it and my cell phone next to that.

Normally hoping for Vermont's finest would be the next logical thing.  For reasons above - it obviously inspired terror in me.  As I looked around, trying the doors again (the same reason I open the fridge two minutes after I just opened it) I began to feel the cold that wasn't apparent 3 minutes ago when the whole thing was just a little stop before I got going again.

And before any type of panic could set in...I got it.

The next car to drive by got only a glimpse but it was a glimpse of something never seen by any person driving by south of exit 10 on Interstate 89.  There was the jeep, flashers on, seemingly as normal as could be.  But what was that?  Naked flesh, eyes reflecting the car lights, a wild smile, climbing on top of the car, no shoes, no shirt, just boxers; climbing on the jeep.  Why the smile?  The people would think as they flew by.  The next people seeing just the car, lights flashing silently, two bare feet on the end of two bare legs sticking up through the roof of the Jeep.  "I don't understand!" is what the last passenger to see, thought to herself, as she looked up at the rearview where the darkness had reset the scene.  She was driven forward to her destination with an itch in her head.

In passing conversation a day later, the last passenger to see the jeep and the legs sticking straight up from the roof, barefeet wiggling, yes...they were wiggling, in a passing conversation a day later she said to her friend, "you won't believe what I saw the other night!"

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