Sunday, July 12, 2009

Driving Me Crazy

Have you ever taken a long trip in the car? I mean, of course you have, the road trip with friends is one of the most time-honored and fantastic things ever, but I am talking about going on a long trip alone. Perhaps you are on a sales trip driving your company Oldsmobile across central Illinois. Or maybe you are going to the big Memorial Day summer kick-off party at your boss' summer home but your wife couldn't make it this year so you are flying solo. Whatever. I did that yesterday, and today, and there was nothing on the radio and I was bored with the compact discs that I had brought with me and so I sort of just had time to think and I was amazed by what I think about when I am driving alone.
What do you think about while you are driving alone? What do you do when you think no one is looking in your car? The greatest think tank about the life of the average American - Seinfeld - tackled this topic in a sort of round about way during its run. I am sure that you remember the episode where Jerry kept getting caught picking his nose in his car. So I guess that is what he does when he is alone in his car. I will admit to you that I talk to myself. Incessantly. Seriously, if there were some sort of psychological professional riding around with me that I could not see, like an invisible shrink or even better an invisible grad student in psychology, I am sure they could write their whole thesis or at least a term paper about what I was saying OUT LOUD while in the car all by my lonesome. And they would get an "A" because I only allow smart invisible psych students in my car with me.
Seriously though, when I am not talking to myself I am not sure that I have one specific thing that I think about. I am sure that some people like always play the game where they try to string a story together from the billboards that they pass. Like you pick the first word of the sentence off the first billboard, then you pick the second word off the second billboard, and so on. But not me. I know that if there is something big going on I tend to get lost in through about that thing. For instance, if I had just found out that I had gotten a girl pregnant, I am sure I would be thinking about that pretty intensely. I mean, that is a pretty big life change, you know? Sometimes there is nothing going on and I just get into a philosophical mood. Today, however was not one of those days.
Since today was not one of those days, I found myself doing one of the most common things that I do, aside from talking to myself. I have this nasty habit of trying to look down every side road to see what is down there. This is especially hard and dangerous when it is a four-way intersection. I find my head whipping around like some strange form of sideways whiplash just to see what there is to see. Today, however, I sort of took it to another level. I looked right down the third or fourth one-and-a-half lane gravel road with a nice country house on the corner and I found myself thinking about what it would be like to be coming home down that road. Then I started thinking about what it would be like if I were grown up and maybe coming home to the house in which I grew up for the holidays or whatever. I had all these images running through my head, sort of half the introduction to the show Newhart and half something out of the opening scenes of a movie on The Hallmark Channel. It was pretty funny now that I am thinking about it. Now, thinking about what I am thinking about while I am driving in the car while driving in the car? I've done that. Are you really surprised?

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