Sunday, August 06, 2006

On the Road

It's my annual visit-the-nephews tour of NJ/Pa. And, since I just finished On the Road by Jack K., I'll write a stream-of-consciousness travelogue.
I-95 rolls blue! But my eyes rise to the orange side of a U-Haul falling away beside. Someone's peeled off a letter, and "self moving" is "elf moving."
Now, a pickup sports magnetic catfish and a bumper sticker for a diner that serves a "trash plate." It swallows me at Exit 14, East Bessemer City, 11:48 a.m. The Fray bewails, "Over My Head," on the radio.
A mud-flapless truck chucks a tiny, five-pointed star into my windshield, 12:03. Shoot.
A billboard: "After 10,000 tries, there was light," with a portrait of Thomas Edison. The radio: "No one can take away your right to fight, and to never surrender."
I think of: selling my car to become a hard-core pedestrian, guys, rolling the coffee shuttle on a hand truck, guys, how to capture my co-workers in words, men, the details that really "tell," God and grace, why I always forget my cell-phone charger, guys, what I -should- have said.
This song! "Ooo, drivin' my life away ..." Country's great for road trips bcs the songs tell stories, but the Open Road genre is dangerous for a woman steeling to give up cars. A Volvo wagon's bumper sticker: "Military solutions are problems."
2:54: Live's "Lightning Crashes." Must sing along. Loudly. Following a flatbed of compressed-wood 4X4s, Virginia plates, into Vance Co. (Home of Kerr Lake.)
4:37, Richmond. The elevated highways to this pale spread are disconnected from earth. A pale haze. 104 degrees. Electric dynamos. Phillip Morris' corporate HQ with its huge, cigarette-silloutte sign emblazoned with brand names. Staind on the radio. All paleness and powerlines except for a sudden, antique, red-brick church, and a beatnik billboard for "Departing Bike Works."
Pretty Harley to my left. The pickup's driver to my right glances over, in interest. Bumper sticker in the window by his ear, "Watch for motorcycles, Virginia!"
Descent into Washington, 6:07 p.m. Traffic stops. On the shoulder, one black rubber galosh. Then, a whole McDonald's cheeseburger, nestled on its wrapper, three feet from my car door.
Israel's turmoil updated on NPR. The big rectangle of a white Ford Explorer, Maryland plates, 284M505.