Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Driving on the 401 highway

Car bumpers threaten to collide in explosive kisses, the catastrophic ignition of gasoline, or the dislodging of wheels that could pepper the asphalt with a reason to panic would be terrifying. Split second decisions govern the maneuvering of zipping gizmos, the pilgrimage as less-speedy creatures physically triggering clunky encasements to exaggerate and carry out their encoded motions. The need for extreme vigilance, resulting in rubber tendons and wired nerves, heightens the tension from managing and reacting to the eternal crossing of paths as others come in and out of it. From anticipating potentially life-crippling accidents.

Highway signs clutter view, indicating multiple options that are mutually cancelling, eye-exercises that seem to be inspired by the will of madness and goals which are directionally challenging at best. Open to so many possibilities but limited by the width and clearance of lanes in the short time that passes by when travelling at break-neck speed in a swarm of metal boxes. Trying to orient a vehicle in accordance with randomnly placed and only sometimes displayed early enough to be helpful signs. It is always a toss-up whether you should travel in the right lane or not. Once you do it, the exit you need is on the left. And there are about 50 obstacles between you and it! You can't even use your horn. Too late. In a honk you're going west instead of east because you thought the sign said so or just couldn't do a thing about it.

There are always the risk-taking weavers. You know them. You can tell who they are when they cut you off. Impatient to penetrate the openess out of this clausterphobic nightmare. They are ennerving to the calm, focused drivers, because it throws them off. (It throws anyone off. Unless they are in a coma most people grip the steering wheel) Space is up for competition. Obeying the rules saves others from you, but will everyone drive the speed limit? There is an untrustable body language between vehicles, and there are invisible facial expressions, felt and thought behind the windsheilds, though not expressed by the glint of the blinker.

Traffic makes so many things ineffective, while hindering other dysfunctional systems from functioning. Speeding is not a problem in traffic-jams. Stopping, because it's very repetitive and sometimes you're too bored to pay attention, is. Most you can do is be careful and watch. Become familiar with your brakes. Mirrors are neat, heed their view.

The highway is a place to be rid of after too much exposure. Let me make it to the garage. Thankfully I have already exited from it. Driver needs rest. He's a bit delirious now. It is fun to get lost sometimes, or cruise over a hill, mind you. Tonight my passenger seat was empty. Strange. To the someone who wasn't there it was like: you can let your window down a little bit. I'll close mine. It is cold, but that's how it is, in a car in the winter in Canada. I would be explaining this to you but then I remember.

Summary This is the thing: The highway to Toronto has signs that are most ineffectively placed and so confusing and frustrating that it's very frustrating in a way that I don't think anyone should be confused about.

To the one who has to fly: contrast between the 401 and the sky:
After I drive to the airport I drive back. As I step out of my vehicle, you sit on something that is not seated on anything else inside yours. I hope your feet are comfortably resting on the seat in front of you.

I drive a short distance as you fly above the clouds. I hope Asian cuisine tastes good eaten over a dinner table whose legs are made up of two wings. I forgot how bizarre and wonderful going to the airport was. So many connections to the atlas. The idea is to be set down lightly, like all successful astronauts. When you do, you touch down to that which severs all distance on this globe: the cord that is attached to everything: the information highway: that which can be travelled without physically moving anywhere, where there's no need for airbags: the internet.

2 Comments:

Blogger Savtadotty said...

You eloquently describe why my life's ambition was to sell my car and get along without driving. And you've never even driven in Israel! The "Information Highway" is much more fun!

5:03 AM  
Blogger Lala said...

Does this mean Johnny has left the building?

3:17 PM  

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