Saturday, June 6, 2009

Driving Through Snow with a Time Machine

Like most really weird things, this started late at night.

Driving through the snow, caravanning.

We weren't exactly heading to the same place, but there were mountains and the road was curvy.

I was driving a Chevy Citation, which was a gutsy little front-wheel drive car. And she was in a Jeep with four-wheel drive. I was 22.

It was dark and the road was slippery and I was listening to a cassette tape someone had thrown through a wormhole from the future and the tape was playing the long version of this song, the one that builds forever before the vocals start:

And as the tension built and built, she speeded up. And by the end of the song, I was at an intersection. And there was no way of telling which way she went.

So I got out of the car... and I looked down the road to the left: darkness and trees. A quiet town and a warm motel room on my way somewhere else. And the girl in the Jeep? Long gone.

And down the road to the right: the Jeep parked in front of a bar. A long conversation over pitchers of beer. Wonder and passion. And heated arguments. Long periods without talking and recriminations and massive hurt feelings. And more arguments and long silences. And I got back in the car and steered to the right.

Surely the wonder and passion would all the bad stuff. Right?

Wrong. Of course, it took years to figure out how wrong. Years that erased the magic and wonder. So I bought that Death Cab for Cutie cassette and built the time-machine and put it in the tape player of the Citation back when I was 22. But this time I wrote "this is a warning from the future" on the tape. That would get my attention, right?

And I stood there in the woods... all those years ago again.

And I watched the Jeep go right.

And waited.

Ten minutes later, the Chevy Citation pulled up. And I watched myself get out and look down both roads. And I wondered why I'd ever worn such a stupid hat.

And I heard this song coming from the tape deck. And knew I'd never pay attention to the warning. So I watched the Citation go off to the right. And hoped this version of me would figure out a better warning system.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a similar story. Only my song's from the past: Joni Mitchell's "River":