SNEAKER: DRIVE ON THE FREEWAY
(Life is a highway, now get on it!)
Submitted by Marianne H.
“That lady is not chasing me. She has a baby in an infant seat.”
SO HERE’S THE DEAL…
I cannot, under any circumstances, no matter how much in a hurry I am, drive on the freeway or highway. It always seems to me that everyone driving behind me is chasing me. To catch me. For what reason? Can’t figure that out. It just feels that I have to drive faster and faster to get away from the other drivers.
It gets worse. I have no patience with people who don’t drive well – or, at least, don’t obey the law. So as I am driving to get away from the people who are chasing me, and am already anxious, I get mad when drivers change lanes without signaling, drive while talking on the phone, cut me off to make turns while honking angrily – you get the idea. Somehow, when driving on streets, with everyone in slower motion, I can deal with the thoughtlessness of others, since the resulting danger would be easier to avoid. And the stop and go traffic makes the whole process more human. Hard to feel that someone is chasing me when they are driving 35 miles an hour, and stop and go to get there.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH…
I cannot spend my life taking an hour to get to my destination which is, in reality, only minutes away. It is inconvenient. It is silly. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to explain to others why I have to leave so early to get someplace, or why, when I drive a friend somewhere, I can’t take the highway. I am not a child. But I feel like one when it comes to living in a world where it is nearly impossible not to, at some time during the day, drive on a highway, and I can’t do it.
I resolve to do it. My methodology seems so obvious to me – get on the freeway, and just drive to the next exit, and then get off. Do that several times. Then drive past and exit at the second exit. Get off.
And I decide that at the same time I am driving, I will listen to my favorite, most soothing music , a song I love more than any other, a piece which makes me smile and gives me peace.
And I promise myself that I will make up stories for the other drivers, ones which do not include car chasing, but rather personal voyages which make sense to me.
Am getting into the driver’s seat. Seatbelt on. CD goes in – the song: Judy Garland (or Katherine McPhee) singing “Somewhere over The Rainbow”.
Breathe. OK. Breathing. Start the car. Drive to the freeway entrance. I pull over.
Breathing again. Judy is singing, “Bluebirds can fly.” Yup, I think, so can I.
I get on the onramp. Push on the gas pedal, harder and harder. Make it up the ramp to 45, then 50. Signal as I get into the left lane. Am up to 60. I see the cars behind me. “Nope”, I tell myself “. That lady is not chasing me. She has a baby in an infant seat, so she is taking that baby to music class. She is no hurry. She is just intent on getting there. Safely. She moves up alongside me, and as I glance at her, she is singing, probably to her baby. As she passes me, she signals.
OK. Good. I can do this. I get off at the next exit, as she does, and pull over.
That was not so bad. I decide to get on again, this very minute, and try for two exits.
Getting on. Getting up to 60 faster this time. Judy is singing, “Bluebirds fly over the rainbow, why, then oh why, can’t I?” I answer Judy – ” I can. Watch me.”
I am now doing 65. Cars are still passing me (that man with the cap over his eyes – he is on his way to a baseball game, I am sure, and he is hoping to catch a fly ball), but I don’t care. They are not chasing me – I seem to be chasing them. Instead of watching them for signs of hostility, I see people rushing to get home. I see blue skies. I change lanes (signaling of course) realizing that here I am, 31, and this is the first time I have actually changed lanes at 65 miles an hour. And I am fine. Smiling, actually. I pass others, and some still pass me. But my hands are not clenched, and my heart is not pounding.
Am I thrilled? Not quite. I signal, as I change lanes again, and get off at this exit. I see I drove past 4 exits. And Judy is, so appropriately, singing, “Dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true.”
OK. I guess you can say my sneakers are scuffed. Not filthy, but scuffed, nevertheless. First step – a big one for me. Next time, I am actually going to make it to the beach. Ten Exits. No problem.