Heatwave’s “The Groove Line,” was playing on the radio. The sun was out; the water was blue, and the mountains wrapped around. The road stretched and she was rolling. Dancing in her car as she drove home, she had four hours left. Four hours to be home for an entire week – and she was giddy. The song bounced off the windows of her car and she danced as she drove, squirming around in the seat. Her shoulders sprang up and down; her head bobbed and swirled. She performed any move that struck her fancy, carefree and excited to be headed home. Alone in her world of revelry, she pointed, drummed, and tapped as much as the road and traffic would allow. She was one with the wheel, and traffic was light. She was a Supreme; now a Pip. Meanwhile, a bored teenager in the car ahead used his cell phone to capture her dance of glee for all posterity. Five minutes later it was posted to the web, and in the space of two hours it went viral. When she arrived at the house – she was on “cloud nine . . .” and the evening news.
It’s a bird’s eye view I get – on the drive to and from work. I hit play on my iPod and listen to the latest book I’m into; then maybe two or three minutes in, I’m off on a tangent. Could have been a word that tripped my trigger. Could have been a concept, like “calling a friend,” or “a tsunami in Malaysia,” and I’m outside the car window, traipsing through the tundra with light bulbs and peppermints.
I know all the twists and curves by now. I seem to leave the mechanical part of my body, muscle-memory activated, at the wheel when I go on these side trips. Sometimes I don’t know how I manage not to get a speeding ticket, or how I avoid hitting a cow standing in the road. But when I drift into the cockpit, the speedometer is always right at 50. I don’t have cruise control. My foot just knows by now, I guess.
A delicious word spoken by the narrator and I’m off on another errand of make-believe. I eventually got wise, and nowadays I cue my phone’s voice recorder before I pull out onto the road. I never remember it all the right way later. It’s a bird’s eye view I get, on those winding roads, into my storytelling superpower.
Now, if I could just find my damn cape.
in wide open
roads wind sloping
living green round about
clapping pavement before and hind
window down, my arm out
all the freedom i can find
music’s blasting, i don’t mind
little untainted alcoves
tall green guardians surround heavenly
tucked and stashed mystery groves
whip past me going seventy
lost and found on an interstate
wilderness without and within
my worries and sorrows abate
and my business of late
disappear here, how long it has been