Tag Archives: car

Borrowed

It’s really interesting the cultural shift towards lending out what you don’t use for others. You can rent someone’s house for the weekend, have someone give you a lift in their car, use someone’s place as storage… it’s interesting people are becoming more conscious of maximizing their resources (not being wasteful… is that what sustainability means?), and in the proper American way of “how can I make money off this?” It’s like in cultures where it’s common to have big, close families all the sharing happens within the little ‘tribe,’ but here we seem to not have that, and instead pay for the same service and favors. It’s Iike paying a fee to have that communal feeling of generosity–because it is not expected of us.

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Keep Your Eyes on the Driver

you can tell a lot about a person just by taking a short drive with them. are they safe? do they take risks? are those risks calculated? do they ask you if you are hot/cold? or do they automatically turn the music down/change the station for you (because they’re embarrassed). when you’re cold, are they sweating because they turned the temperature up to make you happy? do they sing along? do they just focus on the road, or do they turn away from the windshield to look you in the eye? do they take the time to notice the sights and sounds? or are they distracted and text while drifting into another lane, and only correcting suddenly when you bring it to their attention? It doesn’t take long to notice that we’re not talking about driving anymore. That much is clear.

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Alarming

Car alarms are like having a landline. No one wants to answer it when it goes off, or even acknowledge it. “Eh, it’ll stop inabit…”
If car alarms were more like cell phones with personalized ‘ringtones’ then you’d see more people actually give a care.
“Ooh, someone just started playing my fav song! So lively, so jazzy–oh shit my car’s getting stolen!”

 

allmostrelevant bonus material: https://soundcloud.com/gary-stensland/stolen-car-1

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Breathe

“Here’s good.” She said.

A man and his wife started driving off the highway because she wanted to see if they could go somewhere where there was no sound. They drive through a dusty plain until they can’t see the road, and then they get out of the car. No rush of cars, horns, alarms, bells. Nothing surrounds them except a single tree in the distance.

The car’s warm engine crackles and pops softly. She raises an eyebrow at him. He responds with a sigh and he leads her towards the distant tree. It’s hot, and it’s a long walk. He fans the both of them with a used road map. A little over half way the wife sees the tree clearly. A dryness has spread through its branches like a cancer. The husband turns to look back, seeing that his wife had stopped walking. For the briefest of moments they were alone.

“Here’s good.” She lies down on the ground, and he joins her. She rests her head on his chest, closing her eyes, imagining nothing, listening to the only sound in the world; his heartbeat. It was bigger than anything in that moment, it was the only thing she felt, and when she closed her eyes it was all she knew. If she so much as lifted her head, opened her eyes, it would be gone forever. Of course his heart would keep beating, but it wouldn’t be the same. It would never be the same.

Unaware she had been holding her breath, she finally relaxed, and let it go.

“Here’s good.” He echoed. “…Here’s good.” And he closed his eyes.

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“I try my best not to slip and fall and spill words on a page by accident. And by that I mean words don’t appear on the page by mistake; but sometimes I do fall asleep behind the wheel and wake up to discover a 27 word pileup that’s blocking traffic both ways and has created a backup for several miles. Emergency services are not on their way.”

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Highway

As I was driving down the interstate somewhere between the bay and Sacramento, an attractive young girl passed me on the right, but slowed down and stayed even with me. I looked over and she was looking back and giggling to herself. I may have raised an eyebrow or two, but couldn’t figure what the fuss was about. She seemed so blissfully lost in the moment of taking her red coupe across the state… Why do attractive girls always drive fast red cars?

I swerved a little and figured I should pay attention to the road more than I was, but I couldn’t help but keep looking back over at her. There’s something so captivating when you make contact with someone on the highway. You’re both zooming by at deathly speeds, yet you stop and take the time to look each other in the eye. There’s no pressure, no expectations, and no formalities. You’re not ‘supposed’ to meet people on the highway. You probably won’t ever see them again. It’s like seeing a person stripped down without all the defenses they wear or disguises they put up in order to function in society. If you don’t see anything worth looking at, you look away and move on, or conversely, you keep looking to see what will happen in this short amount of time.

She pressed a napkin against the window and wrote on it, holding the pen cap in her teeth, and then turned it around. It was a phone number, and from the look on her face, it was hers. I checked my rear view so I didn’t get pulled over for texting, but there was no one around. I typed the number down and gave her a thumbs up. She winked and then sped off.

I never did see her again. I pulled over at the next rest stop thinking she might be there. I called the number. “We’re sorry. This number cannot be completed as dialed. Please hang up, or–” I must have typed it down wrong. There’s no spellcheck for phone numbers. I waited at the rest stop for quite some time looking back in the direction I came. I don’t know why. Maybe I was waiting for her to pull in to the rest stop, but the truth was she was zooming down the highway. Our encounter was so brief that I didn’t know what to make of it until it was gone, so I got back in my car and decided I have a lot of road ahead of me; and a lot of driving left to do.

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firetruck

I was taking a shuttle home from the airport along with a curmudgeony old man and lady (unrelated), and a family of two grandparents, two parents, and their three year old boy. Whenever a police car or a firetruck would come into site, the kid would point it out and get really excited. Authority figures weren’t the only things he saw though. He would point out the colorful building or the school bus, but nothing got him quite excited as a bright red firetruck. Now the parents are on the lookout for firetrucks too, in case their sun missed any “–there’s one–” and all of a sudden they’re really excited about firetrucks. Now 15 years later their kid has moved off to college and they can’t help but get a little excited when they hear a siren and a see a firetruck race off to go water down someone else’s livelihood.

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The steering wheel is useless unless you are moving.

Yes, and the motor is useless if the first thing you do is crash.

So why are we arguing?

Because that’s the only way anything ever gets done.

I mean, why are we arguing about this? It’s safe to say we both agree on the concept.

Yes, but you insist on being the head while saying I’m just the body.

Oh don’t you go switching the metaphor now.

…This must be what marriage is like.

No. Marriage is like the car you drive; you both don’t like it, but you drive it anyways.

That’s a rather bleak comparison.

It’s the best I could do without a compass.

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