When I drive, I jot down random thoughts. I've spent a lot of time driving by myself lately; the trip to see my sister in Toledo is about nine hours each way.
I kiss Bill and the dogs goodbye and launch my coffee-swilling self into a paradox: heading east on the Western Kentucky Parkway. Into the sun. Going south to get north. Revisiting a not so peachy past to face a futile future. Enough alliteration for you? I have fun with that as I drive, drearily drumming my digits on the dash.
Okay. I'll stop. Maybe.
Oh, no, Mr. Turtle. He's made it across the fast lane. Now he's in my path, his neck quite literally stuck out as far as it will stretch, willing his turtle-ocidal shell to hurry. That shell designed to protect him, now his deadly anchor.
I swear he looked me in the eye. Panicked as though he knew the consequences of his poor life choice. Did he wake up before the sun, as I had, and had he written in his turtle planner, "Wed June 17: travel south across the Western KY PKWY"? He had made it across the westbound lanes, across the median. He looked at me now and said, "Shit! Shit! Shit! Bad idea. Crap, I'm toast, CRAP!!!" [Sorry for the vulgarity. It's a direct quote. Blame the turtle. Although, how can you, really?]
I did not crush him. It only required a minor swerve on my part. I watched his small, hopeless figure in my rear view. Not a good day for Mr. Turtle.
I pass a big dog dead in the slow lane. Who lets the family dog run along a highway? Maybe he slipped out a door that hadn't been properly closed. Maybe someone was calling and calling and posting lost dog signs. Maybe no one cared.
I get off to pee, and pass a Baptist day camp. Twenty bored teenagers pretending to play a game with a basket ball. Shouldn't one or two of them wear a smile with their sweat and matching tee shirts? Maybe it was the camp dog on the highway.
I buy a Hostess cinnamon roll, and I wonder if my sister likes sweet tea. I make a mistake and read the wrapper. Eight hundred calories, folks, for real. Good God, no wonder we're all obese diabetics. I don't eat it. I wasted $1.79.
I'm still hungry.
Back on the highway, cruise control at 75, I pass a sign in the valley of a postcard-perfect farm, a hand written proclamation, "Now is the day of salvation!"
Not for the dog or the deer, I think. Not for Mr. Turtle. Not for the 'beloved son' marked by the cross and plastic flowers along the shoulder.
Maybe for the buzzard. It's a great day for the buzzard brothers. Par-tayyyy!
Four days later, finally heading west into the afternoon sun, I cry. I cry for Mr. Turtle and the dogs and the deer and I laugh at myself. I'm going to find answers. People have fabricated deities, whole religions, gone to war, committed atrocities, to answer these questions.
But I'm going to find the answers in the eye contact of a turtle who's about to be very squished, crossing the Western Kentucky Parkway.
But there's welcome in the utter chaos of the waggle (oh it's loud) when I try to get through the kitchen door. There's my salvation in the warmth of Bill's lips. In Lee and Dee's belly laughs. In blogland.
hug your hounds