Friday, April 2, 2010

Please Don't Sleep and Drive

Condition - 457 words
Ben Azevedo

I wasn’t in any sort of condition to drive, and neither was the car. A handful of hours of sleep, followed by heavy physical labor, several hours of school, and now the open road. And the car? I glanced up at the oil sticker on the windshield: 165,458 was the next oil change, and she was right up to 165,400 with a little over 500 miles to drive today. Not good. She was a ’97, over ten years old now. I was fairly sure that half of what kept her running was my love for her.

I looked back down at the road as I passed a blue sedan. It was going to be a long drive. I hadn’t had enough time during the week to make a great mix to listen to, so I was stuck with what I had. Which wasn’t bad, of course. It just helps when you don’t know what song is coming next. Currently it was on an old playlist full of high-energy rock for the first few hours of the trip. I’ve always felt its better to keep the adrenaline rush of being on the road for as long as possible. Of course as a backup I had a box of 500 mg caffeine pills in the glove compartment.

At least the weather conditions were nice. I rolled down my windows and cranked the stereo until all I could hear was wind in my ears and the distorted sound of my music blasting through the old car’s speakers. It occurred to me that wind was very loud at 80 miles per hour. Interstate 40 never actually allows you to drive at 80 miles per hour, but no one ever seems to mind, and it gets me there much faster, so I do. Of course, I never tell my mom. She said I could only drive 80 on the condition that I never tell her, because if she doesn’t know she won’t be angry about it.

I settled into a new position in the chair and set my cruise control. The best way to deal with a trip like this is to break it up into chunks. The first part is the hardest. After about five hours of driving, the rest of it just feels the same. But for the first five hours, you haven’t relaxed into the rhythm yet. Once you get there, you’re pretty much conditioned for the ride and it’s not so bad.

The adrenaline playlist ended, so I rolled up the windows and cued up some new music. As I headed steadily towards the distant mountains, I watched the sun setting behind me. I would much rather have made the trip through those mountains during the day.

Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show

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