Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Let's say you were going somewhere one night, somewhere important, like a party where someone was waiting for you.
Say you were at a light wondering which was the right road and you took another one, one that pulled you off your life trajectory and onto another one. You took it because you were curious and full of yourself, thought you had so much power that you could do anything, become something else, and still come out ahead.
This new one asked you to twist and contort to survive. As you wandered gravel roads in the middle of the night, the moon only a sliver, if visible at all, your lights covered with dust, your mouth dry, you thought maybe you should head back. But it was too late.
The party you were going to go to had broken up. People had gone home. Someone was probably wondering what happened, but there was no way to contact her. (This was before cell phones, wifi, or even email.)
So you kept going and you ended up acting out a life you didn't think would go this way.
Now you wonder if maybe everybody takes a wrong turn, but they don't admit it, even to themselves. No matter, you did.
People out here don't know you and look at you strangely. They don't care about your family, your history, and they don't get your jokes. Not many of them know your birthday and no one knows your astrological sign. When you think they are talking to you, they are really on their cell phones talking to somebody about surgical procedures. Everybody seems sick or has gas.
In this land, you are an outsider. Just the way you wanted it.
Being an outsider has its advantages. You get a lot of time alone for one thing. That's a kind of gold, you have to admit. But sometimes solitude lapses into loneliness. In those times, you imagine how you might find your way back, and you see what a long way it is.
By now, they have probably forgotten you anyway, you who left. Plus you are dangerous now. The one who went down the dusty road, who saw what was over the ridge, who opened his eyes, who could see where he had been from a distance, with some perspective. You saw that things didn't have to be the way they were. You saw the machinery behind making up a life, you knew that you had done it, and you had to accept the responsibility for your own sadness.
Eventually, there you are, out of gas, the end of the road taken in the wrong turn.
As you look out over the desert from your perch above the abandoned car, you ask yourself if you did as well as you could have, if, maybe, you should have done more to get back to the road you were on. At this point, likely, it doesn't matter anymore.
But you wonder anyway. No harm in thinking, right?