Monday. A time for speculation, gray matter scratching, pondering, waking up slowly, and meandering inside the comforting and familiar space of a coffee shop. At least, that’s what most Mondays are to me. Not today. Took one of the roommates to work in Van Nuys, due to his car being out of commission. The drive there–not so bad. The drive back–a nightmarish, tortuous wandering among side roads and main drags, skips and jumps on and off the freeway, down to inches crawling forward, soldiers in mud fields and bullets (I believe I saw a bullet-riddled car drive past me at an agonizing pace, like a wounded combatant still attempting his duties). The return might not have been so bad–I was making decent time, despite the above-histrionics–but I was rearended coming down Interstate 10, a scant five miles from home.
Granted, bumper-to-bumper snail driving doesn’t lend itself to explosive wreckage or excessive damage, at least not outside the world of entertainment and Michael Bay films (note, the two ideas are distinct and separate). So the impact was not great. But I, in my little Honda Civic, already battered by one wreck earlier this year, was nearly consumed by the Escalade that struck my rear bumper. Despite the slow rate of impact, I was jolted and briefly my heart rate went vertical. A minor bumper indentation and phone and license information later, I was on my way again.
It’s funny the things we consider important. I, for instance, rather like the squeaking my car makes as it careens over bumpy, ill-paved streets. It’s like an old chattering friend who only stops talking when the road smooths over. With the absence of my stereo, the squeaking is a bit rhythmic and melodic, and I feel comforted by the sound. Like an old Jewish mother who only wants everything in the world for her son, my car possesses an infinite variety of squeaks, creaks, cranks, strains, whines, and wheedles, all directed from the car’s heart, the center. And on a long drive in traffic, it’s my music. Should I get a stereo again, the music would change. But would I?