I remember on long car rides, I would pick a clod of dirt or a squishy bug smeared across the window, and follow it. As the miles rolled by, I’d bob my head and rock my chin against my shoulders to make the speck leap and dance, avoiding obstacles. Sometimes it would loop up and above the telephone lines over and over, my head a teetering see-saw to make the stationary dot move; as the poles fell away into the gray area of behind. Mostly it would weave in and out, in and out, of the yellow dashes scored onto the pavement.
Now, as the world whirls by me, I am a tiny squishy insect; smeared onto frightening headlines. I bob my head to avoid the ‘breaking news’ banner on the t.v.s in restaurants, tuck my chin into my shoulder as live-stream gunmen and disgustingly self-serving bills pass. I want to fade into gray, dissipate behind the screens that scream at me all day long. I imagine sitting behind a gigantic pixelated wall, watching brightly colored warnings scroll by backwards.
To me, the news reads like all our epitaphs.
In the car, my parents discuss politics. It’s the only way they can feel any progress while speaking of the House and Senate; by eating up the miles, our tires move forward while our government stagnates and regresses into an amoeba of greed– a single celled organization of one mind; to create power and keep it. The road noise does not drown out the squishing noise of my heart leaping into my throat. I turn on the latest pop song and crank the music up so loud my brain cannot cope with anything else.
These days my emotions are the dashed yellow lines on the highway. Spotty, flighty things which come and go faster than I can process. If I let my eyes relax, drift into that un-seeing place, the lines converge into one long blur; it winds and meanders all over America and through the gouges in my gray-matter brain. Both places are frightening. Both places are doomed.