Cuba Road Redemption
Back when I wore a younger mans clothes, the most Joelesque way I can put it, I lived neither in a suburb or off the beaten path. I lived somewhere in between.
What is Joelesque? Well, had I written Billyjoelesque it might have been clearer but hopefully some of you got it on the first try. Meaning “in the manner” of Billy Joel. Hence the -esque after the Joel. From French -esque (“-ish, -ic, -esque”), from Italian -esco (“-like”), from Medieval Latin -iscus, of Germanic origin, from Frankish -isc (“-ish”), from Proto-Germanic -iskaz.
Now that’s been cleared up I can continue. Bit of a miscue to start off in the first sentence with a word like Joelesque but there you are. As I was saying I lived somewhere in between… which sounds a lot more inspiring than it was. In fact, I think given a choice I would always prefer to live ‘somewhere in between’ but in this case I simply meant I lived in a wooded area that wasn’t quite rural but it wasn’t a sprawling subdivision either.
My house was about three turns from major road and the last one was onto a road called Spring Drive. About half a mile in front of that road was another called Cuba Road and it looked a great deal like Spring Drive. Both were small roads peaking out of the trees with a little green sign announcing them. You had to look close or you’d miss the both of them and I swear I must have almost turned onto Cuba Road about 100 times. Literally slowing down with my turn signal blazing away then realizing that it wasn’t my road and sheepishly accelerating and debating whether it was worth turning off the turn signal or just keep it going for the next 20 seconds.
The thing is, a lot of roads crisscrossed the area and having lived there for so many years I pretty much set off in every direction at one time or another on my way here and there but I realized years after I had moved that I never actually drove on Cuba Road. In fact, looking back it seemed impossible but I don’t remember the road intersecting any of the other roads that I frequented. Surely it must have being only half a mile away from the road I lived off of and knowing for a fact that Cuba ran all the way down to a town a good 10 miles away and in my head I can’t see how it got there without crossing some of the other roads I took but there you have it.
I’ve spoken frequently about how I see faces in everything. Particularly clouds and wall paper but also in things as odd as dirt and trees and carpeting and glasses of just-poured Guiness beer. I’m not sure what role the lactic acid bacteria plays in it but those shimmering faces can be particularly tormented. What I don’t often offer up is the fact that I hear voices in running water. The more babbling the better. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that they use the term babbling brook. If you listen carefully enough, or maybe the trick is not to listen too carefully, you can actually make out words as clear as a bell. Now obviously the cynics amongst you will assume that these words are created in the same subconscious factory as Ouija boards get their material but I have to disagree. If I must compromise then I submit that these factories have no idea what they are going to produce from one day to the next. That’s the best I can do.
All those times I wanted to get home and never once did I actually turn down Cuba Road. There were times when I was in no rush. I could have accidentally turned down the wrong road and it would have made no difference. Looking back did it even have to be an accident? Just like when I accidentally hear something in the flowing water that maybe I shouldn’t have. For the record, I’ve never listened to the ocean like that. Maybe I’m scared of what it has to say?
But the point is that I was always in a rush to get somewhere that would have always been there for me at the end of whatever journey I took anyway. I actually regret not making a wrong turn and seeing Cuba Road. Maybe it would have been anticlimactic but now all I can imagine is the things it could have been. It could have ended in a little stream that cascaded down blue-grey rocks and sent up instructions to me just where to look in the clouds to see the happiest faces.
And other helpful tips about life.
But I was vigilant and observant and always in a rush and always made the right turn.
So what made me remember Cuba Road? I was listening to my fish tank gurgling this morning and it brought it up. I’m going to ignore its advice though…