left and leaving
(originally posted 3/3/2020)
The two of them sat on the driveway staring off into the distance. It looked exhausting.
“This driveway is attached to every road in the country. Like veins in a body. Cells and blood vessels. We could literally get in the car and go anywhere we wanted” said one of them.
“Which is?” said the other.
“Which is what?”
I’m going to break in here before you lose interest and fast forward a bit. When you make dimwits the focus of a story you run the risk of just this type of rocky start.
“If you could go anywhere, where would you go?” inquired the first.
“Who says I’d go anywhere?” answered the other. Proving staying put can be exhausting for everyone involved.
Trust me… I believe this story will go somewhere so please hang in here. The interesting thing is how you picture these two. I didn’t say their sex or race or where they are having this conversation. The two people pictured in your head are there with almost no prompting and I’ll bet that if you would have started this story yesterday or even an hour in the future that these two would be significantly different. Changing faces that are always there.
“Within a few hours of driving we could do something charitable or something terrible” said the first.
“Yeah. That’s crazy” said the other, then continued “This driveway leads to a road and that road leads to every other road out there. The possibilities. The endless possibilities. We could drive somewhere that leads to us getting rich or raped and murdered.” They both took that thought in with equal parts awe and trepidation.
I insinuated they could drive so I eliminated the fact that these two might be animals having a chat and I referred to them as ‘dimwits’ so I bet that your own biases came rushing out to the forefront when picturing them. I’ll let it go if you do. Wrestle with these prejudices on your own time.
“Makes you want to hop in the car and just head out doesn’t it?” said the one.
“Sometimes. Sometimes it makes me just want to sit here and picture all the possible outcomes of such a journey. Getting there might be half the fun but what’s the other half? That’s what I’d aim to find out.”
The interesting thing remains how you picture these two. I didn’t mention their sex or race or where they are having this conversation but here they sit in your head and by now you’ve even filled in where they are sitting with quirky details that surprise you when you stop to take a longer look. Details that you might not have even meant to include but there they are nonetheless. Maybe that’s why you enjoy reading. Maybe you’re asking yourself a lot of the same questions they are and you resent me calling them dimwits.
“So what song would be on the radio as you headed out on your quest?” asked the one.
“I don’t know. A good driving song probably” answered the other.
I would suggest what the other would consider a good driving song but that could completely change them in your head and you could never get them back unscathed. Even inquiring what makes a good driving song could have people, both real and fictional, arguing for another thousand words. Throw in another five hundred debating how you can tell real from fictional and two hundred more asking if it makes a difference.
The other went on to ask the one “Why? What song would be playing for you?”
“That’s easy. I have a favorite driving song. It makes me drive faster and clutch the wheel and roll down the window and throw my head around like a moron.”
Spoiler alert: I’m going to name the song and therefore probably change the scene you’ve created in your head because there is a song that makes you want to drive faster and clutch the wheel and roll down the window and throw your head around like a moron and this more than likely isn’t it but every story falls somewhere between getting rich or raped and murdered so I suppose you have to take the crunchy with the smooth and endure the run-on sentences that transport you to every possible destination along the way.
“The song is called Aside by The Weakerthans” said the one. To show a requisite amount of enthusiasm an imaginary wheel was grabbed, a head was thrown around and the following lyrics were belted out;
And I’m leaning on this broken fence
Between past and present tense
And I’m losing all those stupid games
That I swore I’d never play
But it almost feels okay
I must admit, I now regret calling them dimwits. A dumb premise suddenly becomes a bit poignant. Funny where some roads lead you.
Thanks for sitting shotgun for awhile.