Sometimes I go driving at night, after everyone’s gone to bed and it’s just me and the car and the road and the wind running next to me and in the trees. I stop at intersections and sit there with the windows open like I’m in on a big secret. People shouldn’t be out this late, especially in my home town, but here I am. It’s 3 am and I’ve been stopped at this intersection for a full minute and no one will ever know about it. It’s lame but there’s not a lot here to keep me occupied.
Last night I was at Brury and Durstwood. I stopped the car, turned the engine off, and got out, just to look at the stars a little farther away from the “city” lights. The cicadas were doing their thing in those new summer leaves and in the distance I saw the glow of Oklahoma City. It was a small glow with an inferiority complex, but a glow nonetheless.
I heard the faraway sound of a train rumbling through, carrying its chicken breasts and belt buckles or whatever trains carry nowadays. I thought about a time in middle school when I couldn’t sleep and almost started crying because a train was making a racket and then a police siren went wee-ooo-wee-ooo and it seemed the night would never end. And then I thought about another time a few weeks ago when I almost screamed because I kept bumping into things in my room.
To my left, the sound of the train got louder. I looked around and saw one headlight, a giant shining eye coming straight for me. Guz-WHAT, I shouted and jumped back.
As I considered what it would feel like to be reborn in the shape of a gooey pancake, the train began slowing down and then came to a complete stop. The conductor poked her head out of the cabin and yelled, to my immense confusion, “All-aboard!”
Was I actually supposed to get on this train headed to God-knows-where?
What about my car?
What about the kid I was supposed to babysit tomorrow? How would he get to Wal-Mart without me?
I asked the conductor what the h kind of a shindig this was and she said this was the Dreams-Come-True-Express and that the destination was up to me.
And I thought that was really disgusting. How dare these circus people, probably from California, come here and try to scam us poor country folks. How much did a ticket for this thing cost? Twenty, thirty dollars? As if I had that kind of money to go hang around in some feel goodery* and listen to someone tell me to dance like my dreams were chocolate hugs.
So I told her to just get on out of there. “Go on, git!” I told her and the train started chugga chugga-ing and soon I was left with just my thoughts and the insects and their thoughts.
As the train made its way towards the city lights and other dumb schmucks that would probably take this deal, I wondered what it would be like to breathe underwater. I would probably never know.
*credit to Arrested Development, one of the best television shows America has ever seen.