On the Road Again

 

I’ve been away. I’ll tell you about it later. Right now I want to talk about white-line fever. Not the book, the movie, the television show, or the song. No; Highway Hypnosis. Technically, a mental state in which the person can drive great distances, responding to external events in the expected manner, with no recollection of having consciously done so. The driver’s conscious mind is apparently fully focused elsewhere, with seemingly direct processing of the masses of information needed to drive safely. Automaticity. The conscious and subconscious minds appear to concentrate on different things. You sleep deprived mothers know what I’m talking about. It’s not just for truckers anymore.

I’ve had it many times on the road though and I don’t like it. I want to notice one place melding into another. The hardwood forests of New England easing into the scrub pines and eventually the scattered palms of the South. The soil that turns to sand as you near the shore. I want to feel the differences between one place and another. A uniqueness of space.

There’s truck driver blood in me. When I was ten I thought I’d grow up to be a Truck Driving Artist Librarian President of the United States. I’d take the Oval Office on the road and multi-tasking to a new level. My father drove a semi. From the time I could climb in, I spent hours sitting in the cab pretending to drive through the deserts of New Mexico or along the rocky coast of Maine. Always with an empty load, sailing along like the breeze. Free. My friends did not do this and I thought it was my truck driver blood that made me different. A rover.

Sometimes a sort of white-line fever comes over me at home. I go through the motions of domestic life daydreaming. In my mind I’m somewhere else. Today I’ve been back to Budapest, which I haven’t given a fair assessment of here, then to China and Japan. I want to see Mount Fuji from the air. I want to float down the Yangtze River. I want to be on the road. I want the wind in my hair and white lines running on before me.

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