I pride myself on my fearlessness, but even those of us in head-to-toe armor will fall with enough impact.
In my late teens/early twenties, I was a free spirit that ran with the wind. The open road lead to far and away worlds, and I drove fast. Experiences, people, and breakdowns moved quickly through windshield-view and passed like a blur out my unoccupied passenger window until I could see it out my rear-view. So long roadside attraction…off to the next destination. Those roads, streets, paths to various destinations were sometimes long and lonely, sometimes short and winding, sometimes average in length and quality, but the music remained the same.
My poor mother watched her fiercely independent daughter depart so many times – sometimes picking me up upon arrival, sometimes rescuing me from roadside breakdowns, sometimes guiding me at unexpected pit stops, but always welcoming me home. She never asked to drive because she knew I wouldn’t let her, but mostly she knew what I didn’t; the thrill fades in time. Her only rule was to keep my eye on the road and to pay attention to the signs along the way. When I did, it got me the farthest.
Stranded in Buffalo, New York, during the 1997 winter storms, I experienced my first whiteout. This Oklahoma girl knew a blackout, but what the hell do you do when the world instantaneously goes white and you can only see that which is inside your car with you? You stop, pull over, turn up the music, and let your thoughts roll through. Once the white dissipated to a soft fog-like view, I got back on that road but this time I went home.
I still get out on that open road from time-to-time, but with a passenger, unlimited supply of digital music (RIP CD’s), and a GPS – no armor required.