Thursday, December 4, 2008

Semi-Trucks to Moab

I figured since I didn't write much in November I'd post another real quick quick.

I'm going to reflect on my Thanksgiving road trip. I hope that's alright. My sister lives in Albuquerque. Its ten hours one way down to what the locals call the "Land of Enchantment". I guess why I want to reflect on my road trip is because a guy can learn a lot alone in a car for ten hours straight. And you learn more than how long you can sit in the same position or how long you can go without having to pee. I think what I want to reflect on is passing semi-trucks.

Between Moab and I-70 there are hardly any passing lanes. You have to jump out into the oncoming traffic if you want to pass the semis. The technique is pretty simple. Pull the car near the center line so you can look to see if there is anyone coming. Make sure there are no turns coming up. Make sure there are no hills. Make sure someone else isn't passing already. If all the answers are go, then you go.

But there are the tough ones. I remember one time I was passing a big two-trailer this weekend. I looked, it was clear of cars, no corners, just a little hill. I moved out into the oncoming lane and punched it. My little Volvo is a great car, it means well, it really does, but really can't back up any of its bark. Well, I'm passing this big two-trailer and I realize that the angle of the hill is steeper than I thought and I couldn't see if there was really a car coming from the other side. As my Volv did its best, I reflected what I would feel first if a big semi crested the hill right then and came crashing through the metal of my hood. I wondered if it would be my shoulder into the seat belt. I wondered if it would be my knees against the dashboard. Maybe I wouldn't feel anything at all. I thought that maybe what I was thinking right then I wouldn't ever remember because when that semi hit I would forget the last twenty three years. I reflected that of all the days to die Sunday is the worst because you'll ruin everyone's week when they get the news. I thought about Heaven. I thought about Hell. I thought about God and Jesus. I thought about my little brother. I thought about breaking my hands and never playing the guitar again. I thought about how the semi-truck driver would feel when he got out and saw my broken body hunched over in my mangled Volvo. I thought about how the hospital bed I would be in if I survived would never feel like my bed back in my apartment, and how much I loved the bed I had in my apartment. I thought about if people would miss me, who I would miss. I wondered if I would miss at all. I thought about what I would do if no truck came at all and felt good. I felt like I didn't want a truck to coming crashing through the metal of my hood. I started feeling stupid about not being more careful. That my mother would be disappointed. I thought about when that last time I talked to her was. 

I was different when I put on my turn signal and got back into my lane.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Breaks in Trees

So, I'll get personal for this one. Eight years ago this last November I had a close close friend of mine die. You know what, I'll say I had a best friend die. Don't worry, this post won't be a downer. I'll start the story here though. I have crappy teeth, like no matter how many floss jobs, or mouth washes, or brush-twice-a-days, these pieces of junk won't keep together. Filings, crowns, root canals, rebuilds. Its a dental textbook in there. Well, when I was about to graduate high school I had a root under one of my molars die. It hurt worse than anything. I took some hard stuff and waited for the pain to stop. I finally fell asleep and only remember being woken up by my dad coming to see how his boy was holding up. I don't write much about my dad on this but he's a man's man. He knows just what will help. Anyways, he's asking me what's up, and I tell him I have to admit something to him. It was the drugs for sure, but I think there comes a point when you have to get something off your chest so you can breathe right again. 

I told him that I had taken the car out a few years before. I told him that Matt's parents had called Nate and told him that Matt's time was coming and that he had better come say his peace. They told him to bring me. The problem was that Nate had a driver's license but no car. I had a car but no license. So, I just decided in my fifteen year old mind that I didn't care and drove the extra car we had over to Nate's and then the plan was he would drive it to the hospital in Seattle. I told my dad that when I got to Nate's I found out Nate didn't know how to drive a stick. Again, for some reason I just did not care, so I drove the thirty miles into the city. We got there, Matt was incubated. He'd been on a ventilator for weeks. His lungs were mush. His mom and dad were crying. They hugged us like we were life jackets. Me and Nate didn't say much on the way home. My dad was crying hard, he said, "Its okay son, its okay."

I guess what I learned is that you don't know anything until you look back at it. I think of life as being stuck in the Washington woods and every once in a while you get to a break in the trees and you can look back and see how far you've come, see if you've gone up or down, see which way is the way to go, then you just have to go back into the darkness. I think that's why my dad cried cause he was seeing through the break in the trees, seeing he had raised a good son. I wonder what Matt's parents saw, they probably see now how much people can love somebody, probably see how much people can go through. I think that's why I still think about taking that car out, it was a break in the trees when I could look out and see the way to go.