I did drive across the United States one time. It was a very long drive.
I was with Julian Simpson from England and my friend Bryan. We had just been released from our shackles of Presbyterian church camp counselor servitude. It was August and someone that I loved had just died and it seemed like the thing to do. We drove from Chapin, South Carolina to Los Angeles and back home to Cowtown, Ohio. I was just thinking about how I hate to drive nowadays. How I am prone to panic and angst on long journeys in my adulthood. I am not sure when the little screw fell out and took me to a yucky place with driving, but it happened.
Back then I would roll down the windows and my long hair would slap my eyes and I would love it. I drove across Texas all night with Madonna and fast through the Nevada desert with Metallica where the sky hung low and purple. All around me were scenes from movies that had not yet been made and songs unsung. I think looking back- that trip was meant to be escapist for me in theory, but all the way as the tires spun round and round, I thought of how sad I was to go back home to a place that now was missing someone I truly took for granted.
I remember with my back against the sticky seat of the Toyota Corolla cultivating the uncanny mind sweeping thoughts that now take up most of my days- thoughts that it has to be easier for other people to get through this life. That not everyone can think this much and at this intensity all the time. That I was cursed with the internal equivalent of a mosh pit. That I just wanted to stop feeling so much. That the sun was somehow brighter on my face than anyone else in the car and if I opened up my mouth and told you the startling esoteric whispers that hid sneaky in my throat- you would laugh at me because that's what people do around me. They laugh. I think I learned in a startling catechism with myself that summer that I was indeed an artist -and not crazy. Well not crazy enough to do much anything about it.
I heard Metallica today and it did indeed jack my head up for thirty seconds or so as the day spread out before me and the kids were like beyond the fourth wall and I was back there and looking at the me that lives now. I waved at me and she waved back and it was like there was a little peace. And later in my minivan rolling down the main drag of my town I sunk low into my captain's chair and rolled the window down and shook my bob. I shook my hair and told the boys a little story about America.