on the road again…

This time, just a day trip… to Columbus. A quick touch-base with the client to carve out future projects and re-cap the previous one. Cake.

I woke to the sound of tires screeching over ice trying to get up an incline, I assumed. I looked out the window to see a silvery sheen over the road and sidewalks. My vehicle covered in ice.

Not a good day for travel.

My last conversation with one of my cohorts at work suggested she might be under the weather, so at 10am, I decided to fare the roads and give myself plenty of time. Hoping they had salted and scraped I set off to make the 100 mile drive alone.

Right when I hit the highway, I got a perplexed call wondering why I was leaving so early. I explained my feeble logic and said no worries, I’d handle this meeting.

I passed many a car spun around off to the side of the road, incapacitated and abandoned from the night before. I drove cautiously and tried to keep the speedometer near the speed limit.

Normally, I’m so rushed for these meetings, there’s barely time to take an exit for fast food. I was 10 minutes outside of Columbus and I spotted some better options with time to get a paper and eat slower.

The newspaper was horrible. I don’t recall one story of human interest. I remembered why I don’t get the paper.

After a nice sit down meal with a salad, I made it with nary a moment to spare to the meeting, so my estimates were correct.

Things went well. I left feeling that a plan was beginning to form, and I felt self-conscious that I waved my hands too much. Sometimes I wish I was less expressive.

The drive home was quiet. I tired of my CDs on the trip to St. Louis and hadn’t changed the magazine. Tinkered with the radio, but commercials drive me bonkers. I drove in silence.

This is the part I liked about driving to Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico this past fall… those quiet stretches of road where your mind wanders and notions percolate.

I’ll sing a song to death, transposing it a cappella til I get the right key. Maybe scribble thoughts on the back of an envelope (I need to get one of those tacky suction cup notepads for the windshield). More than likely however, I’ll come up with some bizarre fiction of how life could be. I’ll create scenarios and dialog (I sing out loud, I don’t talk out loud). I’ll reunite friends. I’ll plan the greatest party that defied geography and friendship borders. I’ll win the lottery. That sort of stuff.

Silly, really.

Sometimes I’ll note the landscape or some detail along the route and focus on it, how it was formed, why it was built, etc… This particular drive is very flat and it was overcast, so there weren’t really any clouds to study. I noticed a few times as birds would cross to the median, how they seemed like they would surely hit my truck, yet narrowly escape. In the rear view mirror, I noticed that some waited until I passed to complete their migration to the middle of the road.

To think that birds have this inner ability to calculate speed and distance to make these judgments boggled my mind a few dozen minutes. I suppose we as humans have similar ‘built-in’ functions, but wouldn’t it be grand if we could foresee some horrible social situation and apply the brakes to let it pass by.