Thursday, July 26, 2007

Driving and going nowhere

She lives in Clifton, on the hill above, looking out of her Palladian sash-corded windows, on the heaving red-lit, brake-lit commutation of car boxes below (A4 bound, and bound in ways that are vehicular and peculiar to that mini-headed, horizonless myopia of the driving unter-mensch) where tail-gating, nylon-suited and neckless, red-faced potential stroke-fucked frowning drones bang up against each other's foam-filled anti-pedestrian bumpers.

That's the parametered and cloistered world, narrowed in by lane markings, cats-eye boundaries, that have a certain grace in the middle, median, of the night.

Where you - on the boundless motorway, with lights and reservations sweeping by the dormitory conurbations, the suburban landfill hutches where dad and uncle, sister and cousin fill out their raining, weeping, days - where you fill your hole with grit and hard shoulders.

And you, the focus of the typical lens, the eye, are behind the wheel - the wheel that you don't turn, that you don't guide your oil and engine, into the sodium bright avenues.

Instead you think of the base blue welcome of another misremembered destination; a slack and lax definition of where the heart is, where your kidneys are.

Because, driving with hands clutched on the steering wheel, you're looking: hypnotised by the recurrent cycle of lamp-lights, signs, and fenceposts pulsing as they pass black in the night.

That's when, for a minute there, you feel at one, engine under you, speed behind you. Be happy, that's the best you can do.

That's when, you smile, but momentarily.

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