The Call

A lonely early afternoon of conference call gives way to an interruption in the schedule. An errand must be run, a sprint not so much towards completion of this quest as it is fleeing from another dreary hour of nothing. The garage door clatters, the car welcomes me with a grunt, the radio hums to life.

An overcast sky observes the flight of my little hatchback as I carefully pass the small roads away from the occupied areas and into an empty expanse. The subdivisions, the school zone, the big intersection with the gas station. Suddenly all of this is past and we can dance a little more closely, a little more dangerously, a little more… dirty. But the speed limit doesn’t need testing this time.

It’s all too soon before the emptiness gives way to civilization again, and the traffic that comes with. This is a weekday, however, and out in force are the others running errands during work hours: the retired. A hundred thousand dwindling spirits arranged in unison to squander their few fleeting years at anything slower than the speed of sound. The enjoyable flirtations with the speed limit’s limits are over, and it’s 10 under for the rest of the drive.

Then the worst happens: the Right Song comes on the radio (Aretha Franklin: good shit). Aaaaah, how it calls! Do you not hear it?! The toe twitches, the chest heaves, the craving is upon me. The monster is let loose and won’t be caged again. But the wall of the grey-haired provides no opening. Four and a half minutes of glorious tune, wasted. Miles of fury, of the silent screams of an unwillingly-unsoaring soul, trundling along as if in submission to a cruel master. It is pain.

There is to be no relief. This is the trend until my destination is upon me. The song is over and the moment is gone. Satisfaction won’t be finding me this day, nor a little respect (not even just a little bit).

The drive home from Home Depot with two 10 foot long stretches of PVC sticking out of my hatchback, in open mockery of the pickup trucks with 6 foot beds that couldn’t handle it as easily, offers some measure of comfort for my wounds.