29 September 2011

where we know.

about a week ago i was listening to this episode of this american life.  the program was about people and their cars, and a lot of the stories were people recording what goes on inside their vehicles.  a taxi driver was interviewed, a school bus driver was interviewed, and there was a really great (per usual) story by david sedaris in the episode.

typically, i don't usually listen to hour-long episodes of radio shows in my car, but i did for this one, and i listened to it over the course of two or three days.  and it made me think about all of the crazy things i see while i'm in the car, and all of the things that i think about while i'm driving for a long period of time.

1. when my family and i drove down to tampa before our vacation last summer, i looked out the window and saw a cloud that looked like our dog (when i took a picture of it the cloud already started to break apart, but it really did look like dog!):

2. the other night when i was driving home, i saw two police cars in side-by-side lanes with their lights flashing.  i slowed down in case there was an accident or something, but when i got closer, i saw that there was no accident, and the dumb policemen were just having a powwow in the middle of the road, confining traffic to one lane.  annoying.  two miles later, i saw another two policemen having a powwow in the road, only these guys had the decency to park single file instead of side-by-side.  still, who do these guys think they are?

3. i'm not deaf; i consider myself to have generally good hearing, but sometimes i get nervous that i can only hear ambulances and firetrucks until they're within my line of sight.  maybe i react to the doppler effect the wrong way or something, but regardless i consider this a bad thing.  i also tend to listen to my music in the car rather loudly, so i figure i'm lucky if i hear the siren at all.  i should probably reconsider my music-in-car practices, as i live across the street from a hospital and sirens are going off all the time.

4. i've noticed lately that i feel sick and annoyed after i get into a car that i've just filled up at the gas station, but at the same time i feel giddy the very next day when i get into my car and the tank is full.

5. i like looking at road signs, especially ones that are specific to a certain place or geography.  road signs like "bridge freezes before road" don't exist out here, and ones that say "photo enforcement zone" don't exist where i came from.  i loved seeing signs on our roadtrip that said "tsunami hazard zone."
at one point in the story, ira glass says this: Sometimes the most important moments in people's lives happen in cars; though sometimes we are not aware that these are the most important moments in our lives, as they're happening.

i think this is true; i've had some pretty profound moments while thinking in cars, and i think a lot of other people could say that they've experienced something similar.  like the title of the tal episode suggests, you're in your own little bubble, this portable state in which the rest of the world doesn't really exist.

i kind of wrote a super short piece about this kind of idea, maybe i'll share it here sometime soon!  i've been tossing around the idea of posting short blips of writing here... if i do, the first one will probably be about this kind of thing ira glass was talking about.  we'll see!

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