There are tolls littered along the way. Vomited up by some Native American trickster, revenge for the trail of tears, or so I think. This time. When I roll my window down, drop 80 cents into the funneled basket, and the window sticks.
I am swearing like something fierce, because I want my car to fear me, or just obey. But, it knows me. It sees my stick-arms and it laughs, my whole body something ineffectual, a parcel of physical space for…whatever. Some sort of secular soul, but maybe that’s Nietzsche’s voice coming through my stereo.
Ohyeah, it is.
I had the podcast of BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL on, blaring because the highway is loud and my car isn’t even real. The plastic stretched across the top is fastened with safety pins. My head in my crotch, I’m trying to use my entire body as a lever against this window crank, and my left hand is flailing against the volume. Failing to find the knob.
The toll booth woman stares, is old, and I think shit, only one of us is getting paid for this moment. Hey, it’s you.
I want to ask where she parks or how she gets into that booth in the morning (with all the traffic, is there a trap door? A tunnel system? Does the state just risk her, make her run across?)
Car shouts, “…Everything rare for The Rare.”
So then I feel privileged; so then I feel like Hitler.
If you didn’t quite get that last line, I’m almost glad. I’m not ready to say it out loud, not yet. It goes beyond just seeming geeky, into elitist. Am I too well-educated? Like saying NPR is a social class. Well…?
There is honking, from behind me. I take the car out of neutral and drive. The window is still down. I am struggling with the handle, changing gears, merging back onto the highway. All at the same time: it’s ridiculous. I should pull over, but I don’t. Because that would be weird. I am terrified of appearing weird in public, to strangers. This probably says less about me than it does about social rules, public order, but I have always been a shy one. That’s true.
(The cathedrals are built on water. I feel the foundations swaying with with the tides…)
I give up on the window, instead try to find my coat. There, in the back. I reach.
I am young, and nothing goes wrong. So, relax. This isn’t one of those kinds of stories.
I can’t get my coat on around the seat belt, so I drive another 15 miles. Exit. Stop at a gas station. Roll the window up. Kick my tire—lovingly, though, because this is 2011 (twenty-eleven), and adventures are also in recession. These days.
I get back on the highway, give Nietzsche back his voice, but it’s no good. He’s ashamed of me, and I know it. And god, I think, this is the free version. Some downloaded podcast, so essentially, the Great Value Nietzsche is ashamed of me.
Lawl, jk, he’s dead.