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Driving to Champaign


I’m in the car now, and Eugene is driving, and we’re going to Champaign. We stopped by Taco John’s for some burritos and potato olès, and now while Eugene is driving he’s also adding hot sauce to his burrito and eating and he’s steering with his knees and we’re on the highway doing 75 miles per hour and it’s got to be relatively unsafe to be in this car, I’m sure, so if I die in this car, I better write something down with some meaning.

So: if this is the last thing I ever write, what should it be?

Oh, they’re playing Depeche Mode on the radio, and it’s always nicer to hear a song you like on the radio instead of playing it on a tape or something, it’s like a present when you hear it on the radio, even the quality of the radio sounds better than a cassette, and you want to hear the whole song and cherish it because if you skip past it, like you would to the next song on a tape, you won’t have the chance to go back and hear it again. This is your chance to hear it, you’ve got nothing else.

But now I’m typing through the song, and not really enjoying it anyway.

They said on the radio that they were going to play Depeche Mode, but apparently Eugene didn’t hear that, and so I said I wanted to hear Depeche Mode and he said that they wouldn’t play it. And when the radio did play it within five minutes of my asking Eugene was stunned. “They never play this!”

You know, I’ve done that to him a lot, and he never catches on.

Oh, wait, that wouldn’t be the last thing I wanted to say, you know, if I was going to die in this car. I forgot that’s what I was writing about. This is most definitely not what I would want my last words to be.

I don’t know what my last words would be, though. Live every day like it is your last. Try to smile more. Try to think more. Value the people who choose to spend their time with you. Take a chance. Go different places. Don’t have regrets.

Now Eugene wants to hear my Depeche Mode tape and I can’t find it in the car. I’ve checked the space between the seats, I’ve checked the glove compartment, and he still won’t let it go. He keeps saying that the tape can’t have just disappeared, that it has to be here somewhere, that this really perplexes him.

Now he’s reaching around and under his seat behind him, and the car is not staying staying in the lane. In fact, he just grabbed some tapes to re-read the case to see if I just missed it, if I’m blind and can’t recognize my own tapes, and while he was at it he almost ran us into another car on the highway and I had to yell at him to make him look at the road again. Now he’s flipping through the stations, you know, because he can’t just listen to something, being as much of an ansy, impatient person as myself, so he’s scanning through the stations, and of all songs to stop on, he has to stop on “Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady.”

So maybe I do want to die in this car.

And all I keep thinking is that we’re supposed to be meeting Sara and Scott at Garcia’s pizza in Champaign, even though we just stopped for Taco John’s, because Eugene just had to stop for tacos, and now we’re running late.

Okay, Now Eugene found another equally crappy song to play, I think it’s Eddie Money or something, and really, I think he’s doing this intentionally to drive me crazy. Okay, he’s clapping along now, like it’s the seventh grade cheerleader tryouts, and I now want to take the steering wheel from right out of his hands and run us right off the side of the road.

Oh, right, so I’m supposed to be writing what my last words would be, if I actually did die in this car.

But it’s hard to do that when Eugene does that hacking sound that he does, I mean, has this man ever heard of a tissue.

Okay, if I died.

I suppose I’d tell people to not dwell on those silly little details that will always get you down. You know, those details will always be there, there will always be something that can potentially bring you down, you can always find something to pick on. But the thing is, you should just let go of those things, that’s why they call them details anyway, so don’t let them bother you. Just try to love life a little more.

You know, I’ve gone through a lot of crap in my life. I had beers with a friend tonight before I got on the road to Champaign, you see, that’s why Eugene is driving and I’m sitting here typing about it. And as I said, I was having beers with a friend earlier, and we each got our own pitcher of beer, she got limes to add to her Miller Lite, and when the pitchers came, before we poured our first glasses, I told her we should toast and drink right out of the pitcher, I mean, why not, right? Well, I went out drinking with her because she was down, because it’s her wedding anniversary today. She’s not down about missing her husband that she left just a month ago, you see, she’s down because the concept of a wedding - her wedding - is now destroyed to her. She thought this marriage was going to be good, and what she went through was so bad that she had to pack up her things and leave. And I told her that I had a bad anniversary, too, and it makes me feel bad every year, and that you just have to go through it. That it’s okay to dwell on it today if you have to. But I also thought that she should keep in mind that she has 364 other days a year to revel in the fact that she now has control of her life and her happiness. That when she was in a bad situation she took her life into her own hands and now she’s free. That she should know that if something doesn’t kill her it will make her stronger and that she can say she’s a stronger woman for going through this and she has learned something from this. She likes herself now, and she wouldn’t be who she was if it wasn’t for what she went through.

You can decide to be a victim or you can decide to learn from life, make the most of it, and be happy.

So love life a little more. Make yourself the best that you can be, and never look back.

Okay, Eugene changed the station when they said they were going to be playing Phil Collins next. Maybe things aren’t so bad.



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