Don’t Drive Angry
I was pissed. It happens. One of the ways I deal with stress is to drive. Of course, I drive when I’m happy. I drive when I’m scared. I drive when I need to get somewhere. Let’s face it, I’m always up for a drive. But on this particular day, I drive to get out some of my frustrations, which I realize is not the ideal driving motivation. It’s highly unusual that I travel without a set course or destination, which made this drive unlike most every other excursion, so of course, I didn’t know when I would get there, because I didn’t know where I was going. I must have been pretty furious because I cruised for almost five hours.
Now, in fairness, that time away included stopping for dinner. The rest of the drive may have been unremarkable, after all, it was after dark, but I remember the dinner specifically. Table for one, difficulty ordering, dispassionate waiter – I would eventually write this particular meal into a novel – and yes, I did have a glass of wine and something edible, which I didn’t really care if I swallowed. I’ve walked six miles at night when angry, I’ve driven through a national park when hurt, but this drive was going to be a doozy and I knew it because I stopped for sustenance along the way, even if I still didn’t know where I would go.
End Of The Road
As I drive along a city street leaving the restaurant, I stumble upon the Florida Turnpike. How angry am I? I am willing to pay for this drive with both fuel and tolls. I pass the Interstate exit, which will get me back to the house. I also skip the Beachline, which I still call the Beeline to this day. When I reach the road of multiple names, which also happens to be the last exit for sixty miles, I keep driving. It’s when I finally reach Yeehaw Junction that I come to the reckoning that the one exit more puts me in Fort Pierce, and I may fall asleep before I reach the coast. I cannot say this drive relieves my frustration. I think more than anything, this drive wears me out.
I find myself driving aimlessly, hoping that the situation I left at home is gone by the time I get back, even though I know it won’t be. I’ll just be too tired to care anymore. It’s pitch black at the intersection of the Turnpike and State Road 60, but it’s a brighter spot than my house. The scenery doesn’t matter any more than the meal mattered. I finally refuel Delano (see Our Last Inanimate Night Together from January 2021) somewhere between Lake Wales and Haines City at a sketchy station that happens to be open and on my side of the road. Not every adventure is remarkable. Not every drive has direction. Not every problem solves itself in a handful of hours. And not every excursion ends happily. Sometimes, exhaustion is the end of the road.