What we had today was a convoy. Five semi’s driving north in the right lane on the section of I-5 which passes over the Marquam Bridge and follows the river opposite the city. Three semi’s drove in the left lane. I drove smack in the middle of these big boys.
I was an interstate truck driver, heading north to Seattle to leave my freight. From there I might join the guys for a few beers and tomorrow I will head out for Kansas to deliver a new order. My truck is a bright speckled candy-apple red with gorgeous chrome trim. Lots of gorgeous chrome trim. My handle is “pollyanna.” I have “pollyanna's’s Big Boy” painted on the door in black.
It had been hot and humid all day, bugs splattering on the windshield that made it difficult to keep vision clear. The traffic had been heavy most the drive, stop-and-go for what seemed like no reason, no accidents, no hang ups. Just blogged up. But the traffic had settled for a bit and the sight of the river was crystal-clear. Like the perfect postcard photo. I glanced over the river to see the whole city blinking with life. The hills behind the city were a wheat-colored expanse and I caught my breath at the beauty. And then as fast as it cleared, the traffic blogged up again. I had to keep my eyes on the road.
“You hanging in back there, polly?”
“10-4 good buddy.”
And then the traffic on the right slowed and the trucks on the left moved over....and I drove on, once again becoming a woman driving home from a visit to Eugene in her red VW Tiguan.
What? You mean you never play pretend while you’re driving? Hey! I was there, man. I was there.
Sometimes when I am driving down a city street and see this group of people interacting, I imagine they are part of a movie. You know those simple sweet movies that show us a slice of life? Like the time I sat at a red light at the corner of Division Avenue and watched this guy drive his shiny motorcycle around in circles at a small Mom and Pop gas station. Three other guys were standing around watching, laughing and pushing each other. I figured it was a scene from a movie. The young man had just bought this motorcycle and his buddies were standing around with envy watching him show it off. They were obviously good friends - probably have known each other since the fifth grade.
What? You never make up stories while you wait for the light to change? I was the director, man. I was there.
I used to ride the bus to college every day. As it crossed the river into the city, I would imagine I was a resident of Amsterdam, crossing the canal to work. I would listen to the people around me practice their English and smile to myself. I never told the person who was sitting next to me because that person was usually the weirdo one. They always found me. And he could probably be easily drawn into my fantasy. Would probably take over my fantasy. Would probably become my fantasy...no no wait...that ain’t where I meant to go....
I would walk from the bus stop to the University and pass an old Victorian apartment building on the corner. The upstairs apartment had a bay window and I always imagined myself living there--without children of course. Maybe a cat or a bird. Living in the city. I imagined myself walking up to examine the apartment when it came up for rent. I imagined how flowers would look in the windows, how I would sit and study long into the night on the window seat, looking over Sixth Avenue.
This weekend I had a good visit with my friend in Eugene. I had a surprise meeting with a couple who are two of my Mom's oldest friends when we went out to breakfast. Great stories to hear about their lives. Long drive from Eugene with a massive bunch of cars on the road, traffic stopped here and there along the way.
And I was a interstate truck driver :)