Sunday, November 02, 2008

Is There A Light At The End of This Road?

Yesterday I was restless as soon as I woke up. Sometimes I can't help myself, I like to be running, running, running, all of the time. No one was home, so I wouldn't have my sister as my partner in crime. It was too early for any of my regular cohorts to be awake. I had money that was burning a hole in my pocket, and a thirst to buy some books. I looked up a used book store in a small city just fifteen minutes away from my house. I grabbed my dad's TomTom, and was out the door. I got there with no problems surprisingly since I am notoriously bad about driving on interstates, and getting lost at every chance I get.

But I did get to the Second Hand Prose Book Shop. Sadly, the building did not offer what I thought was promised. Instead of pages and pages of exciting books, books that would make me laugh out loud, books that would teach me something about life, or love, or both. Instead it offered romance novels as far as the eye could see. Clearly, there was a problem here that I did not expect. But since I drove the twenty miles out, I was going to buy a book whether or not it was one I actually wanted. I found a battered copy of "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger sitting lonely on the only bookshelf that did not have anything with a muscled man with an open and billowing shirt on the cover. I paid the three dollars for it, and took it home.

On my way home however I ran into a snag. I misunderstood the GPS, and took a wrong on ramp and ended somewhere thirty minutes away from home before i noticed anything was wrong. My phone was dead, so I couldn't call for help. All I could do was freak out, and worry. I drove, and drove, and drove not knowing where I was or where I would end up. The TomTom was worthless at this point. There were no road signs, just miles and miles of empty highway. I don't think I've ever been so scared. I never realized how scary being lost actually is. Not knowing where you'll end up, or whether or not you'll ever make it back home. It's a frightening thought. You start to think of the people you left behind, the faces you may never see again. You could get in a wreck, and die forty miles from home and no one might ever know what happened to you. You might end up somewhere strange and not have enough money to get home. Your name becomes foreign to your loved ones, and you walk around a strange place as just another nameless face. You can fade into obscurity in a minute once you're lost.

But then I started to like the idea of getting lost. The idea that you could start over anywhere else. You could pick a new name for yourself, a new identity, even a new accent. Anything is possible when no one knows who you are. And something about that appeals to me. I haven't always been happy with the way my life is turning out, not exactly how I always thought that it would. I always thought there would be something more. Maybe it a person that's missing from my life that I haven't met yet. Maybe it's a career, or a promise for the future. Maybe it's some sense of accomplishment that I have yet to achieve. I don't know what it is exactly but maybe I could find it somewhere new. And I gave it a serious thought for a moment. I really did. Then I came to my senses and took the nearest exit and stopped to ask for directions. I guess I realized that I could live anywhere, but I can only be at home in one place. And that place is here.


Nomad said...

You have a great "inner voice". Silly phrase, I know. It's the kind of thing that community college teachers say a lot.
Keep reading, keep writing and listen to that voice- don't actually obey it or anything. Your conversational style lets people read through quickly like a very intelligent and meaningful chat with a friend. I am looking forward to more and more.

Nomad said...

Just thought of something. You ever listen to the monologues of Garrison Keilor from Lake woebegon? Also Bill Bryson? Here is a bit of "The Lost Continent",M1

Jordan said...

Thank you for saying that, I try to keep things light and conversational. Thanks for noticing. Also, I am a huge fan of Garrison Keilor he has the greatest speaking voice pretty much ever.

Nomad said...

one problem with Keilor is: his voice was always so relaxing that I usually fell asleep at some point during the monologue. I felt like the dopey looking lion with a dart in its hind leg.

Kelli said...

The last paragraph of this post is something that I've been thinking about a lot. You nailed it. That feeling that if you really wanted to, you could change everything about your life at a moment's notice. It's terrifying how capable we are.

Never stop writing, Jordan.