Friday, May 11, 2012

Where Do Cars Go At Night?

There's over 850 million cars in the world and growing. Where is each one going? At night. On a Sunday. At one in the morning. When I was younger I would sit in the back of my parent's golden colored truck and just watch the cars drive next to us. Their wheels spun quickly, but the cars looked so slow. At night, the cars turn on their headlights. The street lights turn bright and the road looks like a golden strip. Stores turn on their neon signs. Blues, reds, greens, and the rainbow. For a second, you might think you saw a completely new color, unknown to man. But you only noticed when you turned away and when you turned back, you couldn't find it. A new color. Probably one of the few things impossible to imagine. And the whole world it seemed, was alive at night. The back seat of the truck was a strange place.

(Coldplay: Wont you take me where the street lights glow?)

I always looked out the window next to me, while my head rested on the seat belt. I daydreamed all the time back there. My forehead touched the window and would make it foggy until my head felt cold and I had to pull it away. I guess that's why I now have a terrible sense of direction. I never paid attention to where my parents were driving. I would just look at the cars and think. Everyone is going somewhere. Some make turns, some go the other way, and some are already there.

While I sat at the back of the truck with my head rested on the seat belt, I would jump over cars and run faster than sixty miles an hour. I would smash windshields. I would fly. I was superhuman in the back of the seat with my eyes focusing out the window.

Have you ever been in a car late at night in a lonely road and see another car? You had your own reasons for being there that late. You couldn't sleep, so you decided to drive around for a while. Or you fell asleep at your friend's house watching a movie and when you woke up, realized it was really late so you had to drive back home. Or an alien abducted you and you had no recollection of it other than feeling like there was some unexplainable missing time. Who knows? It could be anything. But both of your lives touched or met in this same place. Where could the other car be heading you might wonder.
(I wonder if the cameraman was scared)

A friend of my family died a few months ago. He rode a UPS truck and delivered packages. An empty horse cage got loose from the truck that was pulling it in the highway. The cage hit the UPS truck and some debris smashed through the window and hit the driver's head with so much force that he died instantly. I had just seen him a couple of months ago at some park before it happened. It's always more painful when someone that you've seen recently dies. You saw them in health. You saw them laugh, you grabbed their hand. And you say goodbye thinking you're going to see them again. But they're gone now. You suddenly remember that death can happen to anyone in any way. You feel scared. We feel immortal because we think we're going to wake up the next morning. "I'll start getting in shape in two months," some say. As if we know for sure that we have those two months.
It's almost like how we think for sure the Sun will rise tomorrow. It's happened for thousands of years without miss. Why shouldn't it tomorrow? But we don't really know the answer. We feel invincible most of the time.

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He drove a UPS truck. Someone. Maybe some kid, must've seen him out his window and wondered where he was going that morning. The kid's dad would make a turn and see the truck drive away in another direction. No clue of what would happen. Just another car.

(Would you bet on it?)

When I was 16, my family and I were driving home from my cousin's house. His birthday had ended. It was late, around one in the morning. My brother was driving. He gets a call. It's his friend. He wants him to go to some house, but wouldn't say why. He was crying. My mom yelled at him because it was late. I sat there, in the back, with a bad feeling in my lower stomach and throat. Again, I see cars pass by. And I'm sure some saw us too. But nobody was aware of where the other was going.
(Just a lonely moon)

We arrive and I see police around the house with yellow tape all around it. My brother and I get out of the car. "What happened?" my brother says. The police tells him about some guy that was shot in the head while he was DJing in a family's backyard. The cop didn't remember the guy's last name only his first name. "Velasquez?" my brother says. "Yeah there you go." "Well, how is he?" "He's dead," The cop says. I remember it so well. He sounded like he didn't care. The man dead was my brother's friend. I didn't know him that well, but I immediately got flashbacks of all the times I saw him come over my house. How I never said a word to him. My brother turned around and I could tell he was crying. I looked at the pitch black sky. Not a single star.

We drove back home in silence. We past hundreds of cars. None of them knew the sorrow that the golden truck was concealing. Shielding from the world until the car door inevitably opens. We stopped for coffee at Dunkin' Donuts drive thru near our house. The lady was taking long and some black car behind us beeped. They had no idea either.

Every car you see out on the road is carrying a different life with them. They carry emotions. Pain. Happiness. If they could weigh anything, we would need bigger cars.

They all go off somewhere. To a date. Home. A party. A store. Some drive to their death. Others go to where death has happened.

But if we're lucky, we are just the viewer. We see the cars pass and only wonder where they might be going. Out through the window like out through a television. And wonder about new colors.

(Maybe there's a new color out there. Maybe)

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