Monday, January 25, 2010

Jumping the tracks

I rarely drive, so almost every trip I take behind the wheel of a rental car has the feeling of adventure for both me and any passengers who have the misfortune of traveling with me. But dropping my daughter off at college and driving home this weekend was different. I felt like a marble on one of those wooden marble runs with ramps—no matter how much I careered around and sped along, my course was predetermined and my destination a sure thing. And it felt claustrophobic.

On the way up to school, a friend of C's who was in the car with us asked me why Other and I hadn't ever gotten married and why we gave C my last name instead of Other's. And my answer was that I was sick of following the rules and wanted to do things my way.

And yesterday driving home, I had an almost overwhelming impulse to disobey the rules again, take the "wrong" exit ramp, head in a different direction for a different destination. It isn't that I don't love my current life with its comforts and stability. It's just that I miss the sense of spontaneity, of choosing the road not taken just because I felt like it. In the end I was happy enough to turn in the rental car and step through my front door to the twilight glow of home and Other's wonderful organic split-pea soup. But one of these days I'm going to take Exit 13N instead of 13S—just for the hell of it.

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