Several times a week, I work as a contract employee for the State of Washington. This involves a 30+ mile commute to the State Capitol in Olympia. I find the interstate is a great source of literary inspiration: both on things I am working on, and on the commuting experience itself.
In August of 2013 I wrote Beauty on the Interstate OR Cool Is as Cool Does.
I thought it was a singular essay, but this week I had another inspirational experience on the highway that made me think that maybe this might become and on-going series. Here's the next installment:
Beauty on the Interstate OR The Red Car
By Judith Cullen
The Highway is a great
rolling stage for drama. Some are grand and expansive, complete with
flashing lights, bells, and confrontations of life and death. Others of
these rolling epochs are simple moments of delight and justice, for where would
tragedy be without comedy? –
The opening of the first Beauty on the Interstate
|Photo by Magnus Manske via Wikimedia Commons|
It really started with a dump truck – one of those double
carriers. I was behind it in lane 2, the
second from the left. I always seem to
be in lane 2 when these things happen. Already
nursing a crack in my windshield, I did not really want to wait and speculate
as to whether the truck was hauling bark, or gravel, or tiny bits of whatever
the hardest substance in the universe is these days. I decided to get around it. Traffic was moderate, so I moved into lane 1
As my speedometer skimmed 70, a car came up behind me. It was the same model as my own, but a decade
younger. As I passed the dump truck and was looking for clearance to move in
front of it, the car behind me shot into lane two, walking away from me like I
was standing still. That meant it was doing
about 80 in a 60 mph zone.