Monday, March 19, 2012

Driving as a waste of time...or is it...

I went to Alabama last weekend. A secret mission. I had my Ga Green Card with me in case I might have been a suspected alien in and alien world. Just kidding, Ala damn bama is the best kept secret in the US of A. Northern Alabama is quite beautiful, and land is still relatively cheap. I considered moving to Northern Alabama once. I got over it. Where ever you are, there you are. I ain't there yet, just leaving.

I looked at the speedometer when I filled up, wrote down the mileage to get some sense of mileage at 3.60 a gallon. I topped it off in Jasper, Al., needing a pit stop, anyway.  13 mile per gal. pulling a half loaded trailer...big ole 350 C.I. Chebby engine sucking it down! Bill fold getting flatter and flatter. As I left the station, it hit me I were spending all this money to sit on my butt and being bored for hours, I thought I might as well try to learn something, if I'm spending all this money. After all, isn't education expensive? I turned on the radio. and learned three things.

I heard and interview with a female author who stated that her drinking had cause her to deteriorate, but not as quickly and she kept lowering her standards. How the hell do you know when you reach the bottom if you keep lowering your standards faster than you deteriorate? Had to think about that for about 30 miles. No conclusion, just glad I didn't have that problem to work out from under. Apparently, she had overcome the deterioration or the lower standards, one of them at least...somebody must be buying her books if she's on NPR.

There was a program on "This Land Is Your Land". The old Woody Guthrie song that ended up in kids song books back when they had music instruction in schools. God, those were the days. Were I King of the World, all we'd have is art and music. Everything else would be learned as you learn Art and Music...History, Math, English, Law, Real Estate, etc. There would be recess PE.   PE trains young'uns to play games with rules they can break...that's the reason for have referees, ain't it? To catch rule breakers? Maybe they there to fight with disgruntled parents.

Back to driving.

I digress...Woody was a rambler. If there was a  movement afoot, him being a consummate hippie, union man, and a card carrying communist. He ended up on the McCarthy "Black List", along with Pete Seeger. Woody would show up guitar in hand, pencil in his pocket, and another incident would be set to song.

He traveled here and there, writing songs like "I'm Standing for the Union", " The Farmer is the Man". " This Land is Your Land",  became an mantra to many ethnic groups, political movements , etc. It's a brilliant song, in the end, though spuriously rearranged to it's present form. I think it captures the American spirit. It's more singable that The Star Spangled Banner...and it don't talk about bombs and war...just endless sky ways, diamond deserts etc. Nothing stressful there.

 Oops, here's a Semi two blocks long sitting right beside me. He can't pass and I can't go mo' faster up this hill. There he goes, I'm running about 70, he must be going 90...I'll catch him on the next hill. Ain't this fun?

Anyway, Woody's take on it was "You can only write about what you know and see". I got another 50 miles down the road thinking about that one. I wonder what Yeats and Asimov would have thought about writing about what you see...they may have been something quite different if they had heeded Woody's advice.

I began a mental exercise...My butt has gone to sleep, as I have worn out the seat of the truck seat. I have taken to placing small pillows behind back, under tush, to keep the deadness of limbs from overtaking me.

Where was I? The truck has 170,00 miles on it. I bought it with 90,000 and have pretty much driven the rest on the road. So, 80,000 miles behind the wheel on the same seat, looking out at white lines. How many white lines per mile are there? At and average of say 50 miles and hour, how many thousand hours have I spent in this conveyance? At , say, 2.30 a gallon average price and 15 miles per gallon how much money have I given BP, Exxon, etc. to have this behemoth drag me around the country.

I can't do that kind of math in my head while driving, and I don't think about it when I'm not driving. It keeps me awake enough to spend $180.00 to drive 659.9 miles to Alabama and back. Only 60 miles to go.

Glad that's over. Wonder how many miles I've driven and ridden in my 70 years...ROAD TRIP!

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