I don’t like roads.
I love road trips, but I don’t like roads. Let’s face it: they’re bumpy, uncomfortable, winding strips of pavement that harbor some of the most horrid behaviors to known to mankind. The Jersey Driver. The Masshole. The California Dandy. The Sunday Driver. They’re all out to make your driving life miserable. So why can’t I get enough road trip in my life? Being stuck in a car for hours on end isn’t really much fun in itself. What it really comes down to is…what?
Maybe seeing landscapes I’ve never seen before whirring by my window elicits a sense of wonder. My imagination starts to spark and spin as I create little bits of life from 60 years ago in that old, broken barn. Today, chipped gray-red paint falls in large flakes to the ground, covering up a bent and broken frame, the roof sagging in the middle, holes in it letting razor sharp swords of light pierce the empty interior. In the distance, I see a farmer walk across the field, his jean overalls and leather boots kicking up the dust and pollen from dry, worked earth. He grabs up a pitchfork that was leaning against a well loved and well maintained John Deere tractor and walks into the barn, here new and gleaming with a fresh coat of red paint. The oversized door frame doesn’t sag now, but pulls a straight and strong line across the gaping mouth of the barn.
The road I’m on right now makes me think of the path the farmer took this day, from the breakfast table, to the barn, to the field, and back again, over and over, until the sun sets and the dinner bell rings. Back then, this road was merely a dirt rut slicing through his fields, a worn path to the neighbors 6 miles down the way. Today it’s a six lane highway, cars and trucks barrelling down the pavement faster and faster every year, most people not noticing that there was even a farm here. The government came by the house one day, knocking ever so politely on the door, the farmer’s wife answering and inviting the men in. Little did the farmer and his wife know that in just a few years’ time, their land would be split apart, and this behemoth of a roadway would just about kill their livelihood, all in the name of progress.
But for now, the farmer has work to do in the heat of the mid-day sun. The day is far from over, and he has a barn to mend.
I like to imagine these scenarios because no matter how mundane your life may feel while you’re living it, there’s always someone out there who wants to hear your story. And those are stories you’ll hear on the road.