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Driven to Drive

July 25, 2003

It’s like a game. A puzzle to be solved, thousands of tiny puzzle pieces which must be moved in precisely the correct positions to prevent game play from slowing or stopping. And I am just one piece.

I don’t really like driving. Especially in heavy traffic. I’m much too impatient. If I had my way, I would be able to step into a little box somewhere and come out instantly at my destination. Long trips bore me, and multitudes of people on the road frustrate me, mainly because I can’t control their actions and therefore must put up with people who drive half the speed limit in the fast lane on the freeway. But sometimes, especially late at night or early in the morning, I will strike that perfect balance. That instant of time when driving is not a chore, but a pleasure.
Traffic is a moving maze through which I must maneuver and muscle for rank amongst the other drivers. There is a little thrill at finding the perfect openings at the perfect times and being able to slide in and out. And then there is that moment. The moment that you briefly break free into the open space between two traffic clusters. The joy of surging forth between two slow moving vehicles and then suddenly leaving them behind. There may be another cluster of cars somewhere up ahead but for now the road is open.

It is rare that there are moments in my life that a drive was enough of a memory that it stayed with me. The moments I enjoyed most are the ones that repeated. Driving along in the summer before my junior year in high school, top down on my sister’s convertible, the sun shining, “Killing Me Softly” or “Ironic” on the radio, and my best friend in the passenger seat. Hugging the curves in my little sports car on my way to Ren Faire in the mornings, taking them at the highest speed I dared and still not go over the speed limit. The instant of time in which the road into College Station goes from being forest lined to open fields and there, in the distance, is Kyle Field. The last hill before the turn off on my way into Killeen, where Waco is laid out like stars in the night sky, glittering and remote in a sea of black.

Precious few memories. But enough to ensure that I am still driven to drive.

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