Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tales from the road

About six months ago, I ceased to have an actual physical address. I have a UPS mailbox, sure, but for the moment, I do not have an actual room, or even part of a room, that is mine. But I do have my car. And when your car becomes the only private space you have, funny things start happening to your relationship with it. It becomes your place to let your guard down, your place to have emotionally strenuous phone conversations, and your place to find solitude. It becomes your home. But sometimes, other people don't get the memo that your car is your little box of Personal Space.

A few months ago, while at Zion National Park, I was engaging in my usual ritual of pulling out the atlas to decide where I was headed that afternoon. I still had a day or two without any commitments, and was making plans moment by moment. Before I reached any conclusions, my mind started wandering, and I was happily zoned out before long. So there I was, sitting in my car with the windows down, map laid out in front of me.

From my perspective, this was a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Everybody just zones out and stares at the wall once in awhile, right? Right. From the perspective of a well-meaning stranger, I was looking awfully hard at that map. So the well-meaning stranger came up to my open window, and asked if he could help me.

This nearly gave me a heart attack. The closest comparison that I can come up with would be if somebody saw you fiddling with your VCR through the living room window, and knocked on your door to offer their assistance. Weird, weird, weird! While the rational part of my mind appreciates the gesture and intent, the emotional part of my brain was utterly befuddled and dismayed by this invasion of privacy.

Not surprisingly, the well-intentioned stranger was friendly. Admittedly, it took me a few minutes to compose myself enough to hold up my end of the conversation in a semi-coherent manner. But in the end, I came out of it once again appreciating the good intentions of strangers, and with some new knowledge about myself, and my evolving relationship with my car.

1 comment:

  1. lol! This is a great post..... found you on the MM list of blogs, btw. :)