December 4, 1998

You float like a feather,
In a beautiful world.
And I wish I was special,
You’re so fucking special.
Other Stuff

December 4, 1998
Anatomy of a Potential Car Wreck
or
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Driving When You’re Dead Tired

In the past week I believe I’ve become an expert on the art of driving while extremely tired. Driving home to Leander from Killeen on what is probably one of the most dangerous highways in Texas is a feat in itself, but try doing it after spending eleven hours in a place that conjures up pictures of dumbasses dancing in what they believe are straight lines just at the thought of it — high school.

Official statistics say that there have been something along the lines of nine military and fifteen civilian deaths on the portion of Texas Highway 195 I travel every afternoon of the work week. (I’m willing to put money on it that those fifteen civilian deaths were caused by the nine military drivers). Anyway, after thinking yesterday that I was The Man and completely used to this hour drive back and forth, I began to get a little cocky and mumble in my head, “Man, there’s not much to this driving thing. Just hit the pedal, watch the curves, pull to the side when someone wants to pass, and increase following distance. Increase the goddamn following distance. That was one thing I’d learned from the Biloxi wreck. Today I was to learn that my cockiness was without reason, though.

Things started out smoothly enough as I pulled out of the parking lot at the school where my mother works. That is, until I was nearly side-swiped by a BMW doing 50 in a 20-mph school zone. Where are the cops when you need them? They’re always there when I’m doing 30 in a 25, but never when the drug dealer is doing fifty in front of a school. Never. Cops suck, I tell ya.

Avoiding that near-mishap, I adjusted the mirrors and adjusted the visor to block the sun and adjusted my ass on the seat for a long ride. As we neared the intersection of Elms Road and Highway 195 in Killeen, a large Chevrolet truck pulled out from the Chevron to my right. Across two lanes he came, nearer to my front bumper he came, into my lane (and almost my car) he came, scaring me so much that I almost came. As he neared my right front bumper, I leaned on the horn. I leaned on it long and hard. Long after he had pulled back into his own lane, I leaned on the horn. It was my way of scorning him. There was no way I could (or would) have gotten out and yelled at the large construction worker which sat behind the wheel of the large Chevy, so the next best thing is to do what every car driver does: hide behind two tons of steel (or fiberglass) and yell and bitch and honk, with your doors locked and your windows rolled up. Another mishap avoided and only ten minutes into the commute. This was going to be a good drive, I could already tell.

After turning off of 195 near Florence and onto Texas 138 the need to sleep began to set in in a big way. I looked over at my mom asleep in the passenger’s seat. Good God, what will I do? I thought. I drank some semi-cold water from the Air Force ROTC insulated mug my mom carries with her everyday to work. I convinced myself that the water was waking me up. Yeah, right. I’d done better to just pour the water on my crotch, stop at the nearest hick gas station, and tell the first long-haired attendant that came along that he turned me on so much that why doesn’t he come sit on my lap. At least the severe beating I would have received would have woken me up, or put me to sleep. Either of which were preferable to me at this point.

Two auto accidents avoided, but these things come in threes. When I finally made it to Highway 183 I was ready to put the car on autopilot and let Captain Kirk take me home. Autopilot existed in cars in the sleep deprived delusion I was having at that point. A chant that will probably become even more familiar in the week and a half I have left of this driving to Killeen and back everyday starting playing itself over and over in my head, Must… stay… awake… Must… stay… awake… as if I were Leonardo DiCaprio in a state of hypothermia in the waters above the Titanic.

I tried everything. I tried slapping my face, I tried shaking my head, I tried watching the center lines but only found myself wandering toward them into oncoming traffic. As we entered the Leander city limits, I tried counting all the white cars. It worked! I had hit upon the secret! That is, it worked for about the first two minutes. By the time I had counted to sixteen, it was like I was instead counting sheep and beginning to once again nod off.

Finally, we made it home. Did I go to bed as soon as I got home? Hell no. I got online to check my email. What would you have done?

I don’t care if it hurts
I want to have control,
I want a perfect body,
I want a perfect soul,
I want you to notice,
When I’m not around

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