I Lied About the Vertigo

April 27, 2012 by Jen

Road trips abound in opportunities to contemplate identity. 
The right music helps: Antje Duvekot’s “Vertigo”, John Gorka’s “Broken Place,” and Sarah Jarosz’s “Edge of a Dream.”
“oh the view from this height
high above the ferriswheel lights
might cause me to sway
but i am teaching myself to be brave”
“That beautiful broken place
you could not outshine your twilight
your demons were not outpaced”
“Smiling face, that no one really knows
Singin’ bout the passion in my soul
Playin’ it safe, move in time with the beat
Take a chance, learn a new dance”
If that isn’t enough, you can contemplate the unlikely coincidence of traveling for two out of six hours while neatly closeted on a two-lane road behind one or more dump trucks. The view doesn’t change much behind one of these guys. Seeing what lies ahead is all but impossible, and instead of glorying in the mountain scenery, you find yourself fixating on the grimy brown shade of the truck’s back panel and wishing that it would move faster. 
Road trips also reveal unmistakeable truths about your shifting identity.*
A simple license plate is enough to strip you of Bible Belt citizenship and reaffirm your status as a penniless student. Like a red-green color blindness test, the way you interpret cryptic vanity plates produces a more accurate representation of your psyche than does a Meyers-Briggs typology. Eight characters: 4EVRAMEN. The Bible Belt citizen reads, “Forever Amen!” and gives a pious nod. The penniless student sees the word “Ramen” and ignores the rest, suddenly seized with an intense craving for that 33-cent delicacy.**
There is no limit to the powers of self-discovery unleashed by acceleration. Lighting out for the territories is sounding better every day…
*Even if you drive an automatic. 🙂
**On second thought, the Jesus fish, family-sized van, and location near Lynchburg, VA ought to have been a giveaway.  Just saying. Ramen. You cannot escape its magnetism.
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