Have you ever seen someone singing along to the radio in their car? It is the most hilarious, wonderful thing, I think. I love to see people enjoying their lives. As long as the window is rolled up and I don’t have to hear what you’re singing, I think you should sing it loud.
I leave my window rolled down because everyone should be exposed to my awesome singing and also, my car smells. I have to roll the window down. There are 400 fishy crackers and raisins wedged in all the cracks and crannies of that vehicle. We have cleaned it since we came back from our vacation but there are more fishy crackers plumbing the great depths of the car every time we go out in it, which is several days a week. Rotting fishy crackers, yum.
Who can I pick up? Anyone? Carpool?
The other morning I was driving Trombone to preschool and there was a woman in a car behind me. While we stopped at the light I glanced in my rearview mirror and she started singing. Like, opera singing. Or something that involved her opening her mouth so big she almost made her eyes disappear. It was a long light. I watched her and watched her. She was either singing opera or practicing musical theatre. She furrowed her brow and shook her head around and banged on the steering wheel. She was smoking a cigarette; she took an angry drag. She took an angry drink from her travel mug.
Then, at the next light, I realized she wasn’t singing after all. She was having an argument. With the radio? Or with herself? Or with a person who was not in the car? There was no one else in the car.
At the next light I watched her carefully. Her mouth had stopped moving. Now she was just staring out her window, holding her cigarette in the same hand that was on the steering wheel. Her other hand came up and shoved her hair out of her face.
I can’t help it, I want to know what is going on. Who died. Who hurt her. Whether she eats breakfast. Whether she’s ever tried to quit smoking. Whether she is a low level waitress or a high level executive.
A car is a kind of sanctuary, which I think is one reason – a sympathetic reason rather than a selfish “I hate other people” reason – why so many people continue to drive and eschew public transit. On the bus, she’d be That Lady on the Bus. In her car, no one knows anything about her. She is in a space capsule, sealed off from humanity.
There is only me, wondering, but I don’t get to know for sure.
I like to picture her showing up to work, where she is a department manager. She has meetings to attend and people to discipline and reports to write. And no one knows that she rehearses her day in her car every morning, where no one can hear.
Real estate agent, maybe.
My kids wanted to go outside just now. We made it two houses and the neighbour boy, the nice one, invited them into his house. The TV – a much larger one than ours – is playing the movie Cars. They all three are standing there, staring at the screen. The neighbour boy’s grandma, who doesn’t speak English, came out on the porch with her espresso and shrugged at me. “Cars,” she said.