It's ten thirty at night, but there's still a fair stream of traffic. The night's grown chill, and the wind from the open passenger side window is cold on my neck. I palm the gearshift; the speed limit's fifty, the traffic is moving at sixty-five, and this part of the highway is two lanes each side with a metal guard rail between. There are no lights but the headlights.
I've got the music cranked. Atonal, loud, heavy beat. Shriekback. "The Bastard Sons of Enoch." The Devil said Caine I think this will fly. The driving requires concentration, focus, but it's a pleasant sort of focus, and while we're going fast--the night whipping past, streetlights now and exit signs--this is well within the safe capabilities of my seventeen-year-old five-speed Chevy.
Cement truck in the slow lane drifting on the curve. Dump the clutch and floor it; we skitter past at seventy and I laugh. Take my foot off the gas, upshift, glide it out until there's running room on either side.
Some asshole in a beamer decides to tailgate; I could move over but the lane I'm in forks in about a half mile and one fork is my exit.
I don't feel much guilt over ruining his night.
The lane forks. He tears past me. I downshift for the offramp and the flyover, the little truck kicking as it drops into fourth. We glide up and over--these ramps are deathtraps where there's ice, but it's a gorgeous August night, dry and cool. No worries.
Bitch of a merge, check the mirrors, hit the blinker, stamp on it and go. One eye on the rear view, one eye on the side mirror, one eye on the road ahead, both feet, both hands, check the blind spot, now. Lane change, hesitate, lane change, upshift! Wheee.
Into the canyons of the Yankee Expressway. Tunnel shit look at that guy in the Hyundai bend light! accelerate, lane change, decelerate, rough pavement, merge if you're gonna buddy, downshift, flyover, downshift now we all prefer and don't you agree a mechanical kind of ecstacy light, first gear, sirens on the cross street, wait right there, come off the clutch, one more hill, don't run in front of me you drunken bastard, right turn, left turn, right turn, home.
Lovely evening for a drive.
To a guy from 1800, I just described a field trip through Hell.