So when it was obvious that I needed more practice before the driving test, he took me out in his 1989 Chevy S-10 Blazer. This was no small thing. He special ordered it from a dealership in Indiana. I remember the day we drove to trade in his truck and pick it up because I remember the cicadas. Walls of fat insects flying hurling themselves against the giant plate glass windows, flying and hurling and either falling dead or bouncing until they fell dead:
on the ground
in a rotten ankle tall pile
of failed cicadas.
And then one of them flew into the Blazer and hid under my seat. The sound it made sounded like it as waiting to devour my kicks.
Dad loved to drive and I think he wanted to be able to share that with me. Because he was sick most of my childhood, there were a lot "father/son" kinds of things we simply weren't able to do. But I WAS worried, because even though my driving instructor was a bully ignoring, Mountain Dew chugging, chain smoking USE LESS instructor, I did manage to scare him at least twice to the point that he nearly choked on his Pepsi product. And my Dad wasn't exactly KNOWN for his calm nature.
But he talked me out of the driveway and away. He took me down back roads near the house; very little traffic, but narrow and windy in places. And he talked to me about why he liked to drive. It was a chance to let his mind go, he said. He could focus on driving and not have to think about anything, or he could think about things, decompress, or just listen to the radio. Dad was the only adult who had told me it was OK to listen to the radio while you drive.
He never used the word meditation. But that's what it was about for him. A meditation. And yes, I'm sure he also felt those feelings of independence I used to feel when I drove. But he didn't attach driving to his freedom, his masculinity, or his economic status. He drove because he loved to drive.
I don't know how he'd feel knowing that I don't especially like to drive. But I do like to be in motion. This sometimes takes the form of travel. A lot of times it just takes the form of walking. I like to walk and meditate, or walk and think, or walk and listen to music. I like to walk and take in the world in small, deep draughts.
I like to think he'd understand.
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