Before we discuss anything, Maru, open this in a new tab/window. You’ll need this playing softly in the background while you enjoy the freedom of an open road to the soul and the simple scenery of a country road.
Good? Alright I’ll wait.
How about – oh, you got it? Okay.
Maru, lately I’ve felt pretty down. I’m not sure why and I’m not sure I really want to know why. But feeling melancholy is a fairly crappy way to spend more then forty-two seconds, so I took off to find some solace and peace of mind. My destination? Wherever Kansas Highway 18 took me.
I needed some alone time, but I ended up spending hours with a surprising conversationalist.
Driving 18 is like meeting someone that you instantly know will be very close to you, but you can’t imagine why. The road isn’t perfectly smooth, it isn’t windy and fun but instead a little rough and straight as that ruler the nuns used to beat you with at Catholic school. If you roll down your windows and maybe you back off the JT or Beyonce you happen to be blaring you become enchanted with the voice of the road, with the whistling wind’s light melody, your engine’s throaty bass line, and the percussion of your tires against imperfect paving. This is all granted your power windows work, things aren’t falling off your motor, and you have properly inflated tires. (I like to stick with 30 lbs but your mileage may vary.)
Like a good friend, 18 isn’t afraid to jostle you around and bore you to tears.
Without the problem of interesting scenery, I had little trouble focusing on what was important: me
I could have spent hours traversing the entire length of Highway 18, enjoying the gorgeous farmlands and the melting Dali sky, but a dirt road, meekly curving away from steadfast 18 caught my eye and without a second thought I swerved across the opposing lane to explore it. This little unassuming path is what would ultimately allow me to see just how much of life is right there in front of you if you put down your hooblewhatzits and your diddlebangers and unplug the jinkymapoojits. I followed TRAIL LN’s bumpy, muddy, winding path, slogging through a creek, climbing steep grades, and almost hit a cow.
I didn’t get a photo of the beast while it stared me down from its post in the middle of the road because I am terrified of being savagely murdered by something I order with fries and a large coke. Anyway, after the mindless killing machine wandered off to stalk some innocent blades of grass, I found myself parked next to an amazing open vista, a place of zero boundaries and every possibility.
The sheer vastness of this green vacuum was surprisingly peaceful, as if to say: “I’m a gigantic field, what worries could I possibly have besides lack of proper irrigation and also wildfires?”
I stood there letting the chilled wind caress my most private areas and attempted to see life from the field’s point of view.
I couldn’t. Luckily, across the road was ANOTHER field. Maybe this one would lend me some closure.
Standing in this field, with the enormous bales of hay behind me and the sun in my face, I began to feel lighter, as if the tall grass around me were anti-gravity emitters and I the lucky astronaut assigned to soar into the elephantine blue yonder. I glanced at my trusty steed, the ’98 Jeep Cherokee and wondered if it too felt this energy – this presence? I got the feeling the gentle verdure leviathan was ready for me to be on my way. I gave it a slow nod, a show of respect to something far elder than I, and departed.
Silent and watchful as ever, the Jeep keep tabs on my wanderings
I was off on TRAIL LN once more, cruising through the rural country side like a modern day bum on a boxcar. This time, though, no one was going to ask for my ticket when it was obvious I was a bum on a boxcar and then try to play all condescending about asking me to get off at the next stop. I didn’t get far, however, when a rusted oasis shimmered out from the desert of fields and cropland. It was the Seldom Rest Farm, and it was beautiful. Founded by Mr. Sergeant First Class Garfield Sanders Ullman III, Ret. twenty-five years ago, the Seldom Rest Farm has been collecting everything from rusted hulks of old trucks to ravenously feral cows and plucky chickens to a watchful garden gnome. When I approached, Mr. Ullman extended his tanned leather hand, big and meaty like a Baconator, to me and gave me a smile with almost nine intact pearly yellow teeth. I smiled in return and asked him about the place.
“WHAT!?” He yelled, holding a hand to his ear.
I asked again.
This went on for about twenty minutes. I’m not even trying to lie to you guys, Maru. Long story short, Mr. Ullman named his land the Seldom Rest Farm because he works all the time, ‘seldom resting’. Then he called me a buffoon. I asked if it would be alright to take a few photos and post them online to which he replied: “Long as ya don’t get any license plates. Most a’these cars are hot.” I agreed.
You know, wisdom seldom rests, either.
This ancient packmule stood silent. A victim of rusty Alzheimer’s and one too few oil changes.
This dude was blazed! If I were high on ‘shrooms I’d be all up in that frog’s grill too I guess!
Mr. Ullman and his wife and seven children live in this quaint farmhouse. As you can see, the family car is parked in the carport. I hope they have child safety seats!
I shook Mr. Ullman’s sweaty hand once more and pulled out of the Seldom Rest Farm with a broad smile on my face. I’d found what I wasn’t looking for: living is not about who you are or how shiny your robot head is. It isn’t about dropping the Benjamins at the strip club, and it definitely isn’t about wasting your time here on this wonderful planet Earth. With my sense of purpose revitalized and my confidence in mankind restored, I turned the Jeep back towards my own ramshackle home.
So that’s it, Maru. Every now and again everyone should take a long drive down a country road and not just to cut a few minutes off the morning commute, but to really enjoy what life has to offer. You need to pull over sometimes and spin in little circles on the side of the road. You need to shake the hands of strangers and look into the eyes of the working man. I’ve done that, Maru and I lived to tell about it a better robot.
Oh, also, on the way back a giant tarantula and a penguin got into at the truck stop at Exit 147! It was so sweet! The tarantula had laser eyes (like a million of them!) but the penguin won by dousing the tarantula with diesel fuel and setting him on fire man it was sweet. I would have got like 80 photos but my camera battery died so you’ll have to use your imagination on this one, Maru.
Hey that’s all from me. I’m going to go see Hitman and eat some popcorn. Later!