The Best Place To Be
Everyone has their own best place to be. Their favourite place. Their chill-out zone. For some it is in their bed, others have a particular park-bench. The garden. A work-shed. I know someone whose best place to be is sitting in the loo!
Mine is in my car.
I am alone in it most of the time. I like that. I can talk to myself. Sing. Listen to music. Put on my shades. Switch on the air-con. It is my home from home.
But most of all it gives me thinking space.
Driving is like knitting, or weaving, or hoovering the floor--- it concentrates your attention so the thinking part of your brain can get on with the important stuff.
And what do I think about in my car? A lot. My brain just freewheels and latches onto something. I know someone won't walk into the room. And there won't be a knock at the door. My cell phone is switched off (isn't yours? Well it's a good idea when driving). And if I get tired I can pull over and still enjoy my solitude, my quality time and space.
Sometimes it's memories. People. Like the young girl I used to know. I was 12 and Celia was 16. Our families were friends, we went on trips and outings. She was quite pretty and had many admirers. Her little handbag was crammed full of highly emotional love notes from the guys at school who daydreamed about her. I wasn't into Celia romantically. I was a slow developer, I suppose.
Once we shared a tin of condensed milk we'd stolen from the kitchen. I was fine with it but Celia got sick, her slight frame heaving and twitching. I wanted to comfort her by putting an arm around her, but I was too shy. I regret that.
Celia was always smiling or laughing, never moody or sullen or simply detached like so many girls at her age. People loved her. Celia bewitched them. You can't cultivate that talent, you either have it or you don't.
One day, when she was still 16, she came home from school. Said she was tired. Her mom went to heat up Celia's usual cup of milk. When she returned Celia had fallen asleep. Or so her mum thought. Only Celia wasn't asleep. She was dead. Her heart had failed. It was some sort of congenital birth defect that no one had ever been aware of, they said afterwards.
And then there was Josh. A friend of mine from school. Rich parents, very spoiled. But still vulnerable and lacking in confidence, due mainly to having two, much older brothers, who bullied him. I liked Josh. I could relax with him because he looked up to me. We'd drive long distances in his car, with him trying to find shops where he could buy the coolest new in-car accessory. Completely pointless and unnecessary, very silly and expensive bits and pieces, but try telling that to a teenager wanting to prove himself!
He had a sound system I envied, and I'd go to his house simply to listen to his music. His favourite was The Moody Blues' beautiful album In Search Of The Lost Chord, which, strangely enough, many years later became my favourite too. I still adore it!
And then one day after a massive argument with his loutish and drunken older brothers, Josh left home in little more than the clothes in which he was standing. Now, teenagers do that all the time. It's nothing new. But this was different. Josh never came back home and they never found him. His parents scoured the earth for him--- they were able to, they were rich. No sign of him. Not a trace.
I remember some years later when I bumped into his dad he simply looked at me in a stunned sort of way--- and burst into tears. I didn't know what to do. It felt terrible.
So you want to know what I think happened to Josh? I'd rather not say. It just depresses me. But if you insist I think he hitched a lift from someone and then something terrible happened.
Well, back to my car, my moving grooving meditation chamber. Now, I want to get one thing straight. I wasn't extremely close in any way to Celia or Josh. But I've always found myself missing them like crazy over the years. There's something about having someone snatched from you suddenly and forever. At least if they had decided to emigrate to the other side of the world there would have been a chance I might, one day, have seen Celia and Josh again.
Now you'll probably think me strange for saying this, and perhaps you'd be right. But there is still a place where I can meet up with them. Yup. You've guessed it. Alone, in my car.
All I have to do is to think about Celia and Josh, and they will open the back doors of my car and slide right in.............
Hi, my name is John. This is my sixth weekly blogpost. The previous posts can be reached by scrolling down. The next one, called Epiphany At A Roadside Diner, will be posted next Friday, 24 August. The ducklings are all still fine. Almost time that they started spreading their wings to fly away. Mum flies off for several hours on end to encourage them to do this---much like human mums start developing their own life once the kids have grown up! For those of you late to this blog, you can scroll down to see the post called Tragedy At The Duck Pond (and subsequent updates like this one) to appreciate the background to the duckling saga (Thursday 19 July post).
And here are my books, in ebook and paperback editions........
Running With Zombies (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)
My website: http://bit.ly/OtFU9Z