Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet
The dark road appeared to be never-ending on this warm spring night. I was exhausted and my eyelids kept coming closer and closer to their embrace. The only thing that kept me awake was the little yellow sedan in front of me that kept swaying side to side in its lane. Through the tint of the car’s back window, I could see an ominous glow coming from the driver’s seat. I suspected that the driver in the swaying sedan was in a heated text messaging debate with somebody. The sentences this person was writing were probably so long and so emotionally charged that he or she needed to let go of the steering wheel occasionally to make sure the point was made with the 145 characters allotted. Or maybe I was wrong? Maybe the driver was in my position and was exhausted after his or her long 14-hour day. Or maybe the driver was on his or her way back from a bar or a friend’s house after a few drinks of the “good stuff.” I could not shake the concern of the ominous glow.
Regardless of the reason for the swaying, I decided to keep some space between my truck and the little yellow sedan. I could see a beacon of safety in the glow of the lights of my town coming up in the distance. I felt a little safer knowing that my turn was coming up soon and I wouldn't have to live in fear behind the little yellow sedan. As soon as I could see the sign that read “Alessandro Blvd,” I turned on my left-turn signal. I was almost back into town safe and sound. But my short lived calm was broken when the little yellow sedan’s left-turn signal began to flash.
Great… This reckless driver lives in my town.
We both turned onto the two-lane road. The continuous swaying of the little yellow road hazard made me want to reach home even faster. But for now, there was nothing I could do but go at its slow and menacing pace.
After what seemed like days, I could finally see a street light where the lane split in two. I could finally come face to face with the driver whose driving reminded me of an ocean current as it crashed into the rocks of the shore.
I’m finally going to solve the case of the little yellow sedan and see who is behind the wheel.
I could see the sedan’s brake lights engage as we got closer to the streetlight. I slowly stepped on my brakes as the glow from the streetlight moved from the hood of my truck to my driver’s seat. As soon as the other lane opened up, I pulled up on the driver’s side of the sedan.
Finally, I have you in my sights.
The satisfaction of knowing I was right was all I was after. I had no intentions of saying anything to the driver or initiating any sort of contact. I just wanted to look over and see who it was.
I couldn't believe it. The driver wasn’t some drunken extremist or angry text message debater. The driver was a young girl with both hands on her steering wheel, bawling her eyes out. From my truck I could see that she had her iPod connected to the stereo in her car and she kept flipping from one break-up song to the next. I finally saw that the glow wasn't a hazard, but a signal of despair.
Well, that explains the glow.
She dropped her face into her hands as her body shook uncontrollably. I contemplated opening my window and offering her some encouraging words.
Everything will be okay. It must get dark to see the stars.
But I couldn't do it. I couldn't look away. As soon as she lifted her face from her hands, she stepped on the gas. I hadn't even noticed the light for us to go had turned green because I was so captivated by the scene of the beautiful girl who could not stop crying. I began to drive following not too far behind the girl. She was driving a lot straighter. Maybe she was finally all cried out? We drove for less than a minute before we hit another streetlight.
When we stopped at the next light I looked over to see the girl. This time she looked like she was done crying as she wiped her eyes and turned off her iPod. She looked ahead and let out a few labored breaths. I saw that she counted ten breaths as she lay back into her seat. She was done crying. I kept watching as she began to talk to herself. By the looks of it, she was talking herself into not crying over her break-up. I could imagine her saying:
“He’s not worth it anyway. I’m better off without him. It’s for the best.”
She even let out a slight grin once she conquered her sadness. I did not know who she was, but I was happy for her.
The entire time she was going through her episode, I was glad that she did not catch me staring at her. She was in her own little world. Whenever we are in our cars we feel completely free to do almost anything we want without the consequences of other people seeing us. Like Wonder Woman’s invisible jet, only she could see it and control it. On one hand, this girl felt completely free to cry her eyes out and play her favorite songs that reminded her of her recently broken relationship. On the other hand, I felt like a bird just watching her from afar without the risk of being caught staring. I was comfortable in my own invisible jet. These walls that we create in our cars hide us from the world. When we are inside these walls, we are free to sing, cry, laugh, and even dance without the worry of catching anybody’s attention. These invisible walls block out the outside world and leave behind only what we want to bring into them. We are the gatekeepers and as soon as we get behind the wheel and drive, we are in full control of our invisible jets. Sometimes we cannot wait to be inside our cars because of the privacy it brings. “Hold on, let me get in my car.” “I’ll call you when I’m driving home.” “We’ll talk in the car.” These are all sentences used and said every day that bind us to the privacy offered by our cars. At times we save phone calls and special conversations for our sanctuaries. They are invisible jets, our private phone booths, recording studios, and counseling sessions.
We act as if our subconscious has embodied itself into an invisible someone in the passenger seat of the car. Someone who can talk back to you, sings with you, and can give you advice. This girl had convinced herself that she was going to be alright, and her invisible jet was the only place she was going to do this.
As soon as the next street came, she turned right and I turned left. The last glimpse I got of the girl was a happy one. She was smiling. It wasn't a huge smile, but it was enough to know that she was going to be alright.