People on the Highway

People on the Highway in eBook format with a handful of book only stories is free 9/27 to 10/1! Get your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VUE2OQS and be sure to check out my other Amazon stuff.

For work I travel between a couple of different locations every day.  This is fine, but the travel does take me through the epicenter of a town with nearly twice the population of my own.  This population increase amounts to 25,024% increase in traffic at any time of day.  The math is weird, but it’s there. The change in seasons has driven (ba dum tss) people absolutely mad this week.

One person really took the title of “totally deranged road warrior” this week though.

Today’s tale: Cookie Monster

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People on the Highway

Routine.  That’s the morning drive these days.  Drive south, wait at lights, get tailed by a Honda sedan, wait far too long for a right hand turn lane to work the way it is supposed to.  The do it going north.  Monday through Friday.  Some Saturdays.  I’m not dealing with it very well lately.  Thankfully, the sun is up when I drive now and I can see other drivers.  People are far from routine.

Today’s tale: What May Come

 

Oliver Winter.  That’s the name I’ve assigned to the driver a beat up old Ford with a bed gate that won’t stay up properly.  The truck smells like cigarettes, overheated and cracking plastic, gas and a funk that has no explanation, but this is Oliver’s truck.  Oliver is wearing a long sleeved tee, green and there’s a graphic I can’t quite place but I think it is un-ironically a Pabst Blue Ribbon shirt.  He keeps his gray hair long, and a unkempt beard covers from ear to chin to other ear.  Dark, darker than dark really, sunglasses cover his eyes.

Oliver is on his way to work, like the rest of us, but behind those eyes is a pain.  Oliver knows the routine as well as I do.  He drives, he works, he drives again.  Right now, he’s stuck in his own head.

We’re driving down the road.  I’m thinking of how amazing my Pop Tart breakfast is and Oliver is thinking of what once was.

Oliver is thinking of his days with the railroad.  He’s thinking of the summer spent in Aruba as a scuba instructor.  He is thinking of a two term tenure as a city council member and the mill levy he helped passed.  There was a brief stint as an editor of a local newspaper.

He used to be so many things.  He has more years behind him than ahead of him now, he realizes this and on these drives that feel so mundane and routine he is left wondering what may have been had he stuck with one option or another.

I can’t help but feel sorry for the mindset that has consumed poor Oliver.  Spending so much time thinking of what he used to be and no time thinking of what he will be.

Unknown to Oliver right now, he will be the world’s first septuagenarian to break the sound barrier in a paraglider.  It will be a complete accident and the government investigation will consume the rest of his days, but he will be one speedy old dude.

 

 

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People on the Highway

I work for a multi-facility company which means sometimes I get to leave work at rush hour from the far side of what amounts to a major city for my region.  The drive home takes forever.  Tonight was one of those nights.  Usually, I’m rather displeased with this as it takes an extra hour to get home.  Tonight was a different story entirely.

Today’s tale: Burnside’s Time Travels Continue reading

People on the Highway

I had an early morning today and once again got to join the pre-6am driver club.  Membership benefits suck.  I do get to see the absolute weirdest stuff though.  Not exactly deep sea off the Australian coast weird, but weird none the less.

Today’s tale: Broccoli

A Dodge sedan of some sort is moving rather quickly down the highway behind me.  I’m going 63, following a work truck with a bed full of orange buckets and dirty shovels.  I’d pass him, but I’m on my way to work and “terrible car crash on way to work” is not what I want any of the police reports with my name on them to read.  Though I’d prefer to not appear on police reports entirely.  That’s all beside the point.  The truck ahead of me is not my concern at this particular hour as the Dodge is racing up behind us.

The Dodge, gray-ish and dented from a mix of hail and bad decisions, is piloted by one Jared Wilkerson.  Jared is on his way to work too, but gives his epitaph less thought than I give my own.  For the reals, “Died as he lived. Rushing to do stuff that made no difference anyway” will not be on my tiny gold plated urn which will rest on the grand room’s fireplace mantle in my youngest son’s mansion when he’s in his 50s.

Jared is rocking a local radio station that gives frequent updates on marijuana prices and the DJs are “so glad Linkin Park sounds like Hybrid Theory again.” It is a poor choice in radio stations, but Jared displays his poor choices well enough.  A neck tattoo of a hotdog in a bun eating a sweating chihuahua is not wise.  It did lead his grandmother to learn Photoshop though. So there’s that.

Jared has been making poor decisions since infancy.  His parents wanted to expose him to a wide variety of foods and that included broccoli.  As a toddler he would ‘sneak’ broccoli to the family dog instead of eating it himself.  This would result in the dog passing violent gas at night.  The dog preferred to sleep in Jared’s room.  Jared was 23 before he figured out the connection.

As quickly as the Dodge arrived it left.  The work truck and I caught but a fleeting glimpse of something truly unique in the world and I’m totally okay with not seeing it again.  Jared will arrive at work 15 minutes early thanks to his speediness, but isn’t allowed to clock-in until 5 minutes before the start of his shift.  Poor decisions.

 

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People on the Highway

I’m on a mini vacation this week, so there’s not a whole lot of driving going on.  This little detail hampers the whole concept of People on the Highway as I am not regularly seeing the highway.  I lucked out today with a much needed trip to the grocery store (the coffee is running low).  There’s a unique group of people one sees driving outside a grocery store at 3:00 on a Wednesday afternoon.

Today’s tale: Unfounded Fears

There’s a red SUV trying to fit into a parking spot it will never fit in, but the driver keeps the attempt going.  An older guy, he’s taking a spot near the front of the store and avoiding a long walk on this particularly toasty summer day.  I can’t blame.

I’m walking from my car to the store and watching the guy’s parking process.  It’s not going well.  Backing up, pulling in, backing up, pulling in; I pause my walk mostly due to my own trust issues.  I’m not entirely sure the driver can see me.  I can him though.

The driver’s name is Ed.  White hair rings his head, seat covers on the seats, and an Elk’s Club sticker on the passenger side window indicate Ed and I don’t have a ton in common, but I am fairly certain we share one similarity.  We’ve both believed some crazy stuff in our time.

Ed did four years worth of science fair projects on the dangers of quicksand when he was in high school.  He watched the moonlanding as a child and held his breath when Armstrong first step on the moon’s surface.  His heart raced a bit when he saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  He didn’t laugh when his grandkids showed him that giraffe and the stages of grief video on YouTube.  Quicksand was a very scary thing for him long ago.  Thanks to education and new fears like reverse mortgage scams, he’s pretty much over any actual fear of the very rare event, but part of him always thinks, “what if?”

So while I’m sitting here thinking, “what if the breaks fail and the car rolls into reverse for no apparent reason?” He’s in the air conditioned cab of his SUV that looks like every other SUV in its class and thinking, “what if the parking lot suddenly becomes quicksand?”

Basically the same thought.  Ed and I are essentially the same person.  I only wish that Ed felt a little more urgency in his parking.

 

 

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People on the Highway

I’m trying out a new path home from work.  As a semi-professional liar storyteller person, the new route is amazing.  It is peak Colorado front range.  I see cattle pastures, oil derricks, corn fields, industrial concrete recycling, small town schools, manufacturing plants that smell funny (likely because they are next to giant giant mounds of fresh fertilizer, but that is beside the point).  I see a new story setting every five minutes.  I am very much enjoying the new path.  Another thing it has going for it; very few other people on the road.

Consisting mostly of side roads, I don’t have to deal with too many Honda sedans with a texting driver at the wheel.  The standard situation for Honda sedans in Colorado at least.

Today, I had company on the commute and this is her story.

Today’s tale: Sunny

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People on the Highway

With the book promotion (free book right here!) going on, I thought perhaps now is time to get back into the series that started it all.  Ah, nostalgia.

I took a new job about six months ago.  No longer working from home, I have taken to a regular commute.  I’m only on the road for thirty to forty minutes in the morning, but rejoining the commuter lifestyle has been incredibly odd.  That is in part because I am on the road at 5:00 in the morning.

5am is a totally different beast than 7am.

Most notably, car accidents are different at 5am.

Today’s tale: Dude, where’s my bumper? Continue reading