Okay, so… it’s Julie‘s turn to ask a Friday Five question:
While thinking about what to introduce as a topic for this week’s Friday 5, i got stuck on two ideas: sex and cars. The first, because it’s such a huge part of human existence, as well as being something that everyone thinks about at least a few times per day. Cars are much the same way, in that there’s noone who’s never been in one at least, noone who has NOT been dependent on the gas-guzzling machines at some point in their lives.
And i think there’s something to my train of thought.
So I didn’t want to ask people to write about their 5 favorite sexual positions, or ask people who have maybe never even owned a car to describe their five favorite vehicles.
Instead, I want to know what your five best vehicular experiences have been. This encompasses every aspect of automotive existence, not just the sexual. :)
Oh. My. God.
Okay, well, let’s take a stab at this.
- Okay, well, it’s your fault, Julie. There was this time in the car… wait, no, I am not going into this in such a public space. But I will say that while Hondas are not optimal, skill and perseverance can pay off and tilt the scales into making it a… pleasureable experience nonetheless.
- There was that night I drove illegally from my college girlfriend’s house to my home. I had a learner’s license, which means it was illegal (in Canada) for me to drive alone) but it was also something like 4am and the route I took was not only deserted, but free from cops. Too bad my father caught me pulling up to the house. That pretty much ended my driving career in Canada, as I had no practice vehicle, so I adjusted and got used to not having a car and not driving. Though I would like to get a license sometime, to be honest. It would be handy. But anyway, the thrill of driving illegally, that was really something. God, I feel like a character out of a Belle & Sebastian song saying that… “Here I am feeling dangerous riding on city buses for a hobby it’s sad…”
- Drunken tomfoolery in the Montreal subway. Jessie and Jack and I got locked in. There’s a pic somewhere on my site that I took when I realized that, yes, we were trapped…. The funniest thing: we ended up having to share a cab because we’d missed the last train. We just didn’t know it because the negligent subway employee guy had gone to lock the second door from the outside, rather than the long way along the track, as he was supposed to. So we went in after the first door was locked, and he went round the outside and locked the second door behind us.
- I was about the mention the very sweet girl who talked with me in Korean all the way to Seoul last Valentine’s Day, but no, scratch that, I think that much better than that was my whole set of flights from Seoul to Delhi. I met a nice Japanese guy living in Hong Kong, and then a few physicists and an Indian travel agent living in Tokyo. It was an eyue opener, meeting all those people who live as foreigners wherever they are. They all seemed so cool and nice and easy to talk to. And then I realized, wait, I’m one of those people living something roughly like that too. That was nice. And did I mention that one of the physicists I met, an Indian fellow, lives in Los Alamos? He even spent time hanging around with the famous physicist Murray Gell-Mann. Hearing about the creative energies that he and his co-workers feed off from one another, and share as they live and work in a small town together, I could feel some of that creativity myself. It was exciting, and reminded me of why writers and artists so often befriend one another.
- The last one is difficult to type out again. I wrote an account of it, but it’s stuck on my laptop and I have no way to post it. So I’ll give you the shorthand: I got up to Dharamsala a few days ago in a big SUV-like vehicle. Now, it seats 6 including the driver, plus two sitting sideways (backs to the body of the truck) in the very back. I was one of the people, and the other was a gigantic man, looked like some kind of Himalayan gangsta rapper or something. Anyway, he turned out to be realy nice, quite generouswe shared our different musics, mine accidentally being Patsy Cline (to which he confusingly declared “Rock and Roll!”) and his was some knid of weird anglo-pop which, if it came from the Western world, came to Tibet at least 40 years ago. He also shared his wonderfully warm blanket with me, and together we adjusted ourselves leg-wise to make the trip as comfortable as possible. When we got to a dinner stop, I was scared to eat the food that looked a little, well, not fresh, so I hung out by the truck. He turned up a while before everyone else got back, and the conversation-with-a-foreigner began. You know the questions:
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
- Why are you traveling to Dharamsala?
Well, I asked him the same questions, not only to change the subject but out of genuine curiosity. And he told me the heart-wrenching story of his family, which basically is all in Nepal except himself and his sister… who had just died in the Delek (? something like that) hospital in Dharamsala proper. He was going to identify and claim her body. She had died, he told me, of tuberculosis, and I had to stifly my initial reaction, which is that it’s ridiculous anyone should have to die of that disease in this day and age. It’s true, but saying that to him would not do him any good. So we talked about her for a while, how she was 24, quiet, loved science and was a 3rd year science student in college. Somehow he seemed sad, but not shocked. I imagine maybe he knew it was coming. Anyway, I thought of that, of the shortness of life and the importance of following through, of thinking about others, ultimately of, as my friend John in Gurgaon beautifully put it, “making sure the people around you are eating”, that kind of thing. The man and I didn’t talk the rest of the way, except just saying bye to one another. I didn’t really know what to say, and he didn’t seem to want to talk (and slept most of the way). I didn’t sleep all the way, though; my thoughts, thoughts of who and what are important to me, spun around in my mind for hours and hours. It was as if I could see the shadow of his sister’s death on him, and it really made me think. I was awake when the sun came up, and I finally understood that line that the poet Rumi wrote, about how, what was it?
Some nights stay up till dawn,
as the moon sometimes does for the sun.
Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way
of a well, then lifted out into light.
Yeah, that verse ran though my mind, that night.
I am certain there are vehicular experiences I am forgetting… drunken salutation/cuss-recombination on the Seoul subway with the guys in the band… drunken train rides with the same… long ago in Korea, a bus ride with a very cute girl who wanted to hear my music but only took one headphone and sat oh so close so we could listen together… the fascinating conversation with a young Korean scientist who’d just returned from England where he’s been studying the archaeological uses of dating organic matter by examining mitochondrial DNA… the list could extend on, and I realize that Sun Hwa ‘s comment about me being very lucky in meeting nice people wherever I go is quite true… but right now I am paying for net time, and it’s freakin’ cold in here, and I still wanna post a short update, so I’ll end it here.
Links to the blogs of other Friday Fivers are under the dropdown menu to the right.