$20=300 Miles

December 17, 2008

I stepped out into the dark. I was expecting it to be icy, but it wasn’t. Mid-December has always been weird for me. In high school around that time, my crush didn’t say hi to me one day. I was crushed. That same day is my best friend’s birthday. It’s funny, I didn’t think about it ’til now, but it’s his birthday, not the day some silly crush didn’t greet me.

It’s also within weeks of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It’s cold and dark, but it isn’t quite winter, yet. But, I still went out at 7pm, as if it were early fall. I had my music with me, I had a mission to get coffee. At 7pm.

I get to the mall and it’s much more crowded than usual. I still can’t believe it’s the shopping season, and 2008 is almost over. It isn’t depressing or exciting, it just is. I come up with a stupid rhyme – Every year is faster/it is such a disaster. While I’m there, I price shop for some gifts. Turns out this one DVD is cheapest at Target – no surprise there. I continue to search – it’s only a week away, but I still don’t know what I want for Christmas. Ideas strike me, but I don’t want things. I want my family around a dinner table.

I leave the mall. The headquarters of greed finally gets to me and I’m discouraged. They don’t have the one classic movie I’d consider getting. I look at the time – it’s only 9pm. If I head home now, my parents will still be up. Not that I don’t want to see them – afterall, I want to see them around the dinner table. I just went out and want to stay out. Burn gas. I go to Blockbuster and look for movies they have. My goodness, they DO have that one other movie I still haven’t seen. And, I overhear one of the workers say he wants to write movies and he has this story about vampires – which are currently overdone at the moment.

I get two movies, taking advantage of their special offer, after the entire day I was telling myself two-for-one isn’t that special of an offer. I spend my last pennies to get them – or so it seems.

I continue the journey – it’s still only 9:30. I think about how the worker wants to work in the movie business. I think about how I do too, and how much my stories have changed since being 18 or 19. I think about this as I go out to the other big town around here. Maybe that store has that movie. They don’t. They have that CD I’d consider getting, but they don’t have it. They just don’t. So, I leave. Disappointed. What a waste of gas, what a waste of time.

I drive back, and notice my gas is low. On the way there, I saw a few gas stations with lower gas prices than usual. I decide to take advantage of it and take the long way around. I reach my goal, one that I haven’t read on my odometer in a while – 300 miles on one tank of gas. If I wanted, I could go to the Eerie Film Festival in Pennsylvania, without filling up. But then, I’d have to get home…

I find the gas price I want. I have those two movies I rented, one that I’ve been meaning to see for a while. I flip through radio stations, and listen to one of the many personal tales on NPR – hence the style of this entry. I get home and listen to a good five minutes in my dad’s garage. Car off, radio on. Battery off. Another minor tragedy told on the radio by any person with a good voice, not the writer. I think about how disappointing that must have been. I turn the car off, and step outside of the garage.

It’s the middle of December. I still don’t have my Christmas shopping done. But, I swear I can see. With that light snow cover everywhere, reflect house lights as the clouds scattering moon beams. I can see, and it’s the middle of December at 10:30 at night. The sun’s been down for six hours, and I can see. And I think about how pretty and peaceful it is. And what a strange journey the night has been, and my life has been. I sigh, and I smile.

I’m grounded to earth, but sometimes that’s even more exciting that staring at the stars.


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