I like being in cars. It is the fact that I’m going somewhere and there is something ahead waiting to be experienced. It’s the thrill of passing through places I do not know, seeing houses rush past. Sometimes I imagine people in those houses. Are they families, or are they young people living alone? What kind of lives do they lead? Do they listen to the same music that I listen to?
Other times I do not imagine people in those houses. I pass by in the car with a kind of self-centered detachment, fantasizing about my own future or, somewhat smugly, reliving moments that make me proud.
I like the fact that I’m in a limbo of sorts, an in-between space where I don’t have to worry about using my time wisely. I can become fully absorbed in a book – and enjoy the nausea that comes with that – or be lost in self-indulgent thoughts, and conversations that only exist withing the confines of my mind.
I’m safely inside a little moving box, protected from the elements by metal and glass. Spreading guilty carbon footprints that I will make up for one day, I promise. (I PROMISE I will make up for them)
Night is the most exciting time to travel by car. All the ugliness of the city is hidden by darkness. It keeps you guessing. Bright lights from lamp posts lead the way, but without fully illuminating the years of dirty chewing gum flattened into the pavement.
When I first listened to Siouxsie And The Banshees, I re-played their cover of The Passenger constantly because it was the only song I’d heard that reminded me of the thrill and chill of driving through a London lit by streetlamps. That is what the song meant to me. I’ve heard that the original singer, Iggy Pop, wrote it while riding the S-Bahn in Berlin, though. It’s wonderful that we can give songs our own meaning.
I suppose this is as much about loving the night as it is about being in cars.
I realise now that this love stems from a need for escapism. The absence of daylight hides everything that I associate with mundane, everyday life. Houses, bins, litter, concrete slabs… people. It seems to hold an endless array of possibilities. There is the illusion of time stopping for a while because I can’t see the light changing like I can in the day.
I like to travel in trains as well. There’s the same feeling of being headed somewhere, and not needing to do anything about it. You can sit back and think, free of the feeling that you are wasting time.
Nothing beats falling asleep on public transport. When I’m in a seat by the doors, I lean against the glass panel, and close my eyes. If I’m tired, I fall asleep quickly. It’s pretty cool because it usually takes me a while to fall asleep at home. But on the tube it’s instantaneous. Something about the noisiness and the motion and the lack of light in the tunnel. I think it’s a subconscious reminder of being in the womb?
Planes too. I like it when planes take off. I like speeding along the runway. And that moment the plane lifts into the air. Finally, we’re on our way. It’s much more exciting at night when I can look out of the window and see the lights of houses, and of traffic snaking far below. I think it’s that mixture of feeling connected and watching from a distance at the same time.
Being on any kind of transport is like being in a personal, moving, mental Temporary Autonomous Zone.
I cannot believe it is the last day of January already. I had meant to blog more, but I was ill in bed for a couple of days, and not well enough to write for a while after that. I’ve also been on holiday in Prague! Now, with regards to that, I have a confession to make. Right… So, do you remember I was doing Veganuary? That’s being vegan for the whole of January. Well, you need to know that Prague – well, the whole of the Czech Republic, really, is famous for beef goulash. It also happens to be famous for fried cheese in breadcrumbs. And a lot of other non-vegan foods. So I figured, fuck it. I wasn’t going to be in Prague again any time soon. I’d never tried Czech food before. This was my only chance. You’ll have to forgive me, but I had the most delicious goulash of my entire life. It came with Czech dumplings. Which were splendid dipped in the sauce. I also had fried cheese, a burger with sausage, and some beefy noodles. Oh yeah, and also cheese. And Kit Kat. I’m going to make it up by extending my veganism into February.
In other, more redeeming news, I’ve been doing yoga every day? It wasn’t a resolution. I just had a bad back one day so looked up a yoga video on Youtube, and somehow I’ve carried on doing it, every day, since then.
To adventure, to car rides, and to reluctant carnivorism!
Have a great evening!