I’m driving my car, my one and only car. It’s a 1966 Mustang convertible, silvery-blue, and looks a lot like this. The top’s down and the radio’s on – since it’s the original radio, it only gets AM, so it’s on an oldies station, to go with the car.
If you’ve never been lucky enough to drive a convertible, you may be under the impression that the driver’s long blonde hair blows romantically back from her face, in the manner of Grace Kelly in “To Catch a Thief”, in the well-known sequence presaging her untimely death as she careens around the Grande Corniche in a Sunbeam Alpine. Since life is seldom, if ever, like the movies, what actually happens is that your long blonde hair blows into your eyes, making your driving Grace Kelly hazardous. This was quite a disappointment to me, since having your hair in a ponytail or hidden under a baseball cap just doesn’t have the same allure.
There’s no traffic on the road, and it’s smooth, as if it had just been paved. The sky is that deep California blue. I’ve never seen that color anywhere else, just like I’ve never seen anywhere else like California. Does anywhere else have oceans, deserts, mountains, all in one place? Drive a couple of hours from San Francisco, and there’s snow. Drive a few hours south, and it’s warm enough to swim. And there’s nowhere like San Francisco. Or Hollywood.
After a while, I realize I’ve been driving more or less on auto pilot, not really noticing my surroundings. When I do, I realize that it’s dark – I’m deep in a forest – and the road is a lot rougher. It’s gotten cold, too. I’m chilled, but too nervous to stop and put the top up. I’ll stop soon.
But I don’t. I can’t. I just keep driving.
I’ve become frightened, feeling alone. I am alone. And I’m not out of the woods yet.
The road isn’t a freeway now. It’s not even a two lane highway. It’s a dirt road. Soon, the dirt road gives way to a track. I can’t drive down the track, so I get out and walk. It’s a long walk, especially in the dark. Eventually, the track ends, too. I stand in a clearing, looking around. I think, “Now what?”