“Why won’t you talk to me?” I shrieked.
The sound seemed to bounce off the windshield and smack back into my face, because it gave me no satisfaction. Trees and the occasional car were nothing more than blurs from my peripheral vision as we zoomed down the country road. The children didn’t mind whatever argument was taking place in the front seat, as they had been loaded down with pretzels and were peacefully crunching away in the back seat.
Peacefully crunching. That’s what I should be doing on this drive. I scowled forward, not wanting to look at my antagonist next to me. I took a moment to acknowledge that maybe…maybe…my anger was a bit unreasonable. Maybe something else was eating at me.
I rubbed my auditory canal, feeling almost a moment of pressure relief, but only a moment. Based on the growing sensation of pressure behind my right ear thanks to a head cold in the middle of not head cold season, I anticipated my ear would pop off at any moment like a champagne cork. Mucus would then coat the window, and I could screw my ear back on with a great sigh of relief.
Any minute now. I tapped my fingernails irritably against the steering wheel. Head congestion has a way of altering our perception of the world, which just goes to show how easy it is to alter our perspectives. Everything feels a little different when you are walking in a cloud. The loss of quality hearing results in a greater awareness of all that there is to be heard. The body becomes ultra-sensitized, and depending on if pain is involved, irritable.
We are emotionally fragile creatures wondering around this world, if we don’t make an effort to check that emotional intensity at the door, and put on something a little more sage-like. Some days are for sagely advice. And then there was today.
I scanned the road ahead of me. Rapidly we were driving away from familiarity and into foreign territory. Country roads twisted up ahead, with many turn-offs waiting to be picked, almost begging to be picked. Pick me! Pick me! Nobody ever drives down me! The roads were arguing. I was arguing.
“How am I supposed to know where to turn if you won’t talk to me? It is ridiculous that I need to stare at a map while driving just because you are in a taciturn mood!” I shouted it loud and clear, but again I got that annoying, childish silent treatment.
“Fine! I will just take care of this myself. I’ve got a great sense of direction! I have a built-in compass. I can get us there! I don’t need you.” I scanned the roads ahead, and then a name brought forward an inkling of a memory. I followed it. With confidence I proceeded on beneath a blue sky so brilliant, and a cloud pile up that was so wonderfully the opposite of the complete lack of traffic on the road beneath. It was just my vehicle, and those clouds.
The roads had hushed all that jibber-jabbering they had been doing. There was no more pick me nonsense. I drove with confidence—I knew where I was going—directions be damned. A few more miles of pine tree upon pine tree upon pine tree, mixed in with a scattering of palmettos and lots of road-side grass growing knee-high, and I reached town. Slowly I pulled into the foreign driveway with the sought after house number written on the mailbox.
“You have arrived at your destination,” the GPS suddenly—finally—spoke loud and clear from my phone on the empty passenger seat.
I squinted my eyes threateningly in its direction.