- ABOUT US
Megan Rossman, Associate Editor
Photo by JOHN JERNIGAN
I Ride and I Ride
By Megan Rossman
February 28, 2013
Like most Americans, I’ve spent a lot of time riding in cars: from Los Angeles to Seattle, Salt Lake City to Denver, Oklahoma City to Austin, over the Mississippi, through mountain passageways, from home to Homeland. I’ve always enjoyed an opportunity to see the world from a moving vehicle, getting out to inspect the highlights and whisking through the boring stretches.
This week Steffie and I made the two-hour journey down to Altus. She drove and I rode (my driving makes her car sick). As we passed into southwestern Oklahoma, ancient bouldered mountains emerged from the endless horizontal plain, like alien formations dropped randomly from space. Rickety barns and grazing cows shared winter-muted fields with skeleton trees and rusty farm equipment. There were trucks, lots of them. Birds circled above, coasting along the rising heat.
We passed it all in Steffie’s Toyota, and I watched from the window.
In the road of life, there are passengers and there are drivers, as the Volkswagen slogan goes.
I am a passenger.
I drive when I need to. I happily speed down empty, inviting rural roads, but more often I navigate congested city streets, growling curses that sometimes appall even myself. Physically, I’m in the driver seat more frequently than any other, but in my heart of hearts, I’m sitting in front of the glove box. I’m also eating a McFlurry.
When it comes down to it, I just like to sit back and watch it all go by. That may sound like brochure copy for a Carnival Cruise, but it’s true. I am a window-seat person. Feel free to take the wheel. There is something freeing about relinquishing control of your trajectory and leaning your head against the glass as the landscape passes by at seventy-five miles an hour.
Some German auto manufacturers would imply that attitude is passive, maybe a little weak. Passengers don’t care. We accept our spectator role. We observe in a way that attentive drivers cannot, quietly and contentedly bearing witness to the beautiful blur we pass, dangling one hand out the window, until we arrive at our destinations.