You see them in a slow motion supercut in and Indie Film. Or maybe in a blurry, out of focus shot in a music video for some alternative song. They’re filmed with some form of magic and you watch them thinking, “This is totally not how it happens.”
I’m here to say it is.
I drive everyday out of the city and up a mountain after long days in an empty office designed to make me feel like I’m wasting my time. (For the most part, I am, but I like to blame the office for it). Some days are unbelievably long. They feel like eternities squeezed into five or six hours. Sometimes, I wish I could be my phone and just power down when I’m out of energy.
This is real life and phones are just machines.
I deal with people that sometimes shouldn’t be allowed to speak, wishing there was a universal remote controller that would give me the power to just mute the world.
But there are night drives.
I live in a little country with way too many people, which means on a regular basis, there’s traffic. A shit ton of it. Just a lot of traffic. All the time. Anywhere.
Except at night.
So I turn the car on, steer it out of the parking spot. I feel it vibrate under my hands as I start to press that gas pedal. It moves out into the streets. I watch the asphalt bathe in that warm yellow glow of old sodium lamps. I let that idiot who’s driving way too fast cross me. There’s no need to rush. Slowly, I roll the window down and let the night in.
I pick a song. Usually it’s anything by Gregory Alan Isakov. The music builds until it can’t be contained by my poor cars speakers. It doesn’t matter how fancy the car is. It’s just a tin can and music is so much more.
I feel the wind shift and see the colours come back. I move through pretty empty roads and watch the trees make way for me. The thick curtain of fog drapes over me, and with the window down, it sifts through me.
I feel my thoughts clear as the wind cools. It’s like the drop in temperature awakens my body and numbs my mind. Any weight that had been lingering on my shoulders slowly dissolves, not because I’m relaxed, but because it knows it can’t stand a chance when I’m in motion.
It’s like riding a bike. You fall if you stop pedaling.
Well, I won’t stop driving because I’m untouchable.
Here I am completely free . The only harm that can come to me is bodily damage. Nothing compares to this. Nothing equals that feeling of complete eerie calm that comes as you let a ton of metal propel you faster than your thoughts or problems.
Maybe it isn’t like the movies. It isn’t a picture perfect montage of soft focus slow shots. The drive is a collection of bright lights on a dark street, blinding you when your eyes haven’t adjusted and jolting you of your daydream.
It’s less a quiet fade from purple to black. More of yellow on black with the sound of the wind roaring in your ears and the occasional zip of a car as it takes over.
Are night drives like the movie? No, not really, but like most things, the real thing is better.