Finding X

(A true tale of the poet’s very recent adventures and misadventures)

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Recorded Reading: https://www.dropbox.com/s/nub20vz7djr8nm6/finding%20x.mp3?dl=0

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Finding X

It will not go on record as one of this poet’s more sanguine moments.

To appreciate her predicament it is necessary to note that she’d taken off on this run earlier than planned ~ so while her engine had been, thank heaven, working admirably under all conditions ranging from hundred-degree sea-level stop and go forevers to sudden speeding Mack-truck  requirements for acceleration while moving uphill at 5000 feet, there were one or two general repairs to her van pending.

It’s germaine also that the run was being taken under pressure and under pursuit ~ not pursuit of the law, fortunately, but of something potentially even scarier ~ and, for the record, due to absolutely no fault or shortcoming of her own.

But misunderstandings do happen, sometimes big, complicated ones which need time and room to resolve. And so do car repairs happen ~ which need exactly the opposite and had better be dealt with at close quarters, and in an immediate fashion.

… Which a thing or two about this poet’s van had not ~ been dealt with, that is ~ one being the sudden complete lack of turn signals occasioned upon what had borne all the symptoms of a recent low grade EMP attack which simultaneously sounded the van’s horn endlessly and without control, permanently activated its wipers with or without engine connection, and wiped out both separately sealed rear light modules, while at the same moment reactivating a formerly dead rear center brake light.

…Also on the neglected repairs shortlist was that one sun-damaged rear tire, which had even seemed to be holding air a trifle better of late than of yore…

Well.

It wasn’t even the damaged sidewall that gave out, either ~ so that was good. When I pulled over on that windy freeway thirty miles outside of Las Vegas to take a look, two three little-ish strips of tread were coming up instead.

… That I could see while standing still.

Okay, one of them was more, like, medium sized-ish than little-ish, if I was honest with myself.

Sheesh.

I took stock.

No such thing for me as roadside assistance any more, either. Nearly a year of constant petty vandalism had taken care of that.

I was looking at paying full price for a tow, as a solo female, into an unfamiliar city ~ doubtless to the driver’s cousin’s dealership in brand-new tires, where I’d be told it was dangerous not to replace the other three as well.

Um, not if it can be helped, I thought.

Back in I climbed, activated my flashers (fortunately still functional) and ~ waving my arm out the side window in the signaling manner required by law but which nobody ever understands any more and swishes by you honking and hating on you anyway ~ exited that shoulder for…

… One. Hairy. Ride.

Now, the poet doesn’t want to date herself here (although at this stage of life she herself is the only person she has left to date, ha ha), but her most recent stint as a driver was at this time thirty-odd years of shaven-headed, bipedally pedestrian inner contemplation behind her.

Don’t know if anyone remembers, but, back then, most cities had only two freeways ~ one going east-west, and one north-south ~ right?

Their exchanges could be accessed simply by turning onto gradually larger and larger boulevards until one came to a prominently-placed sign which stood out to any driver’s gaze, there existing then about one hundredth of the signs which compete for our mandatory attention now ~ mandatory as in, “I don’t know what your problem is, lady, it’s posted real clearly on that sign right there (pointing to a veritable thicket of standing placards, notifications, cautionary notices and desperate pleas for the tourist dollar).

On those (formerly) prominently and appropriately placed signs appeared the freeway’s number, its direction, and its next major city of destination ~ which, if very large indeed, might contain all of one or two additional freeways.

Into the on-ramp just beyond that nice clear sign we hopped ~ took about thirty seconds, even when everyone did it at a safe and considerate rate of speed ~ and ~ we all knew where we were!

Um, things sure have changed, haven’t they?

Yes.

So, we’re coming into the city of Las Vegas with the poet now, encountering her very first really big modern five-mile long tangle of poorly-signed loops, exits, detours, left ramps, right ramps and general utter unmitigated mayhem ~ to find all of it being negotiated at speeds upward of 70 very impatient miles an hour, while going at about half that speed ourselves, as well as continually needing to change lanes on very short notice and almost always to the right.

… Where oncoming drivers can’t even see the arm desperately waving outside this driver’s window, much less attempt any interpretation of it.

Well, I’m here writing to you about it, so I didn’t die. Amazingly, neither did anyone else.

Now, the challenge was to get the van to the right tire shop. A tow is a tow, even if it starts half a mile from your destination where you brought it to a halt to ask for directions, to follow which you will have to execute delicate turning and merging maneuvers in heavy traffic (3:45 pm).

The poorer margins of surrounding residential areas were no doubt full of these ehops, but without a GPS device and with an unknown but certainly rapidly decreasing number of viable miles remaining in that tire, it’s a sinch something much nearer by and simpler of access should be sought.

I needed the right street.

Now, while my driving skills were still under rehabilitation after those decades of vehicular abstinence, these two feet had in that interim indeed walked me into, around and through quite a variety of urban centers. In this arena I could claim a little wisdom and insight ~ hopefully adding up to practical application in this moment as actual life skill.

These streets we were passing now, with names like “Business Park Drive”* and “Micron Avenue” ~ big business with miles of wasteland in between.

Then these: “Oxford Place” and “Terrace Circle” ~ High-end residential.

These: “Sunnyside Parkway,” “Mellowdale Forest River Meadow Way” ~ Middle class.

Ah ~ getting closer! “Jefferson”… “Lincoln”… “MLK!” Getting really close now…

Here we go ~ “Chavez.” Got to be near here.

And it was ~ about half a mile, in a straight line.

We made it.

Of course, the following hounds of Hell are just getting off the phone with the family who owns that shop as we pull up. This pursuing team has standard lines for every demographic to which I might have cause to reach out ~ these, being both Hispanic and merchants, were probably told I was a bad mother, bad tenant and thief.

But brown skinned people don’t take what their screens squawk at them with the blanket credulity routinely displayed by their Caucasian counterparts. That’s just true. They tend to take a pause, and look into your eyes to see what they find there in that actual timeless moment.

And what they found in this poet’s eyes ~ unlike many future gas station attendants, shopkeepers and even some customers over the four states she drove through on that run, these ~ her road dirt, panic sweat, intense expression and pressured voice notwithstanding ~ saw was what was really there.

They gave her a beautiful tire, at a very fair price.

She’d found “X.”

She was on her way.

* The poet being way too distracted at the time of these events to be able to remember the real street names involved now, those included in this poem are merely representational.

*****

Among us, poets are ill paid. In order to continue her work, this one currently lives in her minivan, on an income of a fraction of our nation’s poverty level. If her work has moved, enabled or uplifted you, your contribution to this effort may be made at: https://www.gofundme.com/kx4xka-are-you-a-patron-of-the-arts

*****

Published by Ana Daksina

Read worldwide half a million times, Ana Daksina is a Troubador of the coming age.

8 thoughts on “Finding X

  1. What an adventure, and also a heavy challenge. But well solved, Ana! Since street traffic has increased so much over the last few years and it also seems very old people want to drive themselves to the graveyard, here i myself only using public transportation. 😉 xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did that for so long, but it’s better, when one is speaking an entirely different language than those around one, to be able to maintain a dignified public silence and allow ones written offerings to speak for them. An enormous relief to me right now.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was indeed limp with relief!

      This incident happened near the beginning of a whole long trip full of nightmare experiences, but at least I wasn’t stuck in a standing position on a lonely freeway waiting for them.

      This pursuit team did try to engineer that very situation on the way back, though, when they forced an animal to run out in front of my van.

      I’m so ready for this whole experience to be over, so that I can stop making my readers sad. I think the parties involved must not be able to admit to their mistakes and, not knowing the meaning of forgiveness themselves, cannot extend it to me.

      Oh, now you’ve made an encouraging comment and I’ve been a bummer, and it is my turn to apologize ~ though I’m sure I could never do it as prettily as you do! 👩‍❤️‍👩

      Like

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