Well I took my first serious drive in the wake of our crash over these past two days. I've driven around town and stuff, but not this kind of driving. I left Nashville yesterday morning, and am in Amarillo tonight. Tomorrow morning I head to where my first solo tour show is - New Mexico. This is a lot of driving for someone who is suddenly paralyzed with fear on the road! When can I be Fleetwood Mac and just fly everywhere? Everything is different now. It's hard to believe that during all the time before, I just....assumed I was going to stay on the road and not be subject to death or serious injury at any moment. Like traveling in a mobile metal projectile on wheels at 75 MPH for 8-10 hours straight doesn't lend itself to odds that something crazy might happen. What are the chances? I'm doing the best I can to believe that rubber tires can actually achieve traction on a concrete road - even when going around a bend - but it's not automatic like it used to be. Especially in Oklahoma. It's always noteworthy how sudden your surroundings change when you enter one state from another. As soon as you enter New Mexico from Texas, for instance, you see vague plant life in the desert, a different hue in the land, a different sound in the wind. Enter Colorado from New Mexico - suddenly there are more trees, mountains, it's greener. And as soon as you pass by the "Oklahoma - Discover The Excellence!" sign, you spend the next 4 hours fending off death from some of the most unbearable highway in America. Then you hit Texas, it's suddenly smooth again. Right now it's even worse, because the whole of Okie's I-40 is under construction (I guess Tom Coburn decided to use that money after all).
Construction or not, though, I feel like Luke Skywalker when he's barreling down the Death Star corridor - needing to do what he needs to do and get the hell out (in his case blow up the Death Star and save the universe) - every time I pass a semi. You just never know, you try to get by them as quickly as you can, and occasionally they still flash their blinkers when you're about halfway up on them. Word - do they see me, are they blinking in anticipation, or are they about to go? I've had them start going on me in my little Volvo a couple of times over the years, and have to fend them off with the horn. Passing, I mean, not hanging out in their blind spot. But it's too terrifying, especially the part at the end when the air pocket sucks you up for that millisecond, and all you can do is ease through it and pray. No fun.
Relaxed driving used to be second nature to me, now it's going to take some time, I guess.
In short, the road used to feel something like this to me:
Now it's more like this:
The tie fighters are the semis. The semis, and those IQ 25'ers who slow down from 105 mph to tail you from two feet behind, because they want you to move. Even if the 4 cars in both lanes in front of you are going kinda slow, too (or if you're actually in the freakin' slow lane already). I swear, it's all I can do sometimes not to hit my brakes so they can slam into me and I can take their money.
That last line is a joke. I wouldn't do that, I'm just especially sensitive with aggressive drivers these days, knowing how easy it is for something terribly minor to go wrong, resulting in things very major. People should remember the immense mass, weight, and kinetic force of what they so callously weave and twist - sometimes push - throughout those lanes with. You ever accidentally bump a pole or something while backing into a parking spot? That's going at 3 MPH. Imagine swiping someone at 80.
Anyway, I'll get over it. It's part of the gig, I have to. And people think being a musician is all about making music...