Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Car, A Truck and Two Books

I had two near-misses in my car on my way home from work last night. The first happened just a few minutes after leaving work.

I was cruising east down Old Keene Mill Road in Springfield. It's a major 4 lane road for the area and the road widens to even more lanes as you get close to the highway ramps. Once I hit the section where things widen the little compact Honda in the lane next to me decided it wanted to merge its rear end with my front end. I tapped my horn and the driver did what I probably would have done----floored it and then zipped into the lane right in front of me.

The 2nd happened about an hour later; I was zooming north on I-95 and passing the exit for Columbia, Md. In this case I was in the 2nd right-hand lane and a truck was merging onto the highway from the access ramp. The trouble occurred when the truck kept on moving into my lane. If I hadn't slammed on my brakes he would have knocked my poor little Mazda Protege right off the road.

I didn't get mad either time; I know these drivers didn't do on purpose, they just didn't see me. But the experience dropped a story idea into my head. In kind of a Twilight Zone meets Kafka kind of thing, I imagined a main character who, all of sudden, no one ever notices. He doesn't become invisible or ghostly----people just stop noticing him. How that would shape, and probably destroy, his life? It will probably be some time before I get to this one but I think it has some real creepy possibilities.

Completely unrelated, but before all this traffic madness happened I stopped by a bookstore to pick up the new Thomas Pynchon novel, Inherent Vice. While it was a little strange that I got the only copy they had in the store, at least the results where better than when his last novel came out and I couldn't find a store in a 15 mile radius that even had it on order. The cover looks like a lost Jimmy Buffet album, but based on the description it sounds like it will be a fun romp through the 1960's.


I also picked up a copy of Don Quixote that I found on the store's discount table. I've been meaning to read it for a long time and for some reason it's been coming up in conversation a lot lately. Late this month Miss L and I are taking a trip up to Alaska, so I think these will be the two books---along with the most recent issues of Gargoyle and McSweeney's---- I'll pack to keep me occupied on the plane and boat.


No comments: