Five lanes, and no one is moving. Four o’clock on the interstate seems to be a witching hour that exposes the soul of the city. In this city of Angels, everyone seems like a demon.
My sweaty palms slip off the steering wheel and rest on my knees. The car in front lurches forward, and a minivan cuts in before I could move. I stopped caring about getting cut off a while ago, and now stare at the dusty car in front of me with an apathetic eye. Somewhere down the line, I hear a loud honk.
This road was a portrait of America. A road full of people, packed into their individual compartments, tugged along by one promise or another. All of them chasing a dream of being home, of being anywhere else but here. I suppose it goes to show that when everyone races for their dreams, they only share the nightmare of a gridlock. Everyone was coming from somewhere different. Office dwellers getting off from their 9 to 5, racing home to a cold dinner and an 8 hour nap before returning to their suit and tie cage. Minivans with kids in the back, exhausted from some after-school practice. Truckers sedated by the everlasting spirit of the road. Here, people were coming back from building their dreams.
The American dream is a road. It promises to take you somewhere, but everywhere you look, you find only the dismayed stares of the transient. We cling to this promise like rubber clings to asphalt on a summer day in Los Angeles. We insist that it’s ours, and lay claim to it like we do to the strip of black between the dotted white lines. But so often, we forget that the road is a force. The road is a flow that we are subjects to; no more kings of this road than moths are of the wind.
And so in these listless eyes, I see myself. In their seething anger, their shifty suspicions, in their desolate desperation.
We leave the day behind with the promise that night will bring solace. But the smog from our cars keep the stars from shining each night. Traffic is a moment of hope, in which hundreds of city-dwellers unify for one drive. Banding together for the practice of individuality, we find ourselves living this narrow contradiction.
Someone moves a few inches. Someone honks. God.Damn.Indeed.