Longing for the Road

Yesterday, I wrote that I planned to take a risk with this blog and make the strongest arguments I could in opposition to raising the minimum wage. And I will. But not today, even though that’s what I intended to do. I will not be compelled by a misplaced sense of self-imposed obligation to do what I said I would do. Instead, today, I will write what’s on my mind.

I am restless. I want to go exploring; not just up the road to see what’s new in a nearby town, but across state lines. I can imagine myself driving into the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona, where in the right places desolation is an art form. I might find a tidy little motel where I could rent a room for the night. I might learn that the place serves as home to a few old souls satisfied to come together for companionship and to watch the sun set against scrub and sage brush; and I might discover a kinship with these gypsies whose most prized possession is the knowledge that there’s nothing tying them to the place that can’t be untied on a whim, in a moment’s notice.

I’d like to get in the car and go east, wandering the blue highways of Mississippi, crossing southeast through Alabama and into Florida. I envision myself skirting the coast in search of tiny, out-of-the-way restaurants where I could find fresh seafood and enjoy a meal in the open air within a stone’s throw of the water. The proprietors of one of the seafood shacks I stumble on could be a crusty old couple who pried themselves away from dead-end administrative jobs in small-town Nebraska and went in search of a place to retire. But when they came upon this out-of-the-way and hard-to-reach place on the beach in northwest Florida, they used their meager retirement savings to buy it. They, too, could walk away from it if the mood struck them; they could scrape by on Social Security and freedom from obligation.

I value my comfort and the relative safety of bank accounts and a roof over my head, but some days I want a little discomfort and danger and the opportunities afforded by the absence of obligation. There’s nothing in particular that prompted this sense of wanting to get away from everything that ties me to where I am. I suppose part of it is knowing I don’t have the freedom to just get up and go without planning the “escape.”  I’ll get over it. It will just take some time. Maybe a trip—planned out in advance with all the requisite reservations and knowing the destination—will do it; no, that’s probably not it.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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