You know, like Kerouac, but completely different #5

I’m not sure where I was supposed to go with these posts, to be honest with you. After being on the road for a better half of a month, and having written four previous posts that started with ‘holy shit, the south is kind of scary but mariachi music is cool,’ to ‘get your protest pants on, my friends, because it’s about to go down,’ I really have no idea how to end this series.

From my viewpoint, and maybe this is a bit cynical, but the nation isn’t much different from coast to coast and everywhere in between. People are motivated by self-interest, and that isn’t a discriminatory quality, it hits everyone, and it can hit pretty hard. Luckily, the nation has some awfully cool things to look at that helps divert your attention from the masses of people you probably would rather not talk to.

There are, however, pockets of pleasant people among the states. This woman in a gas station off the interstate in Northern Texas stuck out to me. She felt so terrible when she noticed she almost charged me an extra 30 cents for some energy drink. An inconsequential amount really, like its 30 cents, but seeing such sincerity over a beverage was refreshing.

Another instance of this rare phenomenon known as pleasantness was a story I was told just the other day by a friend of mine. His roommates saw a dresser on the side of the road, presumably for disposal or donation. They stopped and asked the guy if they could stash it in the nearby bushes until they could get a larger vehicle to take it home. The dresser peddler responded by telling them they could just take his truck with the trailer still attached. Two kids that he most likely had never seen or spoken a word to in his entire life, and he just gave them his truck for convenience sake, or maybe he just didn’t want shit in his bushes. Regardless, not a worry in the world.

I guess that’s where I’m going. As a naturally pessimistic person I notice the negative and the pejorative, I notice what I perceive as to be real life. I look into the sadness before I notice the glaringly positive attributes. But no matter where it is you may find yourself, there will always the good hidden somewhere among the troves of dicks tailing your ass on the highway who somehow don’t notice there is an open lane directly to their left. And amidst the ever-upward-growing crap pile that is political agendas, selfishness, and everything else that is causing us to grow more and more divided as a nation, there will always be a cool guy somewhere just waiting to lend out his truck.

Kerouac was right to romanticize the open road. It’s soothing, terrifying, depressing, and a thought provoking paved entity. It causes you to dig deep and eradicate every toxic thought of unimportance that exists behind you and focus on what’s ahead.

As my last note in this series, I recommend getting in your car and just go drive without a destination once in your life. Do it before life tethers you down for some reason, you’ll gain a new perspective on everything, and that’s what everyone needs now and again. BUT, having done this east-to-west-coast-and-back-east-again-drive, with all the good and bad that I’ve experienced first hand… a seat on an airline sounds nice. But where’s the fun in that?


Ian Cosgrove was on a month-long, cross-country road trip. This may be the end of this short series, but look out for his future pieces here on Hell of a Thing, whatever they may be.


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