Had about 100 miles of this heading down Hwy 550. Fortunately, there wasn’t much traffic—that school bus in front of me for a long time, a few other cars. At one crossroads there were two big dogs cavorting around having fun. The road got better south of Cuba and I drove along fine.
But then I made a mistake. I was heading south on I-25, and decided that I wanted to drive by the Trinity Site, more or less, so I headed east on 380 through the desert—and, yeah, the Trinity site was off there somewhere in the vastness, so that was cool. And I headed on east. But then the road past Carrizozo climbed up into the mountains. And there was fucking snow up in the mountains! And the sun went down and it was nighttime. Yikes!
So I drove on over the mountains in a snowstorm in the dark. I had a cassette of Prince’s Purple Rain playing, and I listened to it over and over, a steady nice rhythm as the wipers thudded across the windshield. I remember anticipating how stupid I would feel back at the bar explaining how I ended up in a goddamn ditch or worse—and that anticipation of shame kept me alert. Shame kept me alive!
And I did make it down out of the mountains to Roswell, where I got a motel and crashed hard.
I was driving the cab in those days, and I had a day shift beginning at 400am. So I made my way carefully downtown, and got my first ride at the (then) Marriott, taking a guy to the airport. On the way back from the airport I saw a Cadillac all up askew in the middle of someone’s yard, and a guy standing beside the car. He flagged me down.
“I ran off the road!” he said. “Can you give me a ride?”
“Sure,” I said.
The guy went back to the Caddy and pulled out a shotgun, a woman’s purse, and a 12-pack of Budweiser.
I guess I was looking at him somewhat skeptically.
“It’s my mother’s purse,” the guy explained.
I guess that made sense. We drove somewhere or other.
The guy asked me, “How come you’re not running off the road like everybody else?”
“Because I’m driving 15 miles an hour,” I said.
I was the only cab in central Austin for most of the day. You’d think I would’ve made a lot of money, right? But I didn’t, really. Because I could only drive 15 fucking miles an hour, and every trip took forever.
We are under a winter storm warning this weekend. Ice! Snow! Cold! I have an appointment to get my covid vaccine Tuesday, and, if I have to, I will endure more treacherous driving to not die. The rest of y’all need to stay home.