Sunday night I was forced

Aug 23 2001 Kelly Norton
Sunday night I was forced to make an early morning run south to Cordele. In the early morning, the air is different. It sticks. It sticks mostly to the windshield, but it will come in if you dare open the windows at 4am on a Georgia interstate. This is the type of air that makes freshly washed tee shirts feel like sweaty rags worn for days of wild sweats. And despite its soggy nature, this air is cold. Well, not exactly cold, more bitter than cold, it's chilly. But when you're pushing 30 hours of sleeplessness, listening to Coast to Coast without Art Bell, surrounded on all sides by large beaming semis filled with all sorts of frozen and bundled nothingness, one has to crack a window just to stay awake. You have to make that small sacrifice to the night, because your world, the world of rolled-up windows and climate controlled, noise dampened cockpits does not exist at 4am on a Georgia Interstate. Most of the time I just pretend; I pretend that I am old Dean Moriatry riding bare chest across America's amber waves with Marylou at my side and old Sal smiling sheepishly at the night wanting to howl as I do, a throatpierced sound in the night, but holding back because the night is too quiet with the car on silent uncranked idle cruising down the hills so seldom found in Georgia searching for whatever that zag might cross and praising the imperative to GO. And that's what the night air will do to you; it will make of you the last remaining romantic afloat in a natural derangement of the senses and saturated in the damp mixture of America dreaming.

I even passed a wreck on the way down, one with no injuries, just a mangled Nissan Maxima with all its doors flung wide and all its former inhabitants propped on the nearby railing. The smell of overheated rubber was lodged in the air, and a single shoe sat upright in the middle lane. A long string of flashing red tail lamps testified to the number of witnesses on the scene, and I kept moving.