Monday, December 19, 2011

Riding in Cars

I love to drive, especially if I’m on a summer trip heading to some beautiful place in the Northwest.  Though I go with a group, I'm generally driving alone when I do these long trips so I like to set myself up in my own little comfy world.  I'll have a cooler for some water and sandwiches, tasty snacks and plenty of good music on my IPod.  Of course, once I discovered the joy of listening to audio books while driving, I quickly became addicted. 
There were, however, a few lessons learned along the way.

The first lesson came while I was driving home from Montana on a particularly fast curvy section of I-90, just before the Columbia River.  Near the end of the book I was listening to, the mother dies.  Most friends know that I cry easily at movies, so it should come as no surprise that tears were streaming down my face.  This made it somewhat difficult to see the road.  Not a good thing but I survived.  

At a rest stop, I put in the next book.  I was already eight and a half hours into the ten hour trip home and I was a bit tired.  How was I to know that shortly into the book, a couple would be having an intimate encounter for a chapter and a half?  Apparently I must have gotten a little into it because the next thing I knew I was doing 90 mph over a mountain pass.  Again, not a good thing.  At least I noticed before anyone else did.  Can you imagine trying to explain to a trooper that my excessive speed was the fault of my audio book’s intense sex scene?  Oh my!

My last lesson came one December when I listened to The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.   Dark is how I would describe that book.  Even the ending is strange and sinister.  I had enjoyed and even liked his other book, The Shadow of the Wind.  It was also somewhat dark but at least it ended with a bit of hope.  Winter here is dark enough.  Listening to this coming into the holidays was just way too bleak and gloomy for me. 

I was a little slow but I finally learned that I’m very affected by what I listen to when I drive.  I know not to choose books that are really dark, where the mother dies and where there are detailed sex scenes.  Or, if listening to the latter type, at least I know to watch my speed and close my windows if I'm stopped at a streetlight....

One "perfect for the car" book I’ve listened to is The Splendor of Silence by Indu Sundaresan.  The setting is early 1940’s India and, though the story is a bit of a stretch at times, it caught my imagination.  It is true that I have rightly been accused of being a hopeless romantic, but I couldn't help myself with this book.  It has intrigue, romance, adventure, social unrest and beautiful scenery.  The wintry Northwest sky outside my car may have been a mix of grayish blue and green, but all I saw were the rich gold and red tones of India.  One minute, I was flying across the desert on a horse; another I was trudging through a deep jungle.  I could smell the heady spices of the country and the food and I fell in love.  It was a magical world that enchanted me.  Interestingly, I did eat a fair amount of Indian food during that time too…

I feel like it's time to be enchanted again.  After all, December is the month for magic.  And perhaps, a little vegetable korma on my way home from the library wouldn’t be a bad idea either…


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