Secret Pop

Sep 8, 2002

Watching the Wheels

I drove a lot today. It was beautiful out. Balmy and beautiful and inviting. I sometimes forget how cool it gets when you're right on the ocean. I was driving southward, and I thought for a moment that I might have gone further than I intended and that I might suddenly find myself a great distance out of my way. But I also realized that I didn't mind. There was no urgency. I might actually have just been driving for the sake of it. Which is something I seldom do anymore. Years ago, I used to volunteer to take the movies back or run to the store for eggs or do any number of unrewarding errands just so I could have an excuse to be driving. My stupid little white car made me feel mighty back then. Like I was going somewhere.

I saw a lot of people who looked happy today. I couldn't see any reason for them to be. But they were, just the same. And it occurred to me that my ideas about what should make a person happy might be completely implausible. They could be false, lifted from the pages of an adolescent novel, yellowed by years of disuse. I might have confused them with something entirely different. Maybe that's why I often return to the metaphor of the bony fingers of happiness closing around my throat.

You can't always get what you want. You aren't always smart enough to want what you've got. You seldom know you're on to something until it's passed you by. You're never as good as you wanted to be.

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