Friday, September 17, 2010

A Hint of Bitter

We drove straight through Nevada.  Drove through the heavy air, into the night and the cooler ozone that descends form the Sierras, from their mighty height.  We slept in a discounted room, the last room available - available and discounted because the air conditioner was broken.  We opened a window.  Cleaving a crack in our seclusion and security, we opened ourselves to the slightest possibility of theft, of intrusion, of death; a psychotic finish to our stay in this strange hotel, in this wild world.  My mind has wandered down darker allies.  

In the morning we woke to the smells of a drab, yet complimentary, breakfast.  We smuggled some fruit and stole into the young sun.  Exhilarated by the proximity of our final resting stop and our last tent pitch, last Quaker breakfast bar, last gas station, last day of sweating and driving and sweating and sleeping, we directed ourselves towards Yosemite and powered forward, the perspiration already forming on our brows, our backs.  But Jobeena is not well.

As we climbed the first grade, our white knight tired.  She sputtered and coughed.  She tripped and could not catch her breath.  She started flashing, crying out, begging us to stop.  So we pulled off, our place of rest not yet out of sight.  Triple A came to our rescue, engines roaring, dark and strong driver smiling deceptively; the garages were full, there were no flatbed trucks for our four-wheel drive, it would be a week's wait.  Drop her into third and push through it the man says.  He knows best; we give him our bag of quarters for his thoughts.

So we go.  Slowly through those mountain passes, Jobeena whimpered and hissed, her breaks smoking.  She smelled of burning rubber and fatigue.  We were filled with apprehension and frustration; on our tongues there rested a hint of bitterness.  We will drive straight to San Francisco, the city and the impenetrable fog.