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Your Solipsistic Thought for The Day: Running Over Things

If you drive a car, you run over things.

Sure I squeeze the occasional lemon, but I rarely run red lights. And I hardly ever speed more than ten miles over the posted limit, a snail pace compared to my fellow California drivers.

I would never mash the pedal to clobber a canine, or harm any animal, although I’ve seen other drivers do it many times. On the other hand, I deliberately avoid swerving wildly to avoid lesser creatures who lack the instinct to identify speeding traffic as a danger.

Chalk it up to social Darwinism, but I refuse to risk life and limb, or endanger passengers and other drivers simply because Rex smells some tasty roadkill along the on ramp. You sealed your fate when left the yard, Rex.

Still, I mourn the cat that darted across the back top on a dark night before I could register its presence. I watched you run away in my rear view mirror, Kitty, and have always hoped you made it home to lick your wounds.

To the wafer thin, dessicated pigeon adorning to my truck’s radiator, and to its distant cousins who exploded in a slow-motion cascade of white and gray feathers, I bid you adieu. I nurture no lost love for flying rats that lack the wisdom to poop on something besides me or my beloved vehicle. Sorry Jesus, I would never have dreamed up such a useless creation!

Sometimes you run over things just because you can. But what does it mean?

Today I deliberately ran my 4×4 over a pair of cheap sunglasses–well, I hope they were cheap. They lay casually on the pavement about ten yards before a busy intersection, taunting me with their glassy stare.

I couldn’t rescue them safely and I damn sure wouldn’t let them stare down another set of redials. Folks say everything happens for a reason. I’ve decided flattened sunglasses represent a positive omen, hailing glad tidings for my unique existence.

Typically I aim for water bottles, soda cans and fast food cups lying in parking lots or on the street. I have decided their two-dimensional destruction portends my better fortune.

I don’t look to religion for answers, but I embrace the meaning in my own ridiculous conclusions.

Once, as I drove from San Diego to Anaheim, to pick up my teenage son at the conclusion of his senior class trip to Disneyland, I ran over two pristine fast food jumbo cups at 75 mph–a moment made mystical by the improbable confluence of so many capricious physical forces.

The morning sun had crested the horizon, casting buttery rays across a two lane blacktop outside the city of Orange. Feisty winds tossed weeds and foxtails over the highway, and buffeted my Tacoma at 30 mph, making navigation difficult.

One hundred feet ahead I spied the empty cups, intact with straw and lid, pursuing a lateral course across my path, taking their direction from the aggressive breeze. Instantly I wanted them!

But I had less than three seconds to adjust my steering, calculate grade, account for wind velocity and vector, while charting the intersecting  course to overtake the victims in my cross hairs. Suddenly, before I could even acknowledge my choices, both cups made a resounding crunchy pop. Their reflections flip flopped across the road in my rear view, as if to wave goodbye. I marveled at the disparate forces which conspired to honor this event.

Dylan and I shared an amazing summer before my overachiever headed off to Dartmouth, which only fueled my belief in a connection with this phenomenon of the flattened. Ya know, I still remember that bottle of Smirnoff I shattered in the Vons parking lot, along with the fortuitous events which followed.

I’ve never run over a pair of sun glasses before, so I can only imagine the shiny new luck which must surely spring from such a rare find. I guess things really do happen for a reason.

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