Highway Society

Dec 7, 2015,  re-written June, 2020

Motorway, Freeway, Autoroute; traffic the common pool. A constant roar. Brake lights flashing on, as the downs come out of the ups of speed. Red lights spotting in the grey murk of the rain. Some drivers are citizens of courtesy, smoothness and aesthetics. Others thrust in and out, get on your tail, testosterone running, gender gone. After dark, a river of white eyes coming towards you in the other lanes; and in front of you a long pool of red lights, itself static yet moving all at once. You are no-one; it is all one, in ultimate democracy. Vain surge of individualism from black SUV or silver Mercedes, pushing through, pretending their own rules. But still within limits; it’s a phony show- they don’t cross to opposing lanes. Each soul in each vehicle once had a story, but in this moment of metal shells, we are empty drones in an endless phalanx. 

And occasionally, cast like jetsam to one edge of the stream- a glimpse of crumpled carcasses strewn by spinning crash or slugging thump. Metal skins torn back, black wounds spilling oily guts onto the road. Rings of blue lights flashing alarm. Day glo-clad helpers and healers milling, directing, cleansing, sweeping. While ejected souls draped in blankets stare blankly, or chatter in panic into phones to the outside of this. The broken parts of people and dead machines are rapidly swept away, while the slow worm of traffic jams through.

Sale, Salernes or Seattle. Manchester, Marseille or Moses Lake. The sign boards invite you to break away, slip into your exit, regain your soul and come sliding to rest. Split from your cocoon and enter destination’s patch of people. In office, meeting, home or bar you have found your spot. The fish has leapt from the drowning pool.

But tomorrow you will flop back in, to be lost again in the mindless shoal.

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