Monday, March 6, 2006

Road Noise -- Part II

To keep going.

Noticing a hitch-hiker at a random point on the road: he is some middle-aged dark-skinned reservation native of the area. He's seemingly stranded at seven-something a.m. on a Friday morning. I feel bad for him and want to stop. I almost _do_ stop, but then remember the "all kinds of trouble" I tend to get into for doing so. . . it's nice to have protective younger (albeit bigger and stronger) male siblings who care, but at the same time, I have empathy.

Just when I'm about to turn around do I notice that the white pick-up truck that had been driving behind me stops; I am relieved and gladdened.

* * *

Mid-morning on Friday lands me just outside Page. I park my vehicle at a gas station and pop the trunk.

It's nice to have packed to be prepared for just about anything: gallons of bottled water and some food, de-icer for the windows and snow-cables for the tires, blankets and first-aid kit, flashlight and candles. Books, notebook, and writing utensils. My laptop and AC/DC adapter-kit designed to run off various power sources in a home, vehicle or airplane (geekette tendencies are inescapable :P ).

I remove from the stash an orange and some bread. Sitting on a landscape-deco-type rock underneath some scraggly tree at some gas station at nine in the morning, I feel peace: peaceful and content. . .. This eating an orange and surveying the distant grandeur of Lake Powell at the beginning of March (non-tourist season) is peace.

And then I notice: there is a giant Wal-Mart directly across the highway from the gas station!

My muscles literally "jumped." Startled, only semi-aware that the back pockets of my jeans had become caught on some rough-edge of the rock, I nearly fell off the landscape-deco rock into the gravel. My orange was not so fortunate: it met the gravel.

I'd visited this particular gas station many times during my travels back and forth across the west, but I'd never noticed a gigantic Wal-Mart SuperCenter. Wal-Mart stores tend to be not that difficult to miss. This one, at least, was not entirely obtrusive. Instead of blue, the store was brown. The parking lot was not shimmering black-tar, but something else. . . somewhat chameleoning into the landscape. Not all bad.

The road noise that is experienced during travel is not always audible. . . this I came to realize (and thus propelled to comment upon with these last couple of entries) and to respect.


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