Meanwhile in the analog zone

Driving around after work last Friday, jamming to Nebula on my factory installed Camry car stereo, I experienced a momentary time slip back to the analog era that existed before we gave ourselves over entirely to the digital dystopia we currently inhabit.  With Nebula’s nineties-flavored hard-rock psychedelia filling the cabin of my Camry, the world outside took on the chill analog aspect of days gone by.  Some reading this might deduce, “this guy’s grooving on stoner rock and flashing back to the nineties, he’s probably puffing on some powerful mary-jane.”  Negative, amigo, this was a totally sober analog flashback.  

As I cruise through dense Friday afternoon traffic, a dude up ahead tries to navigate his way across a busy six-lane on his bicycle.  He’s playing a dangerous game of Frogger as he swerves unsteadily between passing vehicles.  Nearby, a girl walks along the sidewalk still dressed in her KFC uniform.  Looking a little dazed and weary from her fast food shift, she carries with her a bag of chicken and fixins, and, presumably, the closely guarded secret of Colonel Sanders 11 herbs and spices.  

The package store parking lot buzzes with blue-collar dudes clutching frosty cold cases of beer.  In a bygone era, their mulleted manes would have blown majestically in the spring breeze.  Today, it’s their prodigious beards flapping furiously in their faces.  A girl perched in a colossal hemi-powered pickup truck rumbles passed in the lane next to me.  The extended cab, dually monstrosity is made all the more massive-looking contrasted with her petite appearance inside the cab.

I’m stopped for a red light at a busy intersection.  I resist the temptation to roll down my window and flood the street with the sonic ferocity of Transmission From Mothership Earth.  This is one of those intersections where the signal only allows one action at a time.  Northbound can make a left, then southbound can go left, northbound can go straight, then southbound can go straight, eastbound left turn lane go fuck yourself, westbound go straight, etc.  

The time finally arrives for the cross traffic to go left.  However, a young couple’s motorcycle does not appear to be cooperating.  The young gentleman furiously tries to start the stalled machine while his girlfriend holds on tight.  Sensing he’s about to run out of left turn signal, the young man makes a ballsy move. The motorcycle is small enough that his feet easily rest on the ground on both sides.  With just seconds of left turn arrow remaining, the young man starts pumping his legs and runs the motorcycle through the massive intersection a la Fred Flintstone.  The girl is hanging on tight and they’re both laughing hysterically at the absurdity of the scene.  Horns honk and drivers cheer as the young gentlemen, his girl and the bike clear the intersection just before the light changes. 

Streaming for your approval in the analog zone, one of those mundane everyday moments that overwhelms you because its flooded with meaning.  You have the quick-thinking, heroic actions of stalled motorcycle guy as he whisks his girl away from danger.  There is the spectre of life’s struggles popping up at the most inopportune time, and the indominitable will and determination to overcome said struggle.  There is optimism and joy that laughs in the face of said struggle and young love that remains hopeful throughout.  All the while, onlookers root for a triumphal outcome.  

Of course, it’s entirely possible I read too much into the scene.  Maybe the pair later cursed their misfortune, got into a big row and she dumped him over some perceived public embarrassment and shame to which he subjected her.  But I’d like to think not.  I’d like to think that years from now, when the couple have kids who are old enough to appreciate a good story, the pair will regale them with this analog tale and they will all have a good laugh.

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