Yes, the price of freedom. Normally when we hear that phrase we think of it in terms of sacrifice. Our mind conjures images of soldiers. Or maybe we think of innocent civilians that lost their lives in some fucked off war. But what I am talking about is literal. The actual cost of it.
Here’s a painting my friend Anji made.
Blue Highway: courtesy of my friend Anji
She’s an amazing artist, proficient in a wide array of mediums. I even have a few tattoos from her! (please follow her blog) Of all her work I think this one may be my favorite. No, it’s not some masterpiece that you’re going to see in the Guggenheim that’s going to forever change the landscape of modern art blah blah blah. None of that shit matters. I like this piece because it speaks to me. In fact, it fucking yells at me! This image embodies, for me, what freedom is. The open road.
I’ve always had a love affair with driving and road trips. I think growing up out in the middle of nowhere when I was a teenager is what aroused these feelings. When you grow up in the country, everything is really far away. Your closest friend is a good thirty-minute walk away, if you’re lucky. Maybe you have a bicycle and it’s only ten minutes. But even worse, it’s really hard to get away from your parents. Believe me, the last thing a fourteen or sixteen year old kid wants to do is hang out with their parents! DAMN! That car looks like a mighty tasty escape mechanism, don’t it?!
Some of my best highs in life did not come from all the drugs I’ve taken, but from a shock wave of profound elation being on the road and coming over a hill, or a big arching turn on the highway, or out from a tunnel, and BAM! There it is! A mountain commands the blue sky. A valley washed in the morning sun. A city throbbing with life. Who knows? Whatever the fuck it is, it doesn’t matter at this point. You’ve never seen it before and it’s your first time being there. You’ve been on the road for eight hours and your’re exhausted and it’s amazing and beautiful and it revives your eyes. You’re a little kid, again. No worries no problems. Just look at it! It smells different. It feels different. It sounds different. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted until you get sick of it and have to move on.
Alas, there is a price to this freedom. I am, like most Americans these days, poor. Most of my life I have been, I suppose. Cars are expensive. At least anything that you can faithfully trust to safely transport you a great distance without breaking down. Maintenance can be costly. Oh, and don’t forget to get insurance! Chances are you’ll never need it, but it’s a damn good idea to have it unless you want to get a fat fine for not having any. Not to mention it’ll cover your ass if you do get into an accident. Let’s not even talk about fuel prices! With all the expenses it takes to own a vehicle, coupled with my shit life situation at the moment, I fear that I’ll never really be able to express my freedom as I see fit.
Before I wrap this post up, I’d like to hear from any of you willing to share with me you’re definition of freedom. How do you express it? What keeps you from obtaining it, or how did you harness it? Also, if you like, tell me about a memorable road trip you took. OH! Of course no road trip is complete without the proper sound track! Share with me your favorite tunes for driving on those lonely highways. Here’s a few of mine…
This song was playing on the radio last night when I was driving home. It more or less inspired me to make this post. Fuck me if I know what the hell they’re singing about. Like most dumb Americans, I just know the chorus.
I’ll ask that you take note on these next two tracks, because not only are they great road-trip songs, I want them to be played at my memorial when I die. Thank you!