West Side Story redux

Summer. Too hot to sleep, no breeze through the window, the fan just shoves hot stale air around like a bored cop. You get up, go outside. Nights like this, the streets never really get cool — they just get less hot. Nights like this, you realize this isn’t just a car; it’s an accomplice.

Driver’s seat, the key snaps in like a stolen kiss, the engine turns over, and there you are. Free. One arm out the window, making your own breeze, gliding through the dark streets. All the decent folks are inside, fretful, trying to sleep, so it’s just you and your car and the other desperate people out prowling the streets.

You and your car, man, and if you wanted to you could just go. Go and keep going. Go until you turn a corner and find someplace cool and quiet, someplace you could sleep. Or you could just keep going and going and going because the road just keeps going and going and this isn’t just a car, it’s a getaway car.

Except it’s not. And you can’t keep going and going. Eventually you run out of gas. Everybody runs out of gas. Everybody, everything, and you know it. You know it, so you turn around and hope nobody took your parking place. Maybe you can still snatch a couple hours of sleep because you’ve got to be up soon, can’t be late for work, and it’s going to be another long day.

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