Ironic Tosh of Fate


When I titled yesterday’s blog entry, I had a song from the early career of Bob Marley and the Wailers in my head.  I searched in vain for a recording or video of it, finding only a much slower version.  The version I remembered had more of a rock-steady beat than rolling reggae one.  A few comments online reminded me that it was Peter Tosh singing that version (with the Wailers) anyway.

I gave up the hunt, but got the ironic twist that, though the universe was handing me a slower beat, I still wanted the frenetic one.

And I remembered that a character I’d written – if whom bares any resemblance to her author is purely coincidental – blasted that song in her car as she tried to outrun her problems.

After muddling her way through study hall and forcing concentration in the rest of her classes, Kathryn finally flopped into the front seat of her car.  She stared out the front window.  She put the keys in the ignition, but did not turn them.  She just sat.  She sat and thought about nothing and everything all at once.  She took vague notice of the cars moving and leaving around her, but only when they moved directly across her line of sight did her eyes actually focus.  When she finally noticed that there had been no movement around her for quite some time, she looked around to see hers was the only car left in the parking lot.  She reached her feet towards the clutch and brake pedal and her hand towards the keys.  Peter Tosh’s voice suddenly flooded the insides of the car and ran down her eardrums and into her brain.  She was awake now.  Maybe the rock-steady would steady her nerves and take her out of this funk.  She moved the gearshift into first and grasped the steering wheel.

Kathryn left the parking lot without having any idea of where she was going.  It was as if her car was on autopilot and eventually she found herself on the highway.  All the while, she bounced in time to the music and occasionally would break into song, but all of this was secondary.  It was as if her body and car were simply performing a routine; her consciousness really wasn’t along for the ride.  As she moved on, off, and around the major arteries surrounding the city, moving in one big loop, she had no destination.  She let the CD loop continuously as the steering wheel slid loosely between her fingers.

The sun finally dipped so low it angled itself right into her windshield and her eyes.  She realized it was probably time to go home.  She put on her left blinker to signal her way into the passing lane.  Just as she edged her way around the car in front of her, she saw the two stripes of black rubber on the road.  They started right where her front tires were now and arced away from her in a gentle curve until they ended at the Jersey barrier and a broad metallic smudge and gouges began.  She almost wanted the car to follow them the way her eyes had – but why?  Because it was a natural progression?  Because she felt she was already set up on that path?  Because it was easier to continue on an established path than to start a new one not even forged yet?

Suddenly the deep bass line of another Peter Tosh song resounded through the car speakers and she jerked the car back into line with the others.  She shook her head and took a deep breath.  She gripped the steering wheel, her fingers resting in the grooves meant to keep her hands in place, in control, and began to sing along:

“Stop the train, I’m leavin’, stop the train, I’m leavin’ believe me when I say, stop the train, I’m leavin’, said it won’t be too long whether I’m right or wrong, won’t be too long whether I’m right or wrong.”

Personal resemblance to our characters – especially when they do things we don’t like – is a whole ‘nother discussion.  But there it was.  Stop the train, I’m leavin’.  Maybe I can shut my mind off long enough to disembark and get back to center.

In the meantime, I can at least listen to some kick ass music.


Editorial note:  Thank you for respecting my intellectual property and not sharing my work with others without my permission – unless of course you know an editor who needs new talent ; )



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