I’m stranded today. I know I could take the city bus or venture out on my bike, but I have a respiratory infection, and I worry I’ll find a wet seat on the bus again like I did last time. I spent the rest of my day wondering why it was wet. Not to mention, the other day I glanced at a passing bus and saw two security guards staffing it. As much as that should make me feel safer about climbing aboard, it doesn’t. Why do they have to stand guard to begin with?
I grew up in a town where mass transportation was non-existent. It was mandatory to own a car if you planned to leave your home for anything other than a walk to Hardee’s, where I first worked to save for a car.
I dreaded those long walks to Hardee’s through the heat wearing a polyester pink and white striped Frisco infused uniform. I got paid $4.25 an hour to take orders for food and be demeaned by insecure district managers who thought I should wipe down trays faster than I already did, but by the end of the summer, I had enough to buy my first car, a 1978 Chevette.
The purchase enabled me to upgrade my job from a Hardee’s cashier to a steakhouse server in the next town over, which required a 30 minute trip through the corn, and since I never owned a supremely reliable car, becoming stranded on my commute was always a concern, that and being abducted by aliens.
On clear nights, there would be so many stars above those stretches of dark roads that I’d begin to wonder about extraterrestrial life, and would press on the gas to go faster in fear that a space ship might swoop down from the sky and hover close enough to suck me up. That never happened to me.
There were three occasions when I was stranded in the corn and was fortunate enough to be rescued by a man named Rory, who just happened to be driving by. The third time Rory rescued me, I remember telling him, “I’m so thankful for you. What would I have done all these times I’ve been stuck out here if you hadn’t been driving by? I wish I could pay you back somehow.” He reminded me about karma, and that what goes around comes around. A few moments later, he asked me if I babysat, and being clueless to the fact that he had just found the perfect way for me to return his kindness, I naively answered, “No”.
Every time I drive through the corn, I find another piece of field has been filled in by houses. The houses fill the expanse and stuff will soon fill the houses and before we know it, the fields will be gone.
Coming Full Circle:
It’s interesting how the same roads I cursed at one time for being too long between me and the rest of the world are now same roads I crave. I miss them, especially in the summertime. Corn grown high, four windows down to let warm wind in, humid cricket songs, startling the fireflies that rose up from the fields as I passed, just me and the road and the wind…and my car, making our way home, fast, hoping not to get stranded or abducted by aliens.
I never imagined that one day I’d miss the corn.
I’ll take a walk through the corn over sitting in pee any day, and there’s always the lucky chance that Rory will be driving by to take me the rest of the way home.