Running on Empty

Walk on down the hill / Through grass grown tall and brown / And still it's hard somehow to let go of my pain / On past the busted back / of that old and rusted Cadillac / That sinks into this field collecting rain / Will I always feel this way / So empty, so estranged? — from Empty, by Ray LaMontagne

Much of my life has been spent searching for “home.” Stuck wherever I find myself, though in a constant state of travel, driving down backroads and over freeways across the county. The Sunday Drive that used to be an all day family excursion, is often reduced to shopping trips or running errands. The essential coming-of-age road trip has become non-essential, the gas station simply a pit-stop, a place to refuel, no longer even asking for directions. A vehicle, once a luxury, is now essential, as is the GPS to direct you from one point to the next.

The state I find myself in when on the road, both literally and figuratively, is neither “here” nor “there.” It’s a three am delirium of no sleep, too much caffeine, and buzzing highway lines. The idea of “home” has not yet been found. These are the things I see when on the road. This is how I feel when I am not. The stations abandoned, the vehicles left behind, running on empty.

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