The First Four are the Ones that Count

I wrote a story about it, and won a prize. My first accolade for writing about my life. “Alaskan Road Rules”, the eponymous story, talks about the wheels of a car.

The car in the story lost one of its wheels. While in full motion.

I’ve learned as a grown-up to have a greater respect for car tires.

You see, cares have a lot of parts and are very sophisticated machines. But the simplest of all the parts that make up a care is the wheel. Maybe the oldest machine ever, these wheels are the only thing that is keeping the car on the road.

Those four wheels are the only thing that touches the road. The rest of the car is only a concept, the potential for motion, without those four wheels.

There’s another wheel, though. If I get into the driver’s seat, I put my hands on the steering wheel. The steering wheel is the one *I* touch. I can sit in the car, put my hands on the wheel, and think about where I might want to go. Where I might NOT want to go.

The possibilities are seemingly endless. Abstractly, I would like to think I am considering the places I want to go. In reality the dread of places I don’t wish to visit occupy a lot of my thoughts.

That mean former friend who said those things–or even the place where she said them—don’t want to go there.

That place where that awful thing happened.

That arena of humiliation.

I think of those far more often than I would like to admit as I sit holding on to the steering wheel.

Sitting and considering while in the driver’s seat looks a lot like going somewhere.

But it’s not. It’s not going anywhere.

Thing is, even if I have to go somewhere I dread, moving those four wheels under the car is a lot different than sitting in the driver’s seat. Every action has unique aspects.

Sitting is sitting. Moving is a completely different experience.

Doing the thing, engaging the rolling rubber tires, teaches me more than any thinking ever could.