Thursday, July 20, 2006

Song on the Wind


Driving through New Mexico on Highway 666 the tire blew. I managed to steer the car to the shoulder, although a complete lack of traffic rendered such a safety-concious move impractical.

My Navajo friend, Fred, told me that white people were always doing dumb stuff like that: moving an impaired vehicle out of the way, sheesh, who cares? Leave the car where it is and wait for someone to come along and help you. Yeah, you might be sitting in the middle of the road for a couple of hours, but at least nobody can claim they didn't see you.

Surveying the shredded tire and rubbing my hot, wind-blasted back, the situation didn't look so good.
My passenger was an equally helpless white girl, suggested we try to change the tire ourselves.
"Have you ever changed a tire before?"
"Well, those bolts were screwed in with an air gun, and we'd seriously be here for the next 5 hours trying to get just one of them loose."
"We've gotta do something, we can't just sit here." whine whine whine.

I tuned out her whining and the wind brought me a gift.
A little girl singing a traditional song was herding some goats. I could hear the tinkle of the bells on their necks.
I saw the little girl in my mind: Dusty black hair pulled back in an untidy ponytail; wearing a long-sleeved red dress that any white person would complain was too warm for such a fiercely hot summer day.
She followed behind a few rag-tag goats, lightly tapping the ground or their butts with a stick.
Her song filled me like running water.
I noticed a small farm across the road and set back just a bit. There were even a few scrubby trees around the round houses.
It would be rude to approach their home. I just had to sit and wait patiently with my car.
They couldn't have helped us anyway, it didn't look like they had electricty let alone a phone.

A truck eventually came along. I can't remember how long we waited. We got a towed into town where a polite man quietly replaced our damaged tire with the spare.

Most likely they shook their heads and rolled their eyes as we drove away. "Good Luck, white bitches, don't be breaking down on our roads no more."

Highway 666 is now Highway 491; too many people complained of it's 'devil' name. But I can tell you from experience that it wasn't the devil's highway. It just went to Utah.


At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Gigi said...

New Mexico- the land of enchantment. 85% Violence, substance abuse, and desperate poverty, 15% heartbreaking beauty.


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