I drove a car late last night for the first time in two months and indulged in a series of wrong turns without worry that the roads might take me somewhere I didn’t belong anyway.
I had forgotten how lovely a drive through the dark feels. It was dark enough to turn the brights on without wondering if I’d have to dim them shortly for oncoming vehicles, dark enough to set the cruise control even though it beams a distracting red light in an even darker corner under the steering wheel, and dark enough to cool the air, but not so much that it could keep me from setting the windows to their half height, enough to make me constrain my hair and send chills that I associated with both the ill temperate outdoors and the euphoric sensation of a familiar drive in an unfamiliar place.
I had forgotten how good it feels to curl your left leg along the side door and slouch into the driver’s seat, choose your music, and set your volume, both through the speakers and your own emulation. I had nearly forgotten what a compliant and poised dance partner a steering wheel can be.
I had forgotten that I prefer to drive under the speed limit when I’m not encouraged forward by other vehicles, because who would want to rush the experience of a much-needed drive? I had forgotten how much I enjoy letting my mind wander when it isn’t caught up on details of surroundings that have since disappeared into the shadows.
Pulling into the village at 2 am I squeezed into a spot between two trees and continued the journey home by foot, thinking along the way how greatly I look forward to more reminders of often overlooked and underappreciated routines.