Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Behind the Wheel


There's the Capitol dome behind the trees. Cool, eh?

Sometimes when I'm driving my Zipcar back and forth from Whole Foods, I stick my camera out the window (while keeping my eye on the road) and take shots randomly. Sometimes I turn on the zoom, sometimes not. Sometimes I take a sequence of pictures, sometimes just one or two.

This practice helps soothe me while I wait for traffic to clear or the light to change. You see, I really hate driving. Likewise, I hate being in cars even when I'm not driving. It's quite unAmerican of me, indeed. Anything I can do to make the time more pleasant helps.

You might be thinking it's just because I live in Washington DC that I hate the whole automobile thing so much, and you might be on to something. DC, Virginia and Maryland drivers are by far the worst I have ever encountered. Everyone needs to be important in DC, which means there's a feng shui on the streets that feels suspiciously like sharks in the midst of a feeding frenzy. It's pretty scary.

I'm not saying San Francisco drivers are the best, but as I remember, they are at least in the habit of looking for pedestrians, for instance. In DC, if drivers bother to look for pedestrians, (something that only happens intermittently) they actually speed up, as if angered to see a vulnerable human body in the crosswalk.

Strangely, I become just as evil behind the wheel as people who drive every day even though I do not own a car and rarely drive. I find it puzzling and frankly humiliating to admit this. I lean on the horn if someone in front of me should dare to make a left turn, I become frantic if I have to stop for a red light, I deeply resent the people who want to cross the street. Why? I'm never in a hurry on my way back and forth from the grocery store. Why do I get so possessed?? Driving does NOT bring out the best in me! Yikes.

Equally puzzling and definitely humiliating is the fact that the pics I take randomly while driving always seem to be so interesting. These random pics always have such cool angles and fabulous compositions. Dang, man.

What I really wanted to write about today is the nature of art, which I'm now thinking of as series of odes to instinct. But my thoughts around this are not yet speech ripe (spruchreif in German - thanks, Angela). Hence my sad confessions about driving and photography. Oh well.

14 comments:

ellen abbott said...

When in Rome, Reya.

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh yeah!

sinnlighet said...

Beautiful, sensual & poetic, I love your blog!

Thank you for nice comment on my blog!

Agneta, the swedish one ;)

lacochran said...

If you're not able to combat car frenzy then what hope is there for the rest of us?

The Bug said...

The only way I can drive a car & not be a maniac is to listen to a book on tape. In my case music does NOT soothe the savage beast LOL!

Barbara said...

I do so well remember your claustrophobia when in any car, especially one that smelled the least bit of mildew (like the older car I was often driving). You always turned me into an aggressive SF-style driver too, but we did always have good parking karma, thanks to Mrs. D (or whoever that was we offered homage and coins to).

Linda Sue said...

I have never heard of Zipcar- what a good idea! getting behind the wheel turns even the most mellow of us into maniacs- cursing, aggressive, get there first sort of pushy isolated a-holes... don't know what it is. My dad picked me up in godforsaken middle of nowhere wyoming to drive me to another godforsaken middle of nowhere town, in 125 miles one car passed us- my dad,"Goddam traffic!" while waving his fist at them...just the nature of cardom, I guess. Your shots from the car are indeed intriguing and very cool!

Reya Mellicker said...

The parking goddess is Mrs. Rothmueller. She still serves me well, when needed.

Barbara said...

How could I possibly forget Mrs. Rothmueller? I guess I got her confused with Mrs. Doubtfire, definitely not a parking goddess!

lakeviewer said...

Shucks! I thought all along you composed these so strenously, carefully, getting under things and across things to get just the right angle.

I sigh with relief! Yeah, randomness has its good side.

steven said...

reya i don't drive - i never learned. but i'm a willing passenger in many cars when i need transportation of stuff. or if it's a very long distance that has to be covered quickly. or especially if the weather's not kind to the two skinny tires hauling my skinny ass around. even so, i get a real sense of what it's like to be behind the wheel of a vehicle from the occasional grumpiness that takes place on the road around me. it's weird - you're in a car, protected from the elements, you've got choons on, maybe a coffee, you get there in comfort, pretty quickly, and yet that isn't enough!! but you've got to protect your turf and not reveal any vulnerabilities right!!! take pics!!! that'll ground you. steven

Barry said...

I notice a significant difference between the way I drive in the City and how I drive in the country.

In the country I am a gentleman, considerate, patient, watchful.

Ah, but in the city, I drive like the rest of those #$*!&'s out there.

Paul C said...

Art as 'odes to instinct.' That's got potential!

Steve said...

I'm the same way -- I get a little crazy behind the wheel. And I don't know why either. There's something about driving that brings out the worst in people -- hence all the "road rage" incidents in our society.

I always heard Massachusetts drivers are the worst, but who knows?