He told me I ought to mapquest it. I didn’t listen to him. 57 to the 210, East all the way to Allen, take Allen right to the very end, where it dead-ends into the Huntington.

Which way on Allen?

South. South.

Or maybe you should take the 91 to the 5 to the 605 to the 210... You really ought to mapquest it.

Whatever. I just need to get out of here.

To see something real, to smell something alive and magnificent. What I really yearned for was a wild unkempt desert, but a gloriously cultivated garden would have to do. The need for something solid and tangible amid the manufactured hum of suburbia was too pressing to bother about maps.

So I bundled the children into their carseats, and hopped onto the freeway. Strange how natural this bubble of glass and steel becomes. An extension of my body, moving with my will. I drove and I drove and I drove, as far as I could see. I drove to the place where sky dips down to touch the dust, and when I got there, I drove again as far as I could see. I drove until the progressively shabbier, progressively sparser strip malls blossomed suddenly into lush golf courses and gracious mansions, orange trees and jacarandas and purply undulating hills. And then I drove beyond all that, beyond all the civilization and cultivation to the earth beneath it all, and saw the mines, raw and bleeding and hopeless and desolate.

Freeway ends in 4 miles.

He’d said something about a dead-end, so I kept driving, straight on to the end.

Finally, when the 210 melted into Alameda, (Allen? Alameda? Allen.) I gave up and turned around.

210 West.

Pasadena 37 miles.


Hannah (from church) said...

Ooh! I love the Huntington. I have a membership there, which means I can get in myself, another adult and up to five kids. If you want to go with me sometime, I'd be willing to trade some babysitting for a ride or something. :-)

Elena said...

It's a deal!

Lauren said...

I recognized all the Freeways just not the Huntington. Oh well.

Elena said...

Oh, bummer! The Huntington is great... It's the gracious estate of an enormously wealthy patron of the arts and sciences. There's a lovely museum, an astounding rare books collection, and beautiful botanical gardens. The children's garden is a particular delight. And it's in Pasadena, which I think is just a delightful city. And which is WEST of Anaheim. =)

Matthew said...

Museum? Rare books? Why in the world would you spend all that time indoors when there's flat gorgeous gardens right outside? Beautiful!
(Yes, I admit it, I'm not an art lover...)