Question of the Green Light Infidelity: An Epistolary Essay

Dear Slightly Self-Conscious Self,

I am about to present you with a tale of juvenile hilarity and intrigue. Feel free to read this whenever your life’s sunlight begins to dim a few shades darker than usual. Although this is your first attempt at an epistolary essay, it is not your first attempt at amateur journalism. If anything, it is a documentation of the senses when caught in a state of mind that is much too peculiar to describe, let alone pinpoint it on parchment. It is a brief, but detailed recollection of a series of moments witnessed by your pair of curious eyes, as well as numerous others surrounding you. It is an icebreaker that can lead to multiple possibilities, as well as multiple outcomes. Decide for yourself, Dearest Reader.

A relationship ended on the road this evening. In the plainest and simplest terms, that is what I saw through my seventeen-year-old windshield. Let me premise this with the following: I despise automotive vehicles with a passion. I loathe driving as equally as I loathe assuming the role of a passenger in one. I often reminisce about my preferences for public transportation, i.e., a train and, hypocritically speaking, a bus.

On this slightly drizzling Wednesday night, I was driving from a work-related meeting to meet my father for an early dinner. Since my favorite half of the year began with Daylight Savings Time last Saturday night, I have been basking in the joyous wonderment of darkness welcoming the night an hour earlier. Darkness feels more peaceful to me. The goths of the world will know exactly what I am referring to. I did not have a clear mind when this unexpected cinematic encounter occurred. I already had a menagerie of thoughts swimming in the torrential water beneath my chaotic motel mind, for I seldom (let alone never) think about one solitary thought. It is during this event that reaffirmed my automotive vendetta. It is not so much the contraptions themselves, but rather, the people inside them. Certain individuals still have yet to realize that vehicles are two-eight-ton death machines. My misanthropy flared a tad at the mere pondering of this. Though it is wasted energy, one cannot help but feel disgusted when a reckless driver treats the various roads like they are his or her own personal video game, minus beating prostitutes to death with a splintered baseball bat. Thank you very much, creators of Grand Theft Auto, for influencing the easily swayed and impressionable.

At a particularly busy intersection where the light is green for eight nanoseconds and the light is red for eight years, the unthinkable happened to me and the surrounding rush-hour drivers who were anxious to arrive at their abodes. An ivory van that sat diagonal to the left of me opened its passenger door. An emotionally disturbed couple were having a heated and non-domestic squabble that was obviously going nowhere. The couple consisted of two disheveled miscreants: the passenger, a man who looks like he recently exited the four-year prison sentence that is high school, and in the driver’s seat, a woman who looked five to ten years older than him. Let us call the woman ‘Jive Turkey #1’ and the man ‘Jive Turkey #2’. I would have called them ‘Guilty Party Victim’ and ‘Guilty Party Perpetrator,’ but let us avoid the perplexed philosophy. I am sure they both have splendid names, but who in the blazes cares at this point? On the road, an individual is nothing but a schmuck to me. Harsh? Oh, yes. Still, one cannot help but wonder. I entered this situation unbiased, and unless I had the opportunity to obtain any information, that is how I was going to exit it. Jive Turkey #2 was quite thin, so thin that the faceless Slender Man would take one look at him and feel extremely self-conscious about himself.

Aside from listening to fragments of the argument, which was possibly their last, I needed no conclusive evidence to prove that this relationship was about to come to a screeching halt…in a multitude of ways. As tragic as the entirety of this calamity was, the rapid minutes that followed contained the finest quality of amusement, though ‘amusement’ might be an understatement. I began to speculate that there might have been infidelity afoot, judging by the actions taken. Jive Turkey #1 pushed Jive Turkey #2 out of the vehicle, though he tried with all his might to stay inside, what with the current weather conditions and the ever-growing congested line of rush hour drivers. This predicament was obviously too much for him to handle. Just then, something happened that put the odds against him more so than ever: the stoplight turned green. The look on his face switched from annoyed to sheer terror. The lovely and radiant Ms. Jive Turkey #1 took the action that any rational human being would take in this situation: she began to drive…slowly, at first but picked up speed within seconds.

The army of moronic drivers behind her honked their horns with fury. Blast loudly, O’ Automobile Trumpets! I wanted to join in the merriment and be horny (pun most definitely intended), but because my vehicle is in a constant state of deterioration and the horn does not function, that was not possible. As she drove with this blank stone face, he held on to the door handle for dear life, with his seemingly lower half of the body dragging itself on the uneven pavement. Picture, if you will, someone flying like Superman, but everything below the waist is moving like rubber. Finally, he let himself go, whether he was fully aware of his fate or not. To reach the other side of the road to salvation, he was now required to deal with one too many pairs of evil eyes glowing in the dusk-to-night setting, mine included. It was nothing personal against him or his former significant other, for I was nothing but a fascinated and increasingly amused and entertained social observer. My dislike for people in vehicles rose that evening, considering I disliked this couple no more than I disliked virtually every other driver. Cynical and misanthropic, you might think? Absolutely. However, it has kept me alive and well for just over a decade. I encourage this public mantra to every person out there: trust no driver but yourself. It has worked for me quite well.

Anyhow, from my rearview mirror, I saw the deeply disturbed Jive Turkey #2 cross the street with a surprisingly minimal amount of trouble. Jive Turkey #1, on the other hand, sped away into the ether of madness. She left him stranded. For his sake, I sincerely hope he knows the area well, with or without nocturnal vision. As I pulled in to my destination, I hypothesized about three possible distinct scenarios. First, Jive Turkey #2, a man of very little brains, committed the inhuman act of infidelity or an equally greater action. Everyone has different circumstances when it comes to infidelity, but it is still inhuman. Secondly, Jive Turkey #1 was absolutely psychotic. Finally, the relationship was entirely too toxic and that was the way to sever all ties between them. I thought of so many more, but why go through each detail on paper when the rawness in the mind is bittersweet on its own? Perhaps they were not in a relationship at all and they were related in some twisted and demented way. I have made my opinionated conclusion on the matter. Feel free to manifest your own.

A minuscule part of me thought of pulling over to the side to assist Jive Turkey #2 in some way, but while I do not have the gift of precise intuition, I sensed that it would not be wise of me to be involved in the fresh aftermath of this rigmarole.

So, there you have it, Slightly Self-Conscious Self. When you feel that your life has burdened you with misfortune and turmoil, read this and may your troubles instantly dissipate.

Most Sincerely,

Your Insignificant Holder of the Pen

Photo Credit: zeonet Flickr via Compfight cc

Z. M. Wise

Z.M. Wise is a proud Illinois native from Chicago, poet, essayist, co-editor and poetry activist, writing since his first steps as a child. He was selected to be a performer in the Word Around Town Tour in 2013, a Houston citywide tour. He is co-owner and co-editor of Transcendent Zero Press, an independent publishing house for poetry that produces an international quarterly journal known as Harbinger Asylum. The journal was nominated Best Poetry Journal in 2013 at the National Poetry Awards. He has published four full length books of poetry, including: 'Take Me Back, Kingswood Clock!' (MavLit Press), 'The Wandering Poet' (Transcendent Zero Press), 'Wolf: An Epic & Other Poems' (Weasel Press), and 'Cuentos de Amor' (Red Ferret Press). Other than these four books, his poems have been published in various journals, magazines, and anthologies. The motto that keeps him going: POETRY LIVES! Mr. Wise will make sure to spread that message and the love of poetry, making sure it remains vibrant for the rest of his days and beyond. Besides poetry and other forms of writing, his other passions/interests include professional voice acting, singing/lyricism/songwriting, playing a few instruments, fitness, and reading.

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