Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Yeah, you’ve done it. Sure you have, at one time or another. The Drive By. It may have been an afterthought or planned with the precision of a military maneuver; it probably occurred late at night or early in the morning. We’re talking about the quick, mostly surreptitious trip down a road to view his/her driveway. Of course the driveway’s there—you wanted to see what was (or was not) parked in it.

When did it happen? Probably at the beginning or end of a relationship. At first, you two were budding, but there had been no official handshake to close the deal and on those days (night really) when you weren’t seeing each other there was the question, that question. Or, sadly, when facing the dregs at the bottom of the bottle, it was really over, mostly in your head, but not in your heart. And again there was the question, that question.

Either way, you wanted information, the evil fruit, and you drove by the address of the possible-to-be or of the once-was.

Head down, eyes averted, hoping to see but praying to not be seen (what a blow to pride that would be!), you made the pass…sometimes more than once. The tightness of your chest, the flutter of your pulse, the seasickness in your stomach, all served to say, “Enough of doubt! Set me free!” But what bitter information it was, for there was no way to know for sure, for if a car was there, whose? If not, did was one there last night or would be there tomorrow night?

Sweaty hands on the steering wheel. Or, if you had a friend who drove, the grit on the floor mat in your knees as you ducked out of sight. The hope for darkness to hide, but not conceal.

You were young, you were middle-aged, you were senior—in all cases you were old enough to know better yet young enough to care—nothing changed except the car you drove, the clothes your wore, or the dollar signs of the address.

And, finally, you hated stooping to such lows. You hated yourself and were ashamed. No matter what you saw or didn’t see, The Bard’s words ring true: “It is not nor it cannot come to good.” But you did it again anyway.

Mike Sledge

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