I happened to drive to work by way of my old bike route today. It felt good to pass through those scenes again, kind of like how it feels to sing a song you haven’t sung in a long time. I remember a lot about those roads—I could feel where the most egregious potholes and bumps were, and I knew at which points I would find wider, safer margins between the lane and the white reflective stripe.
Incidentally, I have longed for some time to see the machine that paints those stripes. The contraption I have imagined, involving a wheel with four paintbrushes sticking out of it, the rotation of which causes the brushes to hit the pavement (after dipping into a bucket of paint hidden somewhere in the machine) and make the dotted lines, is probably not exactly how they really do it. Esp. because how would they paint a solid line with my model?
There are many turns on my old route, and it crosses a muddy creek and passes by two really nice gardens whose owners I always wanted to stop and talk with. I never did. But I imagined doing it, and it’s possible I could still meet them. Just as it’s possible that one day, I’ll be biking through some cursed construction zone when, before my amazed eyes, the stripe-painting machine will appear, and I will witness just how those lines get made.
And if I’m really lucky, I will be able to convince the driver to paint a message in Morse code, dots and dashes down the road, one that proclaims the real possibilities of getting around by bike, that puts a garden at every street corner, outlines a strategy for gender equity while we’re at it, and just in case they’re needed, includes the best lines from some poems, the ones I wish I’d memorized.*
I can see that, potentially, it will need to be a very long message. But this is America, which has more roads than any other country. Knew they’d come in handy for something.
* ..-. — .-. / .. -. … – .- -. -.-. . –..– / .-..-. – …. . / ..-. — .-. -.-. . / – …. .- – / – …. .-. — ..- –. …. / – …. . / –. .-. . . -. / ..-. ..- … . / -.. .-. .. …- . … / – …. . / ..-. .-.. — .– . .-. .-.-.- / .-.-.- / .-.-.- / .-.-.- .-..-.