Charles Bukowski

the freeway life

some fool kept blocking me and I finally got around him, and
        in the
elation of freedom I ran it up to 85 (naturally, first checking
        the rear
view for our blue suited protectors); then I felt and heard the
        SMASH of a hard
object upon the bottom of my car, but wanting to make the
        track I willed
myself to ignore it (as if that would make it vanish) even
        though I beganto smell gasoline.
I checked the gas gauge and it seemed to be holding . . .

it had been a terrible week already
but, you know, defeat can strengthen just as victory can
        weaken, and if
you have the proper luck and the holy endurance the gods just
        might deliver
the proper admixture . . .
trafiic backed up and stopped, and then I really smelled gas and 
        I saw my
gas gauge dipping rapidly, then my radio told me that a man
3 miles up
on the Vernon overpass had one leg over the side and was
and there I was threatened with being blown to hell
as people yelled at me that my tank was broken and pouring
yes, I nodded back, I know, I know . . .
meanwhile, waving cars off and working my way over to the
        outer lane
thinking, they are more terrorized than I am:
if I go, those nearby might go also.

there was no motion in the traffic-—the suicide was still trying
        to make
up his mind and my gas gauge dipped into the red
and then the necessity of being a proper citizen and waiting for
vanished and I made my move
up and over a cement abutment 
bending my right front wheel 
I made it to the freeway exit which was totally
then worked on down to a gas station on Imperial Highway
parked it
still dripping gas, got out, made it to the phone, got in a call
for the tow truck, not a long wait at all, nice drive back in
        with a black
fellow who told me strange stories about stranded
        motorists . . .
(like one woman, her hands were frozen to the wheel, took 15
minutes of
talking and prying to make her let go.)

had the car back in a couple of days, was driving back from the
hit the brake and it wouldn’t go down, luckily I wasn’t on the
yet, cut the ignition, glided to the curb, noted that the steering
column cover had ripped loose and blocked the brake, ripped
        that away, then
ripped some more to make sure, then a whole mass of wires
        spilled out,
s h i t . . .
I turned the key, hit the gas but the car STARTED
and I drove off with the dangling wires against my leg
do these things happen to other
people or am
I just the chosen one?
I decided it was the latter and got onto the freeway where
some guy in a volks swung over and blocked my
whereupon I swung around the son-of-a-bitch and hit
75, 80, 85 . . .
thinking, the courage it took to get out of bed each
to face the same things
over and over