All right, I’m leavin’.
ANASTASIA: All right.
AUTHOR: Let’s see. Directions… I, I think these are pretty, um, um… on target.
ANASTASIA: [Unintelligible]… better than the other… option.
AUTHOR: Yeah. It’s a little longer, but, uh, I don’t have to go on all those crazy little highways. Oh, le—you’ll have to let me out.
[Door opening. Traffic sounds. Kissing sound.]
ANASTASIA: I love you a whole lot.
AUTHOR: I love you, too. Uh…
ANASTASIA: I’m gonna miss you.
AUTHOR: I’m gonna miss you, too. Ho—oof, look, the mail already came. Oh, happy day! [Traffic sounds.] I don’t know why I’m pickin’ through it. Oooooo! What was that? Somethin’ really important. [Grunt.] Oooh! Anything?
ANASTASIA: No, except a health insurance thing for me. Probably a bill.
AUTHOR: Oh. All right! I’ll call you when I’m—you don’t mind I’m stayin’ until…
ANASTASIA: Nooo, sweetie!
AUTHOR: Monday…? [Kissing sound.] Love you.
ANASTASIA: You look really nice, sweetie.
AUTHOR: When are you gonna be home on Monday?
ANASTASIA: Well, sweetie, I hope to be home by four o’clock, if not before.
AUTHOR: All right. [More than one bird singing.] Yeah, I’m not—no, I’m sure… [Birds.] Well… [Laughter.]
ANASTASIA: Sweetie, you just call me at the office!
AUTHOR: Oh my gosh! W—the—were those woodpeckers?
AUTHOR: Ah, they looked like woodpeckers! No?
AUTHOR: They sure were chasin’ each other. [Traffic sound. Sharp cry of a bird, and then again. Bird cries out three more times, getting more distant each time.] All right. My childlike wonder will…
ANASTASIA: [Laughter.] Don’t [unintelligible]…
AUTHOR: Will be my companion.
ANASTASIA: Don’t display that while you’re driving.
[Birds crying and singing. Traffic sounds, wind sounds.]
AUTHOR: All right. [Bird.] Here I go, six hou—I’m gonna, I’m like Charles Lindbergh! Remember in the movie when he’s talkin’ to a fly? It’s gonna be like. “Hey, little buddy. Aaooooh!” The fly goes out the window and he’s—he’s devastated?
[Loud truck going by. Beeping of car.]
ANASTASIA: Love you, sweetie!
AUTHOR: Love you, too! [Loud vehicles. Unintelligible words of author.] Here, here goes nothin’. I guess I’ll go around this way, and…
AUTHOR: All right.
ANASTASIA: Did you get your mirrors fixed and everything?
AUTHOR: Yeah, I got my mirrors fixed.
Yeah, the… every time I… you know, I have to get a rental car when I go to visit my parents. Well, because we only have one car… uh… number one. Number two… uhhh… [throat clearing] our car wouldn’t make it. Our old Saturn is what? Twenty-two years old now? And, d-uhm… not… not in the best of shape.
Every time I go to this… every single time I go to this, uh, rental place [cough], I ask for satellite radio, or request a car with satellite radio. I say, “I don’t care what kind of car it is… please! I just need satellite radio.” And every time, they say, “Yes sir! We’ll get you satellite radio!” And then every time, they give me a car without satellite radio! It… every time!
[Bumping of road.]
Eh, I usually depend on my iPod…
This is boring, but guess what? I got six hours and nothin’ to do. The radio is terrible around here. The… broadcast radio.
[Pause. Road bumping.]
For all anyone knows I’m talkin’ on a… on a speakerphone. I—there’s no longer any [laughter] societal… taboo on talking to yourself! That’s a positive thing about technology. Uh, crazy people like myself… I would be talking to myself even if I didn’t have a… a… recording device.
Yes, yes. Let’s go south. South toward Water Valley!
[Sound of a blinker.]
[half-sung]: Yoo-doo-doo-doo-doo-woooo! Doo-doo-doo!
[Blinker goes off.]
But for years, for maybe ten or fifteen years, we’ve had this little device that allows you to listen to your iPod over your radio. And that seems to be missing. So here I am, bereft of entertainment, and it dawned on me—and if I may be frank, I was already thinking that I could just talk into this digital recorder instead.
You know, one thing that’s been burning… since yesterday… [laughter] a burning issue is that, uh… I… I was right! In my initial interpretation. I went by the bookstore and, uh, and Katelyn was there, and I asked her, “Could you clarify…” The flowers were still on the counter and they were in a… poor state, you may be sure!
Merge left? Okay, whatever.
And these flowers… do I have everything? I’m gonna see my parents. They’ll… they’ll take care of me! [Laughter.] Ahhhhhhhh. Uh…! Fifty… I’ll be fifty-four this year, so that’s really sad.
I mean what I just said is really sad.
Everything about it is sad.
Mm. I’m already confused about where I am.
That’s a good sign!
I’m not good with directions. I’m, I’m terrible. Uh-oh! I don’t have every—oh, I do have everything.
Oh, but I, Kate—I said, “Katelyn! These, these… flowers, what is… did I misunderstand?”
And she said, “No…! That’s what the charity does.” In fact, she stood there at the, uh, desk, and—the counter, and, uhh… looked it up.
You know what? Driving and talking to myself is [laughter] harder than I thought it would be.
And she looked up this flower charity and that’s what they do. They take the flowers [throat clearing]… I believe the website said they, quote, “repurpose,” unquote [throat clearing] them into bouquets… the discarded wedding flowers. And then they give them to hospices, nursing homes, et cetera, and, for some reason, to a bookstore. Why… what… possible charitable… in what way is that a charitable… maybe they had too many flowers? I find that hard to believe! There’s always one more sick person, one more lonely person… I’m gonna be so upset if I get… if I listen back to this and I can’t hear anything over the roar of the engine. Will I be upset? Maybe not.
Jack Pendarvis has written five books. He won two Emmys for his work on the TV show Adventure Time. During a period of light employment, he spoke into a digital recorder whenever the mood struck him and transcribed the results, accumulating the two thousand pages from which this column has been extracted.