Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Paper Towns - Hour Two

I’m still driving. We turn north, onto I-95, snaking our way up Florida, near the coast but not quite on
it. It is all pine trees here, too skinny for their height, built like I am. But there is mostly just the road,
passing cars and occasionally being passed by them, always having to remember who is in front of you
and who behind, who is approaching and who is drifting away.
Lacey and Ben are sitting together on the bench seat now, and Radar is in the wayback, and they’re
all playing a retarded version of I Spy in which they are only allowed to spy things that cannot physically
be seen.
“I Spy with my little eye something tragically hip,” Radar says.
“Is it the way Ben smiles mostly with the right side of his mouth?” asks Lacey.
“No,” says Radar. “Also don’t be so gooey about Ben. It’s gross.”
“Is it the idea of wearing nothing under your graduation gown and then having to drive to New York
while all the people in passing cars assume you’re wearing a dress?”
“No,” says Radar. “That’s just tragic.”
Lacey smiles. “You’ll learn to like dresses. You get to enjoy the breeze.”
“Oh, I know!” I say from the front. “You spy a twenty-four-hour road trip in a minivan. Hip because
road trips always are; tragic because the gas we’re guzzling will destroy the planet.”
Radar says no, and they keep guessing. I am driving and going seventy-two and praying not to get
a ticket and playing Metaphysical I Spy. The tragically hip thing turns out to be failing to turn in your
rented graduation robes on time. I blow past a cop parked on the grass median. I grip the steering wheel
hard with both hands, feeling sure he’ll race up to pull us over. But he doesn’t. Maybe he knows I’m
only speeding because I have to.


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