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Brock Heasley

author, artist, occasional sleeper

This one time, I was driving down the road at night when a gray, mossy cave rose up in the middle of the highway. A dragon emerged and opened his jaws wide to receive my vehicle. I could see its tongue flicking around its sharp teeth. I was pretty sure that if the dragon failed to swallow me up then his giant wings would envelop and trap me and everyone else in the car with me.

Then I shook my head and the dragon and his cave disappeared. I should have known better than to try to drive home at midnight after spending the previous fourteen hours at Six Flags Magic Mountain, but I’m an insomniacs and insomniacs think their lack of sleep give them superhuman powers.*

*We don’t like to brag about this to you ‘normals’, but it’s true. We’re amazing and we know it.

The View from Vern’s Driveway

Ever since that night the road has an adverse effect on me, no matter the time of day. I get hypnotized by the painted yellow strip far, far to easily. Couple days ago I drove my Grandma up to Pilot Hills, CA to see her friend Vern. After dropping her off, I drove right back home. It was 10-hour trip, all during the daylight hours, and, sure enough, I nodded off.

I’m smarter about it now. I’ll pull off and grab a cold drink or some candy to stir me. If I’m really desperate, I’ll buy some Diet Mountain Dew. This is a HUGE deal for me. For religious reasons, I don’t drink caffeine. Caffeine is not technically forbidden by my religion, but addictive and mind-altering substances are so I’ve always figured caffeine was part of that. I’ve now come to believe it is better to drink half a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew* than die in a ditch with a car on top of you.

*A half bottle is MORE than enough when you you’ve gone 30+ years without caffeine of any sort. I’m a friggin’ coked-up rodeo clown after half a bottle.

So, no dragons after dropping off Grandma. No hallucinations of any sort. It’s shame it’s come to this though. I find highway driving relaxing and enjoyable when I’m lucid enough to enjoy it. I particularly enjoy night driving. But when I get sleepy, it’s just misery. Lots of slapping my face, turning up the air conditioner and ruining my diet.

Okay, so ruining my diet is kind of fun. Have you guys tried the Hershey Air Delight? Man, that’s a good candy bar.

How do you stay awake during road trips? Doesn’t being a trucker seem like one of the hardest jobs ever?

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