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    I Live in the City from the Car Commercials


    Glass towers. Empty sidewalks, empty highways, empty except for the One Car—the car that the car commercial is for.

    Watch it glide over the bridge. Sleek, magnificent, like an elk that is also a car.

    Power steering. All-wheel drive. That thing where the car parallel parks itself for you. All standard.

    Wow.

    This city is every city; this city is no city. Tall buildings look like places of business, but there are no business signs or anything. No corner stores, no restaurants, no barbershops.

    It is confusing how this city’s economy works.

    Sometimes, I long to live in the desert from the car commercials—where the One Car is not a hip urban prowler but a biggish truck, kicking up the red dirt and stopping dramatically along the horizon, angled rakishly against the sunset, gleaming.

    And now I’m wondering “Do people who buy that car drive that way?” If so, weird.

    I forgot to mention this earlier, but the city from the car commercials also has no mayor (in case you were wondering).

    There is no one here, save for me, the witness. Me and the Driver.

    Who is the Driver? A savvy, youngish man using G.P.S. to find the best route? A sensible mother on her way to a J.V. volleyball game? An oafish dad getting what will inevitably be deemed the wrong groceries?

    I long to know. I am terrified to know.

    The Driver. The Driver turns the wheel deftly and I am left alone—to worship the One Car, and the absence of reliable public transit, which, it probably goes without saying, the city from the car commercials does not have.

    The purpose of the Driver is to drive, and the drive goes on without end. Can a journey with no destination be so called? Or is it something else? A ceaseless plodding upon an indifferent wheel, thirty seconds in length, or fifteen, if the commercial is the short version.

    I live in the city from the car commercials, but what I live is not a life. It is a million shards of a broken destiny. A numbness.

    Is there something more out there? Something beyond the slick anonymity of this prison, perfectly designed to accentuate the curves, the angles, the allure of the One Car, followed by some onscreen text about A.P.R. financing, whatever that is?

    I live in the city from the car commercials. I was never born.

    I live in the city from the car commercials. I will never die.

    At least I do not have to pay rent, because I have no landlord. ♦

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