Exit to Now


Maybe drives the unreliable car, the one that always seems to overheat in traffic. You suspect that the trees and flowers you have been watching flow past are just sets painted on a roller, a background in an old, crappy movie, because the scenery is boringly familiar and the seasons never change. The trip is always longer and less satisfying than promised, and it smells like the inside of a latex balloon.

“I need some nachos and novelty shot glasses, I’ll just be a minute” Maybe says, pulling into a 7-11, borrowing money and time you will never get back. You watch the people coming and going in the parking lot and think it would be good to get out for a minute and stretch your perspective.  But as you try to spatula the backs of your legs off the hot vinyl seats the pain seems a sign from the Universe that any change in position will rip your skin off, so you stop squirming.

Maybe is a placeholder pontificating about how Later is bringing the party.  It should be starting any minute, when some mysterious external force creates the perfect circumstances.  Until then you travel in a circle getting older and carsick, looking at the map and wondering why it’s taking so long to get to Yes.

You had your choice of rides but you chose Maybe because it seemed safe and honest, Maybe makes no promises and keeps Disappointment on the other side of the windshield.  At this point you’ve been together so long that calling a cab seems rude somehow, even though you’re the one paying for gas and a cassette of “Leg Warmer Love: Power Ballads From the 80’s” is jammed in the deck and has been playing over and over and over. If you got out and walked at least you’d be out in the sunshine, at least you’d be moving forward of your own power and determination, at least you wouldn’t have to keep inhaling the Cool Ranch Doritos on Maybe’s breath.

You know a few miles down the highway Confusion and Fear will make you go really slow past a construction site where no one is working even though orange cones block all the lanes, but then there’s the exit to Now.


Now has a glamorous skyline with twinkling lights of possibility and kindred road trippers handing out free cookies and moist towelettes.  They know the journey has been long and dusty, they know that Insecurity has been throwing empty beer cans at you and shooting it’s  hunting rifles in the air to make you jump, and they know that it has been worth it to get to Now, and you will never want to leave.

Jason Martello