I love driving at night. I get this sense of chosen aloneness: of having left behind all that ties and contains me in the home I am not currently inhabiting; of having momentarily stepped aside from all relationships with those not present; even the camaraderie of seeing people in other cars whooshing by my own is carried away by the darkness. It is an alone that feels so eternal, in spite of being by definition transitory as I transition from one place to another, an alone that settles around me as comfortably as the arm of an old friend. I feel rather than see the trees and meadows calm and undisturbed by the speck of my passing car, and the neon brightness of strip malls and gas stations seem to belong to dolls rather than humans. Whether I sing along with a CD or settle into the silence of my solitary ride, what I experience is a quiet that has nothing to do with audible sound. Driving alone at night is a wonder.
At least, until I start to fall asleep. Then it's just a danger.