This is day one of my spring drive from San Jose to Edmonton. I am currently in Winnemucca, Nevada having driven for over seven hours. The first half of the journey was all traffic and the second half of the journey was all mountains and windy northern desert.
You know how when they show tumbleweeds in movies they are just sauntering down freeways looking all soft and innocent? Well, they aren’t really like that. One came at me today at about 50 mph accompanied by trash and rocks. Those bits and pieces all hit my car with a series of clonks and bangs before heading off to the southern side of the road. I haven’t seen any damage, but then again I haven’t looked very hard.
I had planned to listen to my music collection en route, but it turns out that since iTunes recently updated itself, I no longer have it all. I have some songs, but in the majority, all I have are the names of some songs accompanied by silence. I suppose I have to figure out how to download them all to my phone again.
Anyway, audiobooks saved the day. I started out listening to Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. It’s about the third time I’ve tried to listen to this book but it is really, really long and, for a book that is intended to be uplifting, it is quite wearying. For example, he goes into great detail about the infinitesimally small statistical likelihood that any country will engage in a nuclear war. So, I didn’t get very far with that.
Then I started listening to The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. So far I’ve listened to two chapters and I’m loving it! I think I like it partly because the author, Oliver Burkeman, has a sense of humor that I enjoy. At one point, in reporting on a speech about positive thinking by George W. Bush, he focusses on the dour appearance of his security guards. Clearly, they hadn’t drunk the Kool-Aid.
As I was listening to these I was enjoying the beautiful scenery. There was snow at the top of the Donner Pass but none on the road. It was mostly an uneventful journey, aside from seeing a few FedEx trucks with two trailers (i.e. three containers in all) being blown off course by the wind. And, of course, there was that darned tumbleweed.