It was time to Hit The Road, so I got in my brand new shiny silver Subaru. It’d cost almost all of my pizza delivery money, but I knew I couldn’t be a great Road Traveler without it. It was all wheel drive and could handle any kind of Road—street Roads, highway Roads, dirt Roads, steep mountain Roads, and snow Roads. I named the car Wings because it seemed like one day it could maybe even launch into the air and handle the sky Roads with the greatest of ease.
I loaded it up with my Traveler gear – pillow, phone, deodorant, rag, money, Jack Kerouac’s book, my own special new Professor-style blue tweed jacket for The Wedding, and of course The Great Trip Mix.
Then I filled up the tank at the Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains gas station and grabbed a couple two liters of Dr. Pepper.
But a strange thing happened when I tried to drive out of there. I couldn’t get myself to move the car. I just sat there looking at my hand, waiting for it to shift out of park.
“Oh no,” I said to Wings, “I think I’m getting some kinda paralysis.”
Neither I, nor the car knew what to do. I couldn’t remember any lesson on a Getting-Paralyzed-When-You-Wanna-Drive Reality Travel BoobyTrap. There was only one thing I could think to do—call The Professor.
“I can’t seem to get the car to go,” I said. “I can’t even get my foot to go on the pedal.”
“Are you dying?” The Professor said.
“You’re using your only phone call, you know.”
“But the trip hasn’t actually started yet.”
“Oh yes it did. It started as soon as you left my office.”
“You should be grateful I’m even giving you this one call. It should’ve been zero.”
“Can I just hang up and pretend this didn’t happen?”
“No, now that I’m on the phone, do you want to know what’s happening to you or not?”
“It’s Pre-Trip Fear. You know you’re going to get your ass kicked out there, and you don’t want to face it.”
“You’re right… What if the Road is too long or boring or lonely? What if I get in an accident? What if I get Dominated? There’s going to be MeNotzies out there like the HateKat and The Admiral & The General and everyone in NewYorkCity. And there might be SuperMeNotzies that I don’t even know about yet. What if I do die?”
“Relax, Bluebird. Pre-Trip Fear is very simple to overcome. All you have to do is take a deep breath and say the Traveler Motto.”
“Yes. I’ll even say it for you, but then I’m going to hang up, and you can’t call me again.”
“Be brave, Traveler, and remember The Gods are on your side.”