Charles Bukowski

The Lucky Ones

stuck in the rain on the freeway, 6:15 p.m., these are the lucky ones, these are the dutifully employed, most with their radios on as loud as possible as they try not to think or remember. this is our new civilization: as men once lived in trees and caves now they live in their automobiles and on freeways as the local news is heard again and again while we shift from first gear to second and back to first. there's a poor fellow stalled in the fast lane ahead, hood up, he's standing against the freeway fence a newspaper over his head in the rain. the other cars force their way around his car, pull out into the next lane in front of cars determined to shut them off. in the lane to my right a driver is being followed by a police car with blinking red and blue lights - he surely can't be speeding as suddenly the rain comes down in a giant wash and all the cars stop and even with the windows up I can smell somebody's clutch burning. I just hope it's not mine as the wall of water diminishes and we go back into first gear; we are all still a long way from home as I memorize the silhouette of the car in front of me and the shape of the driver's head or what I can see of it above the headrest while his bumper sticker asks me HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR KID TODAY? suddenly I have an urge to scream as another wall of water comes down and the man on the radio announces that there will be a 70 percent chance of showers tomorrow night

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