Being on the road is one of my favourite past times. Whether the journey is exotic or mundane, I feel happy moving. I once spent five years using a suitcase for all my clothes, ready to go at a moments notice, wherever I was. I expect it is one of those deep hidden needs that I am always trying to connect with, the nomad in our forebears is always within us. For those who like their holidays, the sense of getting to the end of the journey and sitting on the beach is enormously satisfying. It must be, to cause so much happiness with families and friends making room for each other and staring at the sea. But perhaps what they are really celebrating is the journey they have just taken. A throwback to the long journeys our ancestors took so many years ago.
Recently I have stayed in a few hotels, I enjoy them all, good or bad, they can be a few hours of blessed peace and solitude in a busy existence. This summer I stayed in a hotel in a motorway services. Waking up late one morning amid the business of the impersonal and rushing commuters and drivers and families rushing from A to B, was discombobulating, and I felt like a leaf blown in the wind among the serious mechanisations of the day. I thought about the people who worked there. Perhaps they knew each other and lived nearby, for them this was part of the fabric of their lives, but for us travellers it was just a fleeting pause in the journey, with no memory or interest in the people who serve us. Conversation is perfunctory and to the point. We treat the staff like automatons, any interaction is made to get from A to B without any preamble, humour or humanity. There is a queue behind, and we need to get back on the road. ‘Large soy latte… Please’.
The idea for this short story came to me while I was laying in bed watching the comings and goings of the service station outside my window, feeling like I was on an island in a fast flowing stream, great swards of humanity attempting to cross. I pondered on the existence of the place, for who remembers these stops, and if no one remembers who is to say it happened? Slip Road is a short story available for very little money from Smashwords or Amazon and available for all download media.