Alert

I always drove between Oakland and Madison non-stop, except for food and fuel, no naps, 24 hours straight on the interstate, then up to Cedar Rapids to Dubuque to Madison.

Not sleeping’s something I’d never dream of now, what with dozing off, old-folks’ style, on the freeway here if traffic’s at a standstill, or when I’m idling at a slow stoplight, my head nodding to the engine’s beat.

I’d never fallen asleep while driving, except.

In the middle of never-ending Nebraska, where the cologne of cattle should keep someone conscious, my eyes fly open wide to the crunching sound and grinding feel of the gravel shoulder, my tires digging in right up to the edge overlooking green pastures, oh Lord.

Power-nap defined.

I’m wide awake now, my adrenaline pumping as though Death were a breath behind me on the highway to catch me if he can.

My eyes glued open the rest of the ride, I finally collapse in my bed unsure if I’m dead or alive.

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