Unknown Legend


With a few minutes between flights at the airport in Paris, I hoisted my body out of the chair, put my messenger bag over my shoulder, and made my way toward the gate for my flight back to America. It would be the final leg in my trip back home.

As I stood on one of those flat conveyor belts, I thought how nice it would be to no longer be in transit. Then I realized what an illusion that is. We are always in transit even as we stand still. As a precocious young man reminded me recently, all the cells in our bodies are in constant motion, we just can’t perceive it.

My mother was a charter bus driver, taking people to and from San Francisco and places like Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. She read Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and listened to Neil Young’s Unknown Legend.

Up there, behind the wheel, the landscape moved over her—the same landscapes made different by the changing light of the sun and moon.

On my flight here, I was served a dish she often made for me: cheese blintzes with strawberry jam. Perhaps it was her way of telling me she was proud of me.

Of all the surprises on this trip, the most outrageous was that in all of France, I saw not one Citroen DS5. Yes, I saw a few of the new ones, but I’m talking about the classic, the icon, and the car my father drove for so many years of his life. Their absence is mysterious. Maybe my father didn’t really die, he just moved to France, bought all the DS5s in the country, and opened a classic car rental company in Monaco. I wouldn’t put it past him.

As for me, I can’t wait to get home and hug a certain someone for a long time—our cells moving so fast we can’t perceive it.