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26. April 2008, 4:30 Uhr, Geschrieben von Miriam Meckel

Cruise until forever lost


Driving in the U.S. is a pleasure. There is nothing more comfortable in this country than cars and roads. And there is nothing people do care more about. Driving from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Marfa, Texas, I detected the cruise function in my rental car. That is awesome! You pull a little switch and the car glides down the freeway with nothing but a tender move of my right hand to keep track. I didn’t even have to worry about the directions because a tiny black box, known as GPS, guided me to the right path. That device is called „Hertz Never Lost“.

Well, even a machine can’t always keep its promises. In the heat of the Southwest Texas desert the GPS started to faint. I kept on cruising – listening to the new Morcheeba CD and having been shifted into a superordinate mental zone where one couldn’t care less about routes. After a while it said: „When possible make a legal u-turn“, then constantly repeating itself. Interestingly enough I have a weakness for illegal u-turns not only when it comes to traffic. This time it was a bit more difficult. On an interstate through the desert with sandheaps between the tracks and trucks all over the place it would have been a bad idea to try one – legal or illegal. So I kept on cruising thinking there was plenty of time to arrive in Marfa.

What retracted me from my meditation ride was a police car behind me making an unpleasant noise and turning up the headlights in short intervals. It took me a while but then I realized that I would better have stopped immediately. So I did. The policeman approached my window and asked for the drivers licence. Everything was okay – my licence, the rental car contract, even me I think – but not my speed. „You were checked at a speed of 99 miles“ said the officer, „while 60 miles are allowed.“ I stared at him slowly realizing that this would become one of the more expensive lessons in meditation. He stared back. I tried to concentrate. Then I chose to perform the silly one. I explained to him that I could’t believe what he was telling me because I was always strictly obedient to speed limits. And then I started to blame the cruise function (which was really unfair because I had had so much fun before). I told him there was much too much technology in these modern cars and that one couldn’t concentrate on the driving anymore not to speak of speed limits because the car permanently demanded communication processes between its electronics and the driver.

„I’ll be right back“ said the officer and I lost any hope to get away with this. Then he came back: „It’s a warning. But be sure now to watch your speed.“ I happily took the ticket I would not have to pay for and by chance saw his watch. It was an hour later than I thought. I had just forgotten about the time difference between New Mexico and Texas. My meeting in Marfa was overdue and I had just saved a lot of money. So I went on (rediscovering slowness) and had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in a patio bar in Marfa. What a wonderful cruise day forever lost!

29 Reaktionen

  1. 26. April 2008, 6:25 Uhr, von Mesm
  2. 26. April 2008, 7:40 Uhr, von Susanne

    Seltsames Fellowship…

    Es handelt sich wohl um so eine Art Schnitzeljagd durch die USA. Naja dann: Keep on movin‘ (wie wäre es mit einem Motorrad – da bleibt frau besser bei der Sache)

  3. 26. April 2008, 7:55 Uhr, von Kirsten

    Dear MM, very cool story and the way you tell it I guess it didn’t scare you much to get stopped by the police. But you didn’t tell us the reason why the let you go. What’s your guess? I am really curious (just because I would try this the next time they stopped me! ;-))

  4. 26. April 2008, 8:55 Uhr, von Gabi

    Puuuuh ! Dachte schon wir müssen für die Kaution sammeln gehen : )

    MM, schön laaaangsam fahren. Dabei nicht schminken und nicht essen. Bzw. dabei nicht erwischen lassen : )

    Hab bei den nächsten Zeilen schon auf das Verhandlungsgeschick gewartet. War gespannt, ob sich der Officer auch auf einen Deal eingelassen hätte; ähnlich dem Polizeibeamten damals…

    Einen Polizeibeamten oder Officer freundlichen anlächeln… hilft meistens ; )

    Weiterhin: Viel Spaß und gute Fahrt.

    Hätte diese Amerikareise gerne anschließend als Buch !! Bitte !!
    Fotos werden ja schon genügend gemacht. Die müssen da auch mit rein….

    Allen ein schönes Wochenende…

  5. 26. April 2008, 9:13 Uhr, von Susanne

    Der Blog erinnert mich langsam so ein wenig an Jeanette Wintersons „The Powerbook“, in dem die Erzählerin „Freedom, just for one night“ verspricht und ihre Geschichten per Mail liefert.

    „I can change the story. I am the story.“

  6. 26. April 2008, 10:18 Uhr, von Angela

    „I told him there was much too much technology in these modern cars…“ – very clever. Technics and women does not fit most people think.

    And Morcheeba deflects – great music!

  7. 26. April 2008, 12:04 Uhr, von Janna

    …na da hat sich die Rennerei nach der International Driver’s Licence mit Bürokratenwahn entlang der deutsch-schweizer Grenze ja wenigstens gelohnt !

  8. 26. April 2008, 12:42 Uhr, von julia

    what a great journey ! I enjoy it very much. i can almost feel the long distances, the heat when you step out the car and the vastness.

    In Marfa you should visit the Prada store:

    my choice for music (keeps you up;-) would be:


    or this one (might be to soporofic)

    and so many more..

    Heartz never lost – maybe the next car is from avis: they try harder.

  9. 26. April 2008, 12:54 Uhr, von Kata

    Tss, tss, tss… all the years of emancipation and fighting for women’s rights going straight down the drain in one moment of weakness…
    Would it have hurt that much to just pay the fee?
    But of course there wouldn’t have been such an amusing story to be told… ;-)

  10. 26. April 2008, 13:00 Uhr, von Siegmund

    Is Miriam Meckel in jail now ?

  11. 26. April 2008, 13:18 Uhr, von Jette

    > Would it have hurt that much to just pay the fee?

    sie war locker mal 39 meilen pro stunde (ca. 60 kmh) zu schnell. für weniger – allerdings in der stadt – durfte ich dort schon knapp 300 dollar blechen. solch eine erfolgreiche ausrede lohnt sich also auf jeden fall. ;-)

    > da hat sich die Rennerei nach der International Driver’s Licence mit Bürokratenwahn entlang der deutsch-schweizer Grenze ja wenigstens gelohnt

    nach dem führerschein fragt der officer immer, ich bin trotzdem sicher, dass der nationale reicht. ;-)

  12. 26. April 2008, 13:34 Uhr, von Drifting

    So what would have happened without the international driver´s licence? And – even more important -what would have happened without being such a smart Karen-look-a-like? It does not bear thinking about. Even good to know that MM had the glass of wine afterwards and not while cruising. Though I´m not quite sure, whether this is the TRUTH or just a CONSEQUENCE of feeling allready warned. Anyway, – are you sure that the cruise function really works correctly?

  13. 26. April 2008, 13:35 Uhr, von Walter

    ‚Then I chose to perform the silly one.‘
    …’I told him there was much too much technology in these modern cars and that one couldn’t concentrate on the driving anymore not to speak of speed limits because the car permanently demanded communication processes between its electronics and the driver.‘
    – Sounds great but not silly. He hasn’t read your book, i guess.
    As long as there are officers on the the road you will never get lost.

    It is rather interesting to follow your way along the Mexican border.
    Google Earth says: from T or C to Marfa, Texas are 313 miles, 5 hours 32 min. 60 miles per hour with a pause of 20 minutes. Perhaps it happened on frontage road near Van Horn? There you had to turn right, says Google.
    Next Junction, San Antonio?
    Morcheeba, Dub- soul- trip- rock- meditation- trance- pop‘, I didn’t know with awareness till now, but I knew this sound. The Godfrey brothers will be in Berlin on 1st May, at the Radialsystem V- who likes it…

  14. 26. April 2008, 13:44 Uhr, von Angela
  15. 26. April 2008, 15:52 Uhr, von Walter

    For cruising – alone- I would prefer other songs.
    But you have not to take this ‚Sunday Morning‘ as an example, wherever you will wake up.

  16. 26. April 2008, 16:26 Uhr, von Jette

    irgendwie macht sich bei mir leichte enttäuschung breit. bis jetzt kein einziger kommentar zu all den persönlichkeiten, die man als eisenhower fellow auf den meetings doch treffen müsste.

    stattdessen nur „blablabla“. das kann man als au-pair oder stinknormalen touristen auch alles selbst erleben, und das auch noch mit schmalstem budget. ;-)

  17. 26. April 2008, 16:27 Uhr, von Angela

    Oh Walter, that´s your music?

  18. 26. April 2008, 16:54 Uhr, von Angela

    (Mit Polizisten zu verhandeln, um am Bußgeld vorbeizukommen, ist irgendwie eine Herausforderung. Genauso spannend finde ich es, mit den Fahndern von der GEZ zu diskutieren…)

  19. 26. April 2008, 17:48 Uhr, von Martina Pink

    Liebe Frau Meckel, ich bin durch Zufall auf Ihre Seiten gestoßen und finde es wirklich klasse, wie Sie Ihre Eindrücke & Erfahrungen auf Ihrer USA Reise dokumentieren und diese so lebhaft & interessant vermitteln!Die Atmosphäre kommt hier in Berlin wirklich gut an. Vor allem das Video aus dem Grand Canyon fand ich klasse – es hatte so eine Leichtigkeit (trotz des schweren Wegs).Ich finde, es spricht sehr für Sie, das Sie einerseits einen „Prof.Dr.“ haben und andererseits „auf dem Boden geblieben sind“ – so wirken Sie zumindest.Viele Grüße Martina Pink

  20. 26. April 2008, 17:57 Uhr, von Helen

    After reading this, I went straight to the next cd- store and bought `Dive Deep‘

    Thank you Miriam Meckel ;)

  21. 26. April 2008, 20:07 Uhr, von anni

    I’m sure we all have a kind of light switch deep inside. And we can switch it on and off when we want to reach something – as in this case not having to pay the fine. It is quite helpful for example when your car needs an inspection and you come to the garage without a fixed date and you want the mechanics to do it up to the next morning… So you switch on this kind of personal magnetism – just ask if there is any chance to get the inspection up to the next morning, make your eyes shine, be charming – and if you are convincing enough it works. Just the same with offices, insurance companies, bank clerks and so on.
    I didn’t use this „switch function“ for years. I always thought it was too „slimy“ and everyone would notice at the first glance that I only want to reach something. But today I don’t regard it as slimy – I just think it is „being nice on demand“.

    By the way: I got the Morcheeba album a week ago – and it went straight to the hot rotation while driving…


  22. 26. April 2008, 20:20 Uhr, von Walter

    ‚Oh Walter, that´s your music?‘ – Sometimes. It’s country music, not bad at all, and straight.
    ‚About taste cannot be argued‘? (@Angela)
    ‚What a wonderful cruise day forever lost!‘
    That’s enough, no other story. Only unavailable.

  23. 26. April 2008, 20:44 Uhr, von birgit

    „Interestingly enough I have a weakness for illegal u-turns not only when it comes to traffic.“
    I wonder which other u-turns are meant?!?
    Just keep your hands to the steering wheel when stopped by the police…. otherwise the sweetest smile might not help you.

  24. 26. April 2008, 22:30 Uhr, von na ich

    Lesson learned I:
    A women´s power is multifarious… A clever women´s power is omnifarious.

    Lesson learned II:
    Your speed is OK if you can explain it. Even when being faster…

    Lesson learned III:
    Never trust in someone who has no brain AND no heart.

    Lesson learned IV:
    Cruising brings you back to yourself.

  25. 27. April 2008, 1:13 Uhr, von julia

    the destination Marfa is a very well know town in the art world.
    -check out elmgreen&dragset prada store.

  26. 27. April 2008, 23:48 Uhr, von Marita

    Very clever your excuse to avoid to get a ticket from the police officer.
    It is a pleasure for me to read your commentaries nearly every day.
    One music tip from me for cruising on the apparently never ending roads in america is for example the song „everthing“ from Alanis Morissette. Try it and the day is yours.
    Sorry for my comment.
    Dear MM nice trip furthermore.

  27. 28. April 2008, 10:33 Uhr, von mo

    noch mehr musik zum cruisen: eignet sich auch wunderbar zum fahrrad fahren. augen zu und fliegen.

  28. 28. April 2008, 11:28 Uhr, von Alexandra

    Gosh, a German woman drives only through wide America, hears loudly good music and feels free. —– Sad, suddenly it is disturbed in her playful freedom – by an American policeman. She realises that she must do something otherwise it could become expensive.

    Some weeks ago in Berlins open-plan office she would have paid a lot for her driving licence.
    –Irgendwann verlor ich die Nerven. “Hier ist eine Bestätigung nach § 73, Absatz 2, sie ist aus Köln, wo ich gewohnt habe, bitte, schauen Sie die wenigstens an!â€?, flehte ich lauthals quer durch das Großraumbüro. ………………….. “Ich bezahle Ihnen, was Sie wollen, wenn ich nur diesen internationalen Führerschein bekomme.â€? —

    And in America she is very peaceful and plays the silly one, because she do not like to pay. “Then I chose to perform the silly one.â€? —- A difference that makes a difference. —-

    At the end she has made everything right. She has started in both cases, in the open-plan office and on the American street, a communication strategy which she led in the purpose – without hurt somebody.
    And at the end this is the most important thing, even if you have “a weakness for illegal u-turns not only when it comes to traffic.�

    Ms. Meckel, you did right with the glass of Sauvignon Blanc, after this excellent story you also would have earned a bottle. I enjoy her small stories of the differences. It is good that the smaller are also followed.
    In some weeks it becomes quite difficult without getting by her almost daily anecdotes.
    Maybe it would be, that the dream would fulfilled write a book in the USA – so, we get more.

  29. 1. Mai 2008, 2:09 Uhr, von pkwler

    At least it seems Marfa had more to offer than two cars passing by and a library.

    Maybe you should have performed your stunt for the police after or even better with the glass of wine.

    After having seen the youtube video can’t wait to read the accompanying story.


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