As I drove west on Interstate 94 yesterday, the prairie opened before me. Then, as if to punctuate my arrival, splat. A yellow bug, and not a small one, met its fate on my windshield. At eye level. I smiled. It was somehow as much a homecoming as caramel rolls or roast beef sandwiches. No amount of windshield wiper fluid would remove it.
I remembered a drive eight years ago. I'd invited a 16-year-old Armenian boy named Gor to stay in Saint Paul for a month. The son of a friend, he is now a budding filmmaker and PhD candidate in philosophy.
It was dark and we were driving 70 miles per hour on the highway crossing North Dakota. Splat, splat, splat.
"Andzrev a galis (it's raining)," he said.
"Nope, it's bugs," I responded.
"Bugs. It's bugs."
The windshield was getting progressively covered, so I scooted a little
to the left, a little to the right, to see around the bug prints. When we stopped to fill the tank with gas, Gor grabbed the squeegee and started scrubbing. That's cute, I thought. It seemed naive to clean when it would be covered again in another 60 miles. I'd grown up with grasshopper carcases in the grill of my car during dry summers. It was just a fact of life.
Yesterday, when I stopped to fill the tank, I initially resisted washing the windshield. Then I wondered, why should I have to look around that yellow bug for another 300 miles? So I pulled out the squeegee again, and then headed to the roadside Authentic Mexican Restaurant for a late lunch and a birthday margarita. Here's to a clear view in the new year!