Fridays. End of the workday. End of the Week. The sunset always looks different to me on Fridays. As the sun goes down, and as dusk settles in, I love the way it looks when the street lights start coming on when it’s still light outside, the color of the green, yellow and red of the stop lights seem to jump out that much brighter on a Friday. Friday Night Lights are usually associated with high-school football games and, as I’m not that into sports, my lights are known as FridayNightLuces
As anyone who works in the Bay Area knows, Friday traffic is usually very heavy, people trying to make their getaway for the weekend, parents rushing to pick up children and get into their warm homes, folks going out to games, concerts, dinner and more. The roadways are jammed in all directions and one is always listening to traffic reports to hear the conditions of the road. I do the supercommute from the Bay to the Valley so I’m always doing the ‘ pleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGod’ that there are no accidents because then it’s all about grrrrrr! and a parqueadero atmosphere on the freeway. Most nights, I stop somewhere to wait it out: dinner, shopping, writing. On this Friday night, however, I had to be home so, ni modo, I had to be all up in that mess. As I drove, or should I say, as I did the stop and go thing, I started noticing the different types of lights — my FridayNightLuces.
I first saw the brilliant reds, reds of the hundreds of tailights in front of me. I knew that I was going to be on the road for a long while. I then looked into my rear view mirror to see the shiny, bright, lines and lines of white lights of the cars who were behind me on this journey, all trying to move forward. To my right, on the hills, I saw the warm, inviting lights of many of the homes and could imagine comforting things: a fireplace, dinner being prepared, people enjoying a meal around the table or in front of the TV settling in to watch a movie, the sound of a doorbell where pizza was being delivered yay no-cook mode, and, if I looked up and saw second-story lights on, my thoughts would go to someone getting ready for date night, music playing, a glass of adult beverage nearby, the smell of perfume, smiles as they look forward to the evening.
I then see the orange-ish color of lights along the freeway that always reminded me of when I lived in Denver because I loved seeing the world covered in snow and those orange-colored lights put such a cool glow onto the fallin snow. The orange-colored lights also took me back to a couple of places where I made out with a certain gentleman LOL for some reason, I could never figure it out, he always found the glow of those lights romantic and there we would end up!
As I moved farther down the road, I would see the dreaded lights of the sirens which could mean highway patrol – so it was all about get off of the phone LOL! Police in pursuit of someone, ambulance and/or fire trucks – and after doing the sign of the cross because it usually meant someone was injured or in pain. I would always breathe a “yes!” if the lights were on the other side of the freeway and hope that I wouldn’t be on the road that much longer.
On this Friday night, I saw the full moon rising. One of my very favorite lights is moonlight,always has been. Moonlight on the hills, peeking in through the trees, reflecting on my black Jeep. On my commutes, I get the privilege of seeing the moon rise and set many times. I finally stopped trying to take pictures of the moon as I drive because I can never get a shot good enough to do it justice; that, and it drives people crazy that I take pictures as I drive and upload them on the road LOL The skies were clear so you know that moon gave off an awesome light! A great view especially when I’m blasting music in my Jeep.
Two very comforting signs along my commute are as I look to the left, I am able to see the “Jesus Saves” and a huge cross all made out of lights, which tells me that I’m getting out of the Bay and into the Valley and a few miles later, I love seeing the HUGE American Flag flying in the wind a todo lo que da surrounded by lights – I always feel thankful that I live in a free country and things like that when I see the flag.
By the time I get to the last part of the commute, it’s as if all one sees is the flash, flash, flash of the signal lights. I hear a lot more honking horns and always joke that this is when the real road rage sets in, when people, me included, have like HAD it with driving with two hands on the wheel, teeth clenched, stressed because they have to be somewhere. Me, I have no patience for traffic at night so all I want to do is get off of that road and I can often be heard exclaiming out loud, “que vas a hacer? que vas a hacer? what. are. you. going. to. do? ‘get in there! no ves que te estoy dejando entrar?’ The lights lose their peaceful quality, I actually get irritated seeing the lights when, a short time before, I was completely entranced and lost in thought!
Our House at the Ranch
Once I get to my exit from the freeway and make that left turn down my road to the Ranch, where we grew up with my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins on my father’s side, everything starts to calm down. I again see the comforting lights of the homes as I go down the road, the lights over empty parking lots at the warehouses near the Ranch and then finally, at the Ranch, I turn into our fenced-off dirt road and smile because, of course, all of the houses are dark or almost dark, that is, all of the houses except ours, my fam are nite owls. All lights on, doors open (if it’s not cold), music or TV on, and I will usually find my Dad: writing, playing guitar, or as I found him on this Friday night, in his chair covered with a blanket watching flamenco guitar videos on “YouTube” — I then put my stuff down on a chair, smile and think that the light of ‘all is right in the world’ is a great one to come home to. #52essays2017