Friday, September 15, 2006

"Without fuel they were nothing. They'd built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche."

The world of "Mad Max" and "The Road Warrior" haunted me as a kid. Until my family got cable TV, the most I saw of the actual movies were scenes glimpsed in hotel rooms. I think viewing them out of sequence only accentuated their brutality, the stark despair that colors the franchise. They were movies I'd ponder endlessly and, perversely, attempt to recreate in my imagination, if only involuntarily.

I had a related bout of "Mad Max" fear during the recent heatwave. It was 103 degrees or so and I was driving down a street, windows open, taking in the weathered stripmalls, aging fast-food restaurants and ubiquitous Hummers. Max's universe suddenly became palpable. I was actually inhabiting it -- a nightmarish fiction become real.

The feeling passed (or at least abated) when I got inside. But I still felt detached, hovering at the schism between celluloid meltdown and oppressive post-millennial suburban reality . . .

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