So This is a Winding Road

There’s a form of writing called “stream of consciousness.” It’s like a polished brain storm and the best example I can think of is from James Joyce’s novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which basically opens with the thought process of the protagonist as a child, a baby really, and continues through to his adulthood. My grandma is another expert in stream of consciousness storytelling, but her style is oral history. She gets stuck on a subject and every thought that comes into her head on that topic escapes her mouth. It is absolutely hilarious and sometimes very thought provoking. The following short story is my transcript–near verbatim–of one of these gems. The parentheses contain my thought-commentary on her statements.

A Rambling History of the Development of Transportation throughout the Last Century

            Well you know, it’s amazing what they’ve come up with since the 1800s in transportation. You just think about what they were driving around, horse-drawn buggies, like when you read Sherlock Holmes he always gave chase in the…with the horse and cart. (I suggested hansom cabs.) Yeah, those, and they were driving around horse carts. Then in the thirties (she was born in ’31) we’d look up in the sky and it was something else that there were prop planes, four prop, with the banners flying behind. Just something, and you know then the fifties and cars, and young kids with their “hot rods” and cruising around, everyone with cars. Now the sixties with all those airplanes flying you to places, and people going to the moon! And now, well, you got all these cars and jet liners and these ships that go under and oh, my, ships so big you’d think they’d sink. (Guess she never heard of the Titanic.) Oh, and before that there were SSTs with two hours to Europe from New York, but they don’t fly Concordes anymore. Too much waste of oil, not fuel-efficient…Oh! but they zipped. Not too long ago it was just hansom cabs and whatnot, with horses. Five miles an hour was good then, but now…. Oh, and they’re already, you know the Enterprise? Star Trek, well they’re not jumping people but small things they are, they’re working on it. Soon we’ll be commuting to Mars! Well we’ll just see.

(I guess she forgot about trains!)


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