13 de septiembre de 2012

Diario de Colorado: Drive all night

Please don't ask where we're goin'
I'm tryin' to race the light
And we can drive all night
We got what's left and we got what's right

(Elliott Murphy, Drive all night)

Después de pasar unos meses en Estados Unidos, entiendo mejor a Bruce Springsteen y la fascinación que los coches ejercen en sus personajes. El coche es el elemento esencial de la vida social en EEUU, sin él las pasas canutas para ir a comprar, para moverte en las ciudades, en las que el transporte público (salvo en las grandes) es más bien precario. Sospecho que Fort Collins no es muy diferente a la mayoría de ciudades pequeñas del país.

Puesto que las ciudades no suelen tener eso que los europeos llamamos centro, la mayoría de las tiendas se agolpan en los malls de las afueras. Aparcar es lo más fácil del mundo. Siempre hay un sitio esperándote a la puerta, para que comprar sea fácil, rápido y sencillo.

Un alto porcentaje de los coches son automáticos, así que la complicación mayor de la conducción, que es el uso del embrague y las marchas, desaparece (Que me lo digan a mí, que me está costando un mundo volver a usar mi coche sin que se me cale). Todo lo que hay que hacer es acelerar, frenar y dirigir. Posiblemente por eso, no sé si como causa o consecuencia, se puede conducir desde los 16 años.

No sé como será en otras partes del país, pero en el oeste se conduce bien. Llegas a la señal de stop y el que primero ha llegado pasa. Se pita poco o nada, la paciencia (o la condescendencia) abundan al volante. En la autopista nunca tendrás a un tipo pegado a tu coche azuzándote para que aceleres. En este sentido, conducir parece una actividad muy cooperativa.

Por supuesto, el coche es la única forma de moverse de un lado al otro del país. Un amigo nos decía que, aunque su padre estaba enfermo, estaba tranquilo porque su hermano vivía cerca, a sólo 4 horas de coche. En ese tiempo, uno recorre media España. Pero no es capaz de salir de Colorado. Después de ver sitios perdidos en medio de la nada, como Kayenta o Rock Springs, uno se imagina convertido en un personaje de Springsteen, soñando con un coche con el depósito lleno que le permita escapar de esos agujeros.

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