After a quick trip to the food store I placed my groceries in the trunk. When I got home, I put them away, with the exception of three 12 packs of my favorite sugar free non caffeined soda. I actually opened one of those and cracked one for the drive to Zach’s house.

Hours later Zach and I were doing our usual highway rounds (see 1/22/21 post) and after taking a turn realized, the 12 pack had opened up in my SUV trunk. The cans were now rolling around, banging up against each other and the insides of the vehicle.

Not much I could do at that point, as it didn’t seem safe to pull over on the beltway just to fix the soda cans. So I continued driving, a little more mindful of not breaking too hard or taking sharp turns at too high a speed.

Once on local roads there was a can or two still clanking around, which reminded me to pop the trunk after we parked at Zach and he was safely back inside.

I opened the trunk and what sounded like many cans rolling around was really only two or three. I picked them up and put them back in the 12 pack sleeve, then positioned the three 12 packs in a way that no sodas were loose.

I didn’t see this coming, but when I picked up one of the soda cans, it was bent. The top was dented in several places, such that I am not even sure I will try to open it. What shocked me was my mind and heart’s immediate reference to Freddie Gray’s 2015 death in Baltimore, MD.

Do we really subject humans to “rough rides” in the back of vehicles, such that they become dented, broken and unable to function? The thought of a human being, restrained and thrown around unable to protect or shield any of the impacts made my stomach fall through the ground.

I don’t know much about Gray’s death. But I couldn’t help but think about the dehumanization and detachment from oneself, it would require for someone to intentionally batter up a person in a “rough” or “nickel” ride. I prayed for everyone involved, and closed the trunk.

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