March 3, 2010

Miles Away

It's getting on to full dark, but if I stand under the light and stick out my thumb, do you think the car will stop? Would it be some creep, or somebody who needs to tell me about Jesus (I attract a lot of those), or somebody who could just be quiet and not ask too many questions? Maybe I'd luck out and get a laid-back old pot-throwing hippie chick -- it is Big Sur, after all. 

It's in my blood, I could say, when she asks.   A third generation, genetic predisposition to just skip town, see ya, sayonara. (No sorry -- never apologize.) 

I walked that road on an afternoon last summer, alone and facing the traffic whipping down this winding stretch of Highway 1. There were glimpses of Big Sur Creek and inner-tubers through the trees  below, down the ridge to my left.  Alone, alone, my heart sang, for I still feel most utterly myself when most utterly left alone.

If I got triple lucky with my thumb out there, I'd catch a ride with a non-curious old hippie chick, and she'd just happen to tune her car stereo into some funky NorCal radio station -- maybe out of Santa Cruz -- and it would be playing this song,  maybe not this rough live version, but you get the picture. Ain't nobody better than Neko for feeling wild and alone on a dark road.

How far will I get? It can't escape my notice that by driving south down the California coast, we're inevitably headed closer and closer to my home.  And I'll get pretty tense thinking too far ahead, and crush that hippie's mellow groove. She'll ditch me at a gas station somewhere around Hearst Castle with a patchouli-scented hug and advice to keep it real.  

Well, lucky for all us, the buck, or the DNA, seems to stop here. No skipping town for me, just a bad case or wanderlust, or maybe early spring fever, or just thinking too much. As usual. In deciding to write a memoir, I've been opening a lot of wormy cans, turning over a lot of stones (again: worms), and generally putting myself in a lot of strange mental cul-de-sacs.  On purpose! In the name of Art. More on that later.  Maybe. 

For now, I have a ride to catch.

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