...and so I did, hopping into the car and heading off with no direction in mind.
I have spent so much time recently with my head and mind buried in each moment's new problems that, frankly, I couldn't take any more.
After a couple hours' driving, I ended up in the High Desert (as opposed, I guess, to the nearby Low Desert). Might seem strange that someone who has been feeling frighteningly lonely would crave a solitary road trip, looking through a windshield at miles and miles of, well, miles and miles, but it felt good...
The best part, I think, was that I was totally unreachable. No bad news could be heard. No good news, either, but as there was none of the latter, that didn't matter.
At one point, I saw a sign noting that I was only 250 or so miles away from one of my favorite areas. For a moment, the thought that I had just deposited a check and could actually afford to drive up there and survive for maybe a month in what is to me one of the most beautiful regions within reasonable distance tempted me.
Then, of course, I realized that the money in my account is more than spoken for. Ten times as much would be. So the fear of what might come after those lovely thirty days kept me on my more-or-less chosen path.
All was pretty much okay until I got back to the city. Traffic being what it was, I ditched the freeway and headed for some short-cuts I've learned over the years.
The route took me past several places I worked in the dim past. The first was a shack of a building less than a block from the Samuel Goldwyn Studios (at least it was called that then) and the mildly famous Formosa Cafe. Not much later, I passed another former workplace, a couple of blocks away from the last place where Edward D. Wood lived. I might even have seen him a time or two as I walked from work to the Pla-Boy liquor store (his source for cheap booze) to get a Coke during breaks. Finally, I drove by a place just down the street from Pink's Hot Dogs. I survived many a long night shift on the heartburn generated by their chili dogs....
I also drove past neighborhoods that held good memories of short but intense relationships (in days when any affliction one might pick up in the process could be cured by pills or, at worst, shots) and other kinds of exuberant behavior that just don't fit with the program these days.
Today, I am on a maximum-austerity program, which means no social life of any kind.
My mind filled with memories during this last part of the drive. I grew steadily more depressed, and remain so tonight.
Would I go back to those days? You damn betcha I would. I wasn't as nice a guy then; nor was I particularly concerned with much more than what Raymond Chandler and other writers of gritty detective fiction back in the 1930s sometimes referred to as booze and broads.
But that seemed enough. And, with hindsight, I sometimes wonder if, in fact, it really was more enough than I knew.
What I have now, what I do now, certainly isn't.
At this moment, I wish I had given in to the urge to keep on driving North today, not stopping until I got to Bridgeport, where I could eat at the Sportsman Cafe and stay in a dingy room at what used to be called "Slick's Court" until the money ran out.
Seems pointless to worry about what the day after that would bring....
21 hours ago