Thursday, October 16, 2008

I had to get away today...

...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....

16 comments:

emd said...

I used to like to go to the desert to get away too. Back in the day, before Palmdale/Lancaster became a metropolis. It's still nice when you can get out to it, though.

MrScribbler said...

emd -- I'm hoping Palmcaster (or Landale) doesn't swallow up Mojave. Some good memories of stopping at that wide spot in the road, too....

John0 said...

I wonder if they ever have some need for a person to paint, fix things, do customer service etc. Obviously someone works there. Might not be a bad gig.

There are so many more cool places tucked away here and there than I realized. Good places can still be found.

Anonymous said...

That's one of the conundrums of a few more candles on the cake.....you've experienced more in life, and have more to dream about going back to. People I know who've tried to "go back" report it wasn't like they remembered it. Maybe it's best left just a dream.

S

Anonymous said...

As "S" said, maybe it is best left just a dream.

After my 30-year marriage ended, I was so lonely. A friend suggested that I make a list of the things I enjoyed doing. I used the internet to find ways to get involved. I love to square dance and I discovered a square dancing group in my back yard. I have new friends.

May you find peace within, Scribbs.

JJ

Anonymous said...

When I get really blue, I go to a museum or on a free tour. I live in a large city, so I can do that.

Is there a soup kitchen in your town where you could do community service work? It might help with the maximum austerity. I have met outstanding people from my community at the soup kitchen.

Laure

Anonymous said...

Love yourself, as you are, and where you are. It will open your world.

Barbara
(new JS journal)

Anonymous said...

I am also new to JS. I don't know you, but I read your journal.

Your JS is full of commments from interested readers. It appears that you are well liked. Sometimes the best way for me to get out of me is to reach out to others. When I pick up the phone to connect with important people in my life and ask how they are, I forgot how low I might be feeling.

I apologize if my comment has crashed your bog.

Andrea

betty said...

In better days the thing I would like to do most was get in the car and drive. I felt alive and free. I saw some wonderful places on my occasional jaunts. I miss that terribly.

Birdie said...

I enjoyed my drive through the desert when I drove from SD to Lake Havasu during my last visit. That countryside just has something about it...
And I have also been told that you should not revisit old haunts... treasure the memories as you remember them, and hopefully those were good memories.

Birdie

DAL said...

I used to go on drives for a few hours, but it was generally at night. I would take the freeway, or two lane, or even back roads. Sometimes a combination of all three. There wasn't much to see no matter where I went.

emd said...

i zapped my comment! Anyway, Mojave is a cool town. Or was. I have memories of eating at White's Cafe (I *think* that was the name) across from the Southern Pacific station, watching sugar beet trains roll through town. Way back in the day!

MrScribbler said...

emd -- "White's" it was! I ate there a few times as well.

Did you ever make it farther up Hwy. 395 to "Sprague's?" That was the one with a giant sign on a pole out front that said "EAT." Later, it became a Japanese restaurant (in the Mojave Desert!) and then burned....

joan said...

A road trip cheers me up. Nice to see some new territory. Sounds like you took a trip down memory lane.

ben said...

Nothing like a nice drive on the open road to clear out a few things in the grey matter. Glad to hear you got something to tide you over for a while. Personally, I wouldn't trade now for the "old" days for anything - too mahy people I used to know are dead from that era and died very young.

emd said...

No, I've been up 395 a few times, but never into Srague's. But, anyplace that has a sign that says only "Eat" sounds pretty good!