Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How's this for nostalgia?

silver morning

Entries from my previous blog. I left Brooklyn in November of 2004, just as the election craziness was getting underway. I'd only been in NY for a year and a half and already I needed an escape. So I left my non-home in Brooklyn on a cross country trip with an old high school friend and headed to the farm where I spent most of my summers since I was 13.

Oct. 27, 2004
i swear the things i think about when i don't want to be thinking.

1. hillsborough, ca - i don't even remember this home but from what i've heard, it was nice.
2. burnaby, bc - all i remember is the giant trampoline in the backyard, the second floor solarium where i had my 6th birthday party and lindsay's sandbox next door.
3. foster city, ca - small and cozy; we had a lagoon in the back and a rubber boat - we could boat to nicky's house or to the shopping center for groceries and ice cream. my bedroom was wallpapered with 2 different kinds of paper; i shared a bathroom with giles and we used to lock each other out of it in the not-so-memorable bathroom wars of 1986. the notorious blue poop is born.
4. woodside, ca - a huge property with guest house; long sloping driveway good for riding down on the roller racer; somersaults in cardboard boxes; kick the can, water fights, playing tennis against the garage door; my own bathroom; a dining room and living room we never used; a wine cellar in which we stored xmas ornaments
5. san juan, manila - my grandparent's home where i shared a bedroom with giles for a few months.
6. ayala alabang, manila (palosapis st) - this house was notoriously easy to sneak in and out of. the foundation and structure were built of cement because of the typhoons and therefor it was practically soundproof.
7. indonesia - we stayed about 3 months whilst in the middle of the southeast asian world cup qualifiers - our apartments were on top of our horses' stalls and we had an outdoor kitchen. 5 times a day we would hear the call for prayers. a 5 minute walk took us to the pool, complete with mini clubhouse where on our last night we cooked a huge filipino feast for everyone. i seem to have blocked it out for some reason. could it be because i saw my mom get completely wasted that night? dancing with one of the federation officials? coming home at the buttcrack of dawn and then spending the entire day moaning and groaning with an ice bag on her head?
8. molave st - my family moved here after i left for college. i don't really remember much of it at all - just bits and pieces of the backyard and my bedroom.
9. hackettstown, nj (grand st.) - my surrogate family was born here, with anywhere between 5-8 people living in the house at once. we had an open door policy, which meant that on any given day i could walk in and find none of my roommates there...but a cluster of their friends grouped in front of the tv playing video games. and also, drunks from the bar next door walking in and asking for water or "where's joe?"
10. madison st. - and then we were 3, me rc and lee. a house that was made into a duplex, where the font door opened right into our bedroom. use the back door please.
11. new york, ny - we never really did fix the place up. it was tiny but it had a good kitchen and hardwood floors. and we ate on the floor.
12. brooklyn, ny

this home, this room, this is the worst fucking place i've lived in my whole life. not because the plumbing is bad or the heat doesn't work or it's a shithole. it just doesn't feel like home. i get here, distribute the mail (when i remember to get it) and then retreat to my hole. if i want to see b i have to msg him, tell him i'm coming over and then speak in hushed tones lest the hulking beast that is our 3rd roommate hear. i'm glad i'm leaving for a spell.

i'll be returning to my second home. i doubt much has changed. if i concentrate hard enough i can conjure up the smell - leather and dogs and hamburgers and coffee and sawdust and horses and open air. the brown shag carpet, the wagon wheel-turned coffee table, the needlepoint clown pillow on my bed, the too-soft down pillows, the handpainted ceramic plateware, the quilted blue placemats, the fridge always stocked with caffeine free diet pepsi and corona, the boxed ice cream in the freezer... i remember it better than my own home.

i've been waiting so long for this it doesn't seem real anymore.

Oct. 29, 2004

I’d forgotten what a pain it is to travel in New York. Unless you are in a car from home to airport/bus/train you are fucked. I left the house with all my shit, only after one nasty spill on the steps. My beast of a roommate was coming home just then and couldn’t even bother to hold the door open for me.

I made it to 8th avenue without any mishaps and thankfully an older woman noticed that I was all retarded with my bags and helped me up the elevator and across to my connecting train, which of course was full and of course I nearly fell on my face because there was hardly anywhere to move.

I got to Port Authority, picked up my ticket and almost got on the wrong bus to MD. The bus ride was fine until some smartass decided to let loose an SBD, stinking up the entire ride for about 10 minutes.

Oct. 30, 2004

We are busy packing up Ryan’s van. “As long as it goes,” I’d said to him on the phone. And it goes. But it is a fucking monster! The sliding door doesn’t close and has to be wired shut through a latch that he drilled into the back. Also the driver and passenger doors do not open from the inside; on the driver’s side you have to roll down the window (power, surprisingly) and on the passenger’s side you have to open the back window, stick your arm out and then let yourself out. He has a crash site which consists of a narrow bedroll, sleeping bags and several crocheted hippy blankets. His whole life is packed into the van - drum kit, several thrift store guitars, easel, tools, music, clothes.

I arrived in MD last night and we drove about an hour or so to his sister’s house in VA. Last I saw her, we were dropping her off at her 8th grade dinner dance. She made us food, let us crash in her room and then printed out driving directions for us.

I had a succession of weird dreams. The first was about my dead friend Ismay. The second, about my friend Matt - we were walking around in some wasteland looking for jobs. And in the third, I was in the bathroom and I had to crap real bad. I almost didn’t make it to the toilet and as I was sitting on it, people just started busting in and out on me. I guess what that means is, I lost my shit, and everyone was there to see it. Not a terribly good omen the night before our trip.

DUDE AT 1ST STOP IN OVERALLS STRESSING ABOUT GAS CAN: I ain’t drivin across the street just so’s I can eat and then back across to git gas...Hell, I left my keys in my truck too so someone could just drive off with it. Whup! There it goes!! HAH HAH HAH!

Oct. 31, 2004

It’s hard to drive while trying to find animal shapes in the clouds overhead. I haven’t driven in over two years and even then, it was around rural New Jersey and not on the open roads. I’m hoping the fact that we’re driving on major interstates makes it easier.

Drove through 2/3 of Ohio by myself. The winds were pretty strong and kept blowing me to the side of the road but we kept chugging at a steady 70 mph. We kept going until we hit Indiana. Stopped at a rest area for dinner and then slept in the van. It was hard to fall asleep - the bedroll is only meant for one person and the winds kept up and started rocking the van. It was cold as hell and there wasn’t much room to fit - I kept kicking the snare drum and waking myself up. Ryan woke up at around 6am and started driving while I finally got some real sleep in. I awoke sometime later to Bob Dylan singing about wishing someone were dead...going to their funeral to see them lowered into their death bed...

It’s Halloween. We spent it at a diner in Ottowa, IL with bottomless cups of coffee, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, eggs cooked in fake butter, and sausages. Once we hit middle America we were able to smoke indoors so I remembered to bring the smokes in wherever we went.

While Ryan changed the oil I decided to stock up on smokes. $3.49/pack! 3-pack deal - $9.00!! God bless the midwest. In New York they’re $6.50/pack. In Brooklyn.

Today we are going to drive 15 hours.

* * * * *

Things were going pretty smoothly until we suddenly got a flat tire. We heard a loud BANG! and gave each other scared looks. Ryan dicked around for a bit - our problem was that the jack was too small to lift the van up high enough to get the tires on and off. He finally gave up and settled on the grass at the side of the road. I was pissed, I wanted to get back on the road and I had no signal to call for help. Cornfields for miles.

Finally a trucker stopped to help us. His name was Al, with trucker breakfast belly and Wrangler cowboy shirt, clip-on shades and cowboy boots. He got right down on his belly and figured out a way to jack the van up high enough. As we were putting all our shit away we saw a kid about 18 or so walking towards us on the shoulder. We thought he’d come to help; he was carrying a plastic bag.

Ryan: Hey man.
Stranger: What’s up. Name’s Derek, friends call me Double-D. (WHAAAAT?!)
Ryan: What’s in the bag, man?
Double-D: Some Smarties...Time Crisis...Gonna play some video games...
Ryan: Need a ride, man? (he calls his mom that too)

So we took Double-D about 10 miles down the road to the Iowa City exit. He offered to smoke us out but we declined. Seemed nice enough. He learned that we had been driving since PA and his eyes nearly popped out of his head. “I’d just as soon go all the way out to California with ya’ll!”

We continued on without any more problems and had an okay dinner at a rest stop diner where our waitress Shari was disturbingly perky and dressed in a purple and black court jester costume. We paid as soon as we could and got out of there.

It’s near impossible for me to drive at night. I can’t see shit and the lights from the other cars are blinding. The van, who I’ve come to call the Moose, doesn’t have high beams and the regular lights are about as good as parking lights. Maybe I should drive with contact lenses in.

I’m cranky. Tired. And PMSing.

I’m cursing all the people who said the road trip would be so much fun.

Nov. 1, 2004

In Wood River, NE we stayed at a small motel in a room that smelled clean and had two beds, thankfully. It was good to shower and get some real sleep. I got to read my book while Ryan showered and watched TV. Some program about a freak whose passion was to dress up cockroaches. He kept them in the freezer, then baked them for a couple of hours before applying paint and other accessories to them. It was sick. He even had a Paris Hilton cockroach with handbag and hat.

Off to a late start. Stopped at Wal-Mart for supplies (socks, white tshirts, soap). I made Ryan buy some deoderant. Then we got new tires for the Moose. And then lunch. He wanted to try out this Chinese buffet. I said yes only because I was ready to chew off my left foot. It was shitty - mostly fried food and a salad bar that had chocolate pudding. Fast food would’ve been way better.

Stopped in at Buffalo Bill Cody’s museum which was set up to look like a fort from the outside. Inside were the usual tourist trappings - “American Indian” jewelry, moccassins, knives; candy, jewelry boxes, cowboy hats, tie dyed tshirts with wolves, pins, stickers, pens... I did all my souvenir shopping there and bought magnets shaped like all the states we were driving through as well as a pink cap gun with matching holster. Because it’s FUNNY.

The sky in Nebraska is low and gray with a thick cloud blanket. In the distance I can make out a sliver of sunset. There is a storm in Colorado, I think we are going to be driving right over it. It’s gonna be cold as fuck and I’m not looking forward to it.

Nov. 2, 2004

We are almost there! We are in Wells, NV. As soon as we crossed the border the first thing we noticed were billboards for casinos - even the shitty ones. Casinos everywhere - mini slot machines at gas stations, at rest stops, at diners. This state is ridiculous.

Ryan drove until 6am today after my four hour stretch through the Rocky Mountains last night. I wish it had been daylight at the time because I’m sure it would’ve been nice too look at, not to mention a lot warmer than 18 degrees. My feet were freezing and I could barely feel my toes even after putting on a second pair of socks.

Today, after napping for about two hours we are off again. The radio got unhooked so Ryan hopped in the passenger seat with guitar and harmonica and played the songs he’d been working on since he moved out to Charlottesville. He’s got a pretty good singing voice though the lyrics need some work. I taught him how to work the iPod and he seems to like it a lot. We were cruising for a while listening to Madonna. I think we’ll get to California a day early.

Nov. 3, 2004

So we’re finally here. It took us an extra hour because of the stupid scenic route that Yahoo! (fuck you, Yahoo!) told us to take. It took us about 8000 ft. up a mountain filled with lodges and resorts with the poor Moose struggling and groaning the entire way.

I drove for about 10 hours. Ryan took over in Carson City when I missed the exit due my horror at being surrounded by cars. I do much better on deserted highways. I decided to hop in the passenger seat after getting hot fudge sundaes at McDonald’s.

Everyone worries about his driving. I wasn’t really that worried until we started heading down the mountain. He was tired and pissed off that we had taken that route and just took his foot off the brake and we went careening down the incline way too fast, slowing down only when there was oncoming traffic. He was trying to get off the mountain as fast as possible. Katz’s Thrill Ride O’Death. I had to close my eyes to keep from yelling and jumping across the seats to strangle him. We were listening to some pre-election day coverage on the radio. Maybe that's why he took his foot off the brakes.

We stopped in Jackson, about 30 minutes from home, to get some food. The supermarkets out here have a wine aisle - we got a bottle of cheap champagne to celebrate.

Upon arriving at the ranch you can only imagine my horror - no cellphone reception and only dial-up internet connection. I’ve been disconnected. I’ll see you all in March.

Goodbye, city life.

(Edited for content. Why did I like using the F word so much?)

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