Wednesday, August 15, 2012

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin-On The Road Circa 1972-A Detour

Fidgety. No, not some usual schoolboy preternatural eternal girl swaying in the mind’s eye breeze, next-up girl swaying fidgety, but fidgety, get out of town, get out of the rut, hit the Jack Kerouac asphalt highway curve- kicking Dean Moriarty gear-shifting road (pressing on after a mad midnight to dawn fresh air late 1971 re-reading of On The Road, the first time was just 1962 kid’s stuff trying to get out of the house kid’s stuff, and just reading what everybody was reading to be cool, to be beat, late faux beat as it turned out), farmer brown get the stink blown off fidgety after wasting away so much breeze on this and that, inconsequential this and that.

And just maybe too, get out of town, get out of the hot humid Boston nights that disturb his sleep, hit the highway, to rekindle a sagging girl sway relationship that was heading to the rocky shores (see I told you it goes to the grave, eternal, or close). It was that kind of time. Rocky shores, by the way, just then meaning aversion to “commitment,” commitment to white picket fence complete with fully mortgaged white picket fence house, running field dogs, mutts maybe, and flowered gardens (left unspoken those two point three kids to clutter up said house, to pet such dogs and to run amok in the petunias but she, Joyell she to sagging girl sway name her, at least knew how not to sell her case).

Jesus, no, jesus one thousand, no, one million times no, not after he had just escaped, and barely, steel-barred rooms, dram shop de-drunks, and erased sweet bobby kennedy-visioned dreams of forty years, a pension, a gold watch and some minor thefts in the service of the people. No, he roared, let’s just shake the dust of this town and see what happens kind of gentle like. Okay. Ah, okay. Joyell finally seeing the light okay, he thought.

So off into the chili night (no sic, chili, the final southern destination was winter Mexico before the drug cartels blew into mountain breeze Cuernavaca) they roamed, or rather prepared to roam. Prepared with Salvation Army’s, Joe’s Army-Navy, Harry’s Cheapo Depot cheap, serviceable camping gear, or rather the bare minimum they could squeeze in that broken down box of a car (a Datsun, a gone automobile name yellow, and far from his (and mine too) boyhood dream ’57 Chevy cherry reds) that he had managed to cadge off some guy, a friend of a friend guy, who had no cash, needed to get west fast (or at least out of town and west was the only way unless he figured on swimming).West fast meaning either girl trouble or some imminent drug crash out, busted no question, knowing whose friend of a friend he was. They, smart they, smart Joyell they, had set aside plenty of funds just in case this rag-a-muffin of a car decided to join its Zen spirit master on some by-road west when they headed north. North, then west, then south.

Working funds to see them through thick and thin? Well said white picket fence dreaming yankee lady had some dough, some father Manhattan NYSE stockbroker (or some such profession he never really did get all the details of his occupation although he acted like a damned proper don in some Mafioso dream sequel and so just in case he or his capo progeny are around let’s stick with stockbroker), which then meant dough, daughter dough. But said princess daughter (WASP daughter, alright) found herself slumming (if dream slumming really, and talking about it too with all her waspish girlfriends like some red badge of courage, but you probably figured that out already) with some half-heathen, half-broken, faux Irishman and while she was not above white picket dreams she still insisted that on this trip they would do frugal, thrifty yankee “dutch treat.” And this fidgety dog-fearing, white paint-hating, and weed-loving half-heathen wanted to have his own dough just in case he decided that he had to go to Butte instead of Beverly Hills in a fit of hubris. Oh, freedom, dough freedom.

So our brother, our story brother, Peter Paul just in case you had forgotten his name, worked at this and that and if you asked him (or her, but with scowls) what he did you would receive the usual hobo tramp bum – “a little of this and that.” A little this and that really meaning “the best he could,” just in case the statute of limitations has not run out. And “the best he could” got him that yellow box car, a couple of army sleeping bags(vintage World War II, of course, no Korean War/Vietnam War stuff to revile his dreams, or her dreams of him when she played him a hero, their love was fresh, and they fell fitfully down in first days 1971 New Hampshire snows and kissed gentle kisses just to see what it was like to kiss a hero she later told him and he laughed, and she reddened, and he reached out his laughing hands to her, and, and, but on with our travel story, you can figure out what those laughing hands did, can’t you), a small two-man army surplus tent (excuse me, two person, both to reflect the “new age” of person-hood and that that two part was all that could possibly fit into the damn thing, not even a stray dog could nuzzle his or her nose in), and a “house” worth of utensils. Canteens, Coleman stoves, mess kits, all very travel-worthy stuff as he knew from his minute now expired field army experience. Cheapsville, very cheapsville stuff, got it.

And off, hot August dog days off, heading north to catch a breeze and a dream before it got too cold, or the funds ran out after those first days of spending more than was budgeted because this or that cost more than expected. Backup though- some yankee stockbroker would come through, or some half-heathen would take another stab at “doing this and that.” First stop old time yankee gangway to fresh seas hideout from the Irish and other assorted trash Kennebunkport. (Not Kennebunk, that was for the heathens, she told him without qualification or guile, personal knowledge told him, and he was proud that day she told him, proud of his little smitten waspy conquest and gave just a peep of a thought that maybe a white picket fence might not be so bad with such a find.)

First night sleep out in some yankee farmer’s blueberry late season black fly field and first crack of setting up camp. Long hours to set “pup” tent (with no room for pup, no way, save that for dream white picket fences and petunias), fix hungry dinner on the big pot averse Coleman stove and wait for eternal, infernal water to boil for fresh day coffees and giggles. They are off, they are finally off, they are free, and they are one day into hard adventure and still in one piece- the morning would tell that same tale. Hey, this is easy, he said, easy before the fidgets could speak.

Heading north bright next morning to yankee Bar Harbors, maybe deeper yankee than Kennebunkport (with no Kennebunk for the heathen refuge, just Ellsworth) and more tents, and more eternal, infernal waits for precious coffees. North more, Campobello, north Calais (callus; don’t call it some French thing though if you don’t want to get into an argument). Then more slowly, more north to New Brunswick, sweet Moncktons and switch off youth hostel indoor one night living (nobody probably every called that dorm hostel sweet before, no reason to, but I will remain discrete and let you just think of laughing hands), north more to Nova Scotia (New Scotland, no question) Neil’s Harbor tents and Peggy’s Cove bed and breakfast inn (figured in the funding, so don’t get nervous). Push until no more norths (or easts) can be seen short of flight or boats and then west, the great blue pink America west night adventure waits and they are both like two intrepid pioneer kids (although now, after a few weeks, old camping hands) hard –faced to the wind.

Still more Canadian lands but island Prince Edward Island lands, sweet Charlottetown, rocked inlet boats, and another bed and breakfast, this time with ocean view and white picket fences but both of them are too rough-hewn now, just now anyway after several weeks on the roads, to care a fig for white picket fences. Or rustic scenes and rolling farm lands, and endless sea-side fishing villages just starting to fog up and rust up with lack of shoals work. Time for the cities, time for Quebec City and Montreal down the mighty Saint Lawrence and ooh, la, la French delights. And lights other than stars, sounds other than night cicadas, and talk other than get firewood, get tent pegs set and hammered, sleeping bags morning dew aired out, and fresh coffee boiling waits, infinity waits. Edge city waits.

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