Blackhumouristpress's Blog

August 23, 2010

Road Trip of Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 6:03 pm
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Now Jack bought a one way ticket to Seattle, landed and took a cab to the suburb of Bellevue.  Down a dead end street on the second floor above a garage was the office of an elderly attorney who attended mass every morning at 9am then walked two miles to his office and began his day at 11am and then broke at noon for lunch.  Luckily for Jack, he showed up at 11:10am.  In the office were awards for racing Alfa Romeo cars back when the octogenarian had a full head of brown hair.

                “God damn computers.  Everything is computers and I hate these damn things…  You know anything about computers?” Asked the attorney.

                “Enough to do my job at home like a trained pony,” responded Jack.

                Jack listened to the man talk about the weather in Seattle and how he once had to visit Chicago for a court case.

                “Honest to god…  I get in the hotel and it stinks to high heaven of cigarettes and I was afraid I was going to catch something on my feet cause the carpet was so disgusting, you know what I mean?  So I’m walking around in my underwear and wingtip shoes.  I says to myself; this is ridiculous.  I went to court, then I sat at a jazz lounge til my flight left and never went back to Chicago.  Place is as flat as a board and is either too hot or too cold…  So let me ask you, what happened to your father-in-law?”

                Jack said very little as he packed up pictures and letters in a box to take back to his wife in Chicago.  Jack was there to pick up the automobile that once belonged to his father-in-law.  All Jack could think about was the little old man lying in a coffin with his eyes and mouth sewn shut.  A minister said some scripted, canned, semi-thought provoking words that he used over and over again about the celebration of life and god’s desire to call us all home at his discretion.  The closing of the casket and dropping into the ground and covering the casket with dirt and then the realization that generations and generations of people were placed in underground tombs for as far as the eye could see.  A little old man whose job meant more to him than his family, died and was remembered by four people on a late summer day and then that was it.

                “I don’t envy you, young man.  That is one helluva drive to make in two days.  Why don’t you take your time?”

                “Because I’m an American and as an American, it is necessary to rush through life so that we can get on with eternity and whatever that is exactly.”

                “Amen to that…”

                Jack was a hyperactive child back before ADD was a term and as a hyperactive adult, he did not relish the idea of sitting in a vehicle for thirty four hours.  Google said that it took thirty four hours at fifty five miles an hour.  Jack thought that if he could just average eighty miles an hour, he could shave the trip down to twenty six hours and twenty five minutes.  Jack wondered what he would think about for the better part of two days while driving east on interstate 90.  Jack had a habit of talking out loud to himself whenever he was alone and so he did.  It gave him something to do.

                “How come it is that whenever you get out of a big city, there’s nothing but Country Music stations?  How is it that I’m less than 100 miles from the Canadian border and everyone sounds like they’re from Alabama… For fuck’s sake.”

                “Two hours into this bitch and my hip hurts on my left side and I need a coffee.  I need a coffee so I can stay awake and then I’ll need to piss and then that will kill my time.  I could try to piss in a bottle but then I gotta worry about truckers or old people in RVs  watching me piss and then they’ll think I’m playing with myself and will wind up calling the highway patrol .  Fuck it, I’ll go to the rest stops but I hate them cause they’re overrun with fat people who picnic under signs of some monument to Sitting Bull or George Custer at an interstate bathroom.  George Custer fought people who once came from people in Asia who crossed an ice bridge and then they stopped looking Asian and migrated all over the hemisphere.  We mark the land were whites and Indians fought by building rest stops off of interstates. Now Indians own casinos where old white people in RVs pull up to eat at the all you can eat buffet and waste their pensions at slot machines with their air tanks, while smoking and drinking.  I would say the Indians win on this battle…  Casinos…  Everyone knows you have to smoke while you drink and drinking makes you feel as though you really can beat the odds.  Then while you’re sitting there quietly listening to the sounds of the slot machine give you double diamonds, a cherry and a seven and then you look over at the old lady you’ve been with since the Korean War and wonder what happened.  How did I get so old?  How did she get so old?  What happened to her face, tits and ass?  How did my life pass so fast and I never really did anything except what I was expected to do?  I had dreams and plans and never really got around to them and now I’m spending my vacation at an Indian casino…”

Jack then thought seriously about death without speaking.  He wondered what would be best when the day came.  Cremation did not sound so nice to him and the idea of being in a box and then the lid closed and then being placed six feet into the ground with no light or air, sounded almost worse than being made into ashes.  These sorts of thoughts never came to Jack until the funeral of his father-in-law and since then it was all he could think about whenever pondering the future.  The future was a highway like an interstate and although it seemed long, somewhere along the highway, there would be an exit with his name on it.

                Jack pulled off the highway at a rest stop and marveled at the variety of people that were hurrying up to rid themselves of matter from their bodies.  The old biker couples who had matching leather outfits made by Harley Davidson, bandanas by Harley Davidson, bikes by Harley Davidson and spiked dog collar made by Harley Davidson while they sat under the shade of a tree fifteen feet from their deluxe touring bike with an air conditioned side car for their pet.  A blond haired Minnesota woman with a modified Swedish accent that became a common American dialect if you happen to be from Duluth wore her hair and clothes much the way women did twenty years ago in places like Chicago, New York or Los Angeles.  A portly trucker with large side burns wore a sweat soaked cowboy hat.  He stood head pointed up towards the sun with his eyes closed as he took drags of a cigarette and sips of the seventy five cent coffee made out of a vending machine.  Children under ten yelled to one another and ran around the grass while older children sent text messages.  Jack sat in a pair of shorts and a t shirt that said, “I’d rather be in Cleveland”.  He opened the box of pictures and letters that were packed into the box by the attorney.  As Jack ate a cheese stick and beef jerky, he looked at pictures of anonymous people from the 1950’s.  They looked so attractive in suits and dresses.  It appeared they were at a picnic and showed up dressed to go dinner and dancing.  In the box were dozens of letters.  Jack opened a few as he ate.

                My Dearest Leon,

                                          I had such a great time today and am enjoying every moment of getting to know you and the essence of who you really are.  Taking a ride on the river with the Dixie Jazz band was a swell idea.  I can’t remember when I had a better evening.  The food, wine and music were perfect for such a humid night.  For late August, you’d never be able to believe that in a few short months, the ground will be covered with decaying leaves and snow.  We must take every moment for what it is and cherish it as a moment in time.  All we can hang on to are memories and as long as I have my mind, I will remember that our relationship took a definitive turn tonight.  Your hinting at what I may or may not want to do with the rest of my life was very sweet.  You caught me off guard actually.  I would like to spend the rest of my life with a man like you.

Yours truly and forever if you so choose- Dorothy

                There were pictures of Leon and Dorothy throughout the box as well as pictures of their friends and relatives and then their children.  Jack recognized the little girl who stood at waist level between her parents at some sort of a carnival.  A smiling toothless grin from the girl who would become his wife one day in between the two people that helped usher her into the world and aided her in becoming the person she grew to become.  Jack thought about the day when all he would be was a photograph in a box.  Then he snapped out of the deep thoughts and looked around and wondered when it was that people really got so fat.  When did people become morbidly obese, bloated characters of what a human is supposed to look like?  He wondered if it wasn’t some sort of population control by a hidden branch of the government by which the FDA approved fat laden foods, stuffed with hormones and chemicals so that people became very stupid, fat and lazy.  They would get heart disease, diabetes and fallen arches from the weight of it all and then pass on to make room for other beings and then possibly when birth rates lowered, the fat, chemical and hormonal levels in food would also level out.  Jack decided that had to be the plan.  Why else would grocery stores like Wholefoods be so expensive?  You would need an advance degree to get a job that would afford you the luxury of purchasing organic foods at extreme prices.  Weed out those that cannot contribute to society.  Poor and average people don’t have the resources to avert personal disaster.  Jack could no longer eat any more of the beef jerky. 

                “Pakistan…  They had biblical type floods in Pakistan.  They are our ally, right?  They have nuclear weapons and are harboring the creatures whose whole life purpose is to defeat the great evil which is America…  We’re going to send millions and millions of dollars to help people who detest us and when it’s all said and done, those at the grass roots level will recruit poor water logged people to do missions for their god against America…  Iran- they are a year away from having nuclear weapons?  What are the Israelis going to do about this?  What if Iran makes these weapons and gives them to terrorists or uses them against Israel?  Some guy under the age of forty just won an award for determining the rate at which the world is deteriorating? Sixty percent is irreversible damage caused by humans…  Like how could the Canadians be extracting oil in northern Alberta from sand and making huge bodies of tainted water that are a byproduct caused by pulling oil from deep in the earth?  Every ten seconds a cannon goes off to keep migratory birds from landing in the useless water and killing themselves.  This is all so I can pick up an eight cylinder vehicle in Seattle and drive it to Chicago without ever thinking about what goes into making this happen…  Well at least it’s a tremendous relief to know that Steven Tyler will be a judge on American Idol this year.  I just wasn’t sure how something so important to American society, was going to turn out…  Chicago 338 miles…  I’m glad we don’t use metrics yet.  Those numbers are always crazy.  1178 kilometers to Kenora…  Who goes to Kenora anyway?”

                Jack walked in after his child had gone to bed and his wife was watching a replay of The View.  The women were discussing a movie.  Jack’s wife turned and smiled for a moment before tuning back in to what was being discussed on the taped program.  Jack was gone for two days but conversed with his wife as if he had only just stepped out of the room for a moment.

                “Lucy…  I’m home.”

                “Well I’m glad you’re back okay…”

                “Yes it was a long journey…  And you never can tell where the road my lead to.  A trip like that will really make one ponder life and death and what it all really means…”

                “I’m sorry dear, I was listening to Whoopie.  Did you say something?”

                “I just said that a road trip will lead your mind to roam…  You know… Being on the road and all… Life, death the future… Stuff like that.”

                “I don’t understand what that means?”

                “And that’s fine…  What’s for dinner?”

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