Singular Moments of ClarityPosted on September 8th, 2007 after 3016 miles by Dean Croshere.
I'm embedding a few photos from the terrain I was driving through as I was thinking of this. Eventually I tired of getting out of my car and lugging Boxer around, so I stopped. Trust that these views are only a small portion of the many places I could have stopped.
I’ve found that being told who I am or what I am doing without my request, or even my permission, is the height of attraction. Those moments when something or someone tells me my most inner thoughts, confirms them, are the singular moments of clarity in this world.
My most recent host loaned me a couple of books on tape he thought I might enjoy. Charles Kuralt’s America and Travels with Charlie by John Steinbeck. I respect Steinbeck and I’d heard of Travels with Charlie before. I popped it in first. His first few lines spelled me, to steal a phrase. I had to stop listening because his words led me to so many other thought I found I was no longer following along.
I began to note the things he said, thinking of quoting them around the site from time to time. Towards the end of the first chapter, I gave up: I’d mentally noted the whole damned thing.
“I set them down so that newcomers to bum-dom, like teenagers in new hatched, sin will not think they invented it.”
“A trip a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality. uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself, no two are alike, and all plans policing and coersion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip, a trip takes us.”
I find this to be inexorably true. This trip, after only, 4 days, 5 days, lessee, my site says 5.35 days, oh I don’t care, some time, a few thousand miles, whatever, has very little in common with what I had planned.
1.I planned to pull off the road often to explore the nothings. I do this, but not when my fancy takes me. I have a different method. Two rules, actually. Rule one is drink a lot of water (I’m actually amazed at how dehydrated I’ve been). Rule two is avoid actual bathrooms whenever possible. This forces me to see some really cool things because I simply cannot put it off until later.
2.I planned to stop and talk to a lot of people, interview them on camera, and find out their stories. I find that I have no desire to do this. At first I thought it was because I was afraid, and I’m sure that is still there, but the first few people I talked to didn’t tell me anything interesting.
There is this temptation when a stranger walks up to you to simply clam up and give one or two word answers. The most interesting people will become lame in the face of a stranger.
Then you put a camera in front of these people? They clam up further. They don’t know where that camera is going or what you are doing with it. Then there are the legal issues of filming people that I’m not totally satisfied about.
Finally, I don’t want to have to worry about the camera, I want to talk to the people I meet, and I’ve been hosted by some wonderfully interesting and remarkably generous people.
3.I planned to film myself and upload these films onto the site. I am filming things, but editing takes time and it forces me to be alone. I simply don’t have the desire to do it. I can make the little quickies and will continue too, but nothing like I had planned.
4.I’m going to be alone.Oh being alone. I’ve got a lot to write about that, but I want to get back on the road. See, I’ve got to, erm, follow my first rule. There will be more.