Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year 1 of 3

I woke up completely startled. The bus moved under me with an uneasy but constant vibration. I had chosen the largest seat on the bus; right by the emergency exit. I looked over at the seat next to me; it was empty except for a wooden box that held a Japanese painted scroll and a fan. I shifted in my seat and felt the book press against my breast.

The book was the Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson. I had been whisked away to the beaches of Puerto Rico and drifted into that pseudo-hibernation that overcomes me on long trips. Not asleep and definitely not awake.

The bus was nearly pitch black but for the faint blue light at the back that indicated the bathroom was free. Of course it was free; except for the few degenerates courageous enough to take a night bus I was the only human soul there. I didn’t know where I was, somewhere between the only two points of civilization in the Northwest. Everything outside the Vancouver/Portland and Seattle/Olympia super-metropolises is an empty wasteland. A place where carpetbaggers have dominated the landscape with their Wal-Marts, paper mills, gas stations with 150 ft signs, and contaminated superfund sites. It doesn’t matter to them; when the burgers glow green and the kids sprout arms out of their heads the EPA swoops in like a goddamn white knight and puts schools there. Then a second wave of carpetbagger developers arrives and turns the place into 5000 identical Roman palisades with cheap stucco and granite countertops. It’s the American dream; and I was somewhere in the middle of it.

Unlike the Gonzo journalist resting in my breast-pocket I was not keen to search more for the dream or find myself in a stupor on the side of the road. I had been the architect of my own drama; one not born of bad acid or sex-crazed alcoholics.

I had awoken suddenly because I had dreamed of getting into my apartment. Let me explain; I often dream of getting to my destination in transit because I get caught in the flurry. I am not nervous standing on-stage in front of people. I am nervous waiting for my ride. Until the bus or the plane or whatever is underway and I can’t escape it; I look like a junkie ready to flee the moment a loud pop or squeal occurs. I am never sure I am on the right bus or plane.

Several times in my life I have nearly gone up to the pilot’s cabin just to ask, “you sure this plane is going to Reno? I mean, it says so, and the stewardess--well I recognize her from every time I’ve done this flight before, but I’m just not sure. Can I look at your screen and just check?”

I repress my urges by sweating violently. By the time I exit a bus, neck sore and body cramped, I smell worse than the homeless man that was “getting a ride home to see my dad; he paid for my ticket y’know and I think that he’s finally changed, finally gonna let me stay.”

The point is that I dream of really relaxing; being at my destination. And that thought usually comforts me to my point of exit. But this time it hadn’t. Jesus I thought, I’m not going to make it to my apartment! The bus had only a few people on it and they would all make it home. I on the other hand, would not. I had left my keys back in Portland. There was no way into my apartment.