Monday, November 23, 2009

Fear can hold you prisoner...hope can set you free

That's the tagline for Shawshank redemption. I'm not sure why it applies to the case of a guy wrongly imprisoned and then unlawfully kept in jail who then escapes. He had no hope of getting out but stubbornly kept going. And he wasn't afraid while he was in jail...he was just miserable. Somehow the pep talk that Red gives Andy about living or dying sort of ignores their situation. Did he mean that he should get busy trying to escape? Or should he resign himself to the situation? It sounds to me like Stephen King heard that trite expression in a Maine coffee shop and decided it had to go somewhere. Anyway, The tagline could be on the crest for Riverbank Rooms. It would be a good neighbor to the dusty old christmas decorations and one broken sea shell decoration that says "Go to the beach" or the ragged doll with "Welcome Home" carved in a piece of wood.

Brooks is the old guy played by James Whitmore. He finally gets paroled and bags groceries and lives at a rooming house that reminds me in every way of Riverbank Rooms. He feels he has nothing to contribute to the world so he hangs himself after carving "Brooks Was here" on a beam.
Red, played by Morgan Freeman, also gets paroled and ends up in the same store bagging groceries and sleeps in the same room that Brooks lived in. He writes "So was Red" on the beam. He also feels that his life has no direction but instead of hanging himself he remembers that Andy has buried something for him to find.


I didn't get a job offer yet and I'm not crying any tears. That 6 am - 2:30 shift making medical forceps wearing a white gown in a soundless dust free cavern looked fairly nightmarish. The take home pay is terrible, just enough to let me live in Brooks's old room and eat fried chicken. The future is nonexistent. They expected a 12 week production boost that I will be used for. If I am needed after that then I will be retained and if not then I will be let go. Their loyalty to me is zero and I don't like working for people like that. It's bad for my health. If I want to be treated like a number then I can rob a bank and go to jail like Andy. Then I can escape through the sewer and be everyone's hero.

The real goal for the winter is to turn my homeless stageplay into a musical. Like Little Orphan Annie for adults. Instead of orphans we have pedophiles. How funny is that? I think there are precedents like Avenue Q. Anyone see that? So I've got to keep my eyes on the prize.


Also, there are some courses I'd like to take at the college. It's never too late to learn an industrial trade. That way I can go work at the golf tee manufacturer. Did you know all buttons used to be made in the lakes region? And electric train sets too. There is a ton of pre-china assembly plants up here. Webster Valve is over near Franklin, the home of Daniel Webster. There are others.

There is no internet access at Brook's room. Just a streetlight and a clock radio. I take my laptop to the library and use their wireless connection. I've been reading a book a day since I got here. Naturalist, Ship of Gold. Slaughterhouse Five. Fear of Flying, On Chesile Beach.


I've been clean and sober a week now. I was walking the tracks the other day to see where they went. They cross a river and lead out of town. That's about it. I was reminded of the movie Distant Thunder about a Nam Veteran, played by John Lithgow, living in the woods, picking ferns to sell. He walks the tracks to get in and out of the woods. It's also where the bush folk go to get hit by trains and end their misery. Sounds plausible. His son eventually saves him. It came out in 1988, I think I saw it at the Newington Mall. I didn't feel anything was wrong with living in the woods then and still don't. The villains all drove cars and sold things. They were nasty and petty bullies. The hero is basically a subsistence farmer with a bowie knife. But I remember a few kids at school laughing at the bearded character and saying, "Oggy! That's Oggy. A dirty hobo!"
I also slept in the forest on the weekends. It seemed organic. I didn't think other people were phony by getting drunk or smoking pot but I felt I would be phony if I joined them. The lesson Distant Thunder taught me was that if you are completely out of touch with your society then the only place for you is the woods. Also, once you leave, don't come back. Just stay out there. When you turn your back on society then society will turn its back on you. That's the rule. The movie did not, however, teach me how to gather ferns and sell them to local florists to make money. I tried that in Santa Cruz and was almost arrested.

It's not every day you get to walk the tracks in New England.

Laconia has a small downtown area. Not many tall buildings to speak of. There is a Lowe's and a Shaws on the way in from the east. Many nursing homes and old people playing bingo. There is a Family Dollar nearby. I have started a series like Lake Wobegon called "Where The Lake Meets The River." I want a kind of fake history of Riverbank Rooms. Like, what is that horrible stench in my room? The story behind that must be funny. The series be just about the rooms or about Laconia in general. I don't know. It might be a musical also.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What does the sign in the window say? Are they begging the residents not to jump?

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.