Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Last Ride

Hitchhiking is like buying a lottery ticket to the wide world of lunatics...but you don't want the winning numbers. It's probably the most misunderstood modes of traveling because if you have ever hitchhiked then you know it's terrible and if you dream of hitchhiking then you believe it will be awesome. Go to the end of a dirt road, where no one passes you and stick your thumb out for 16 hours. I'll tell you what will happen: You will kick the dirt, piss behind a tree, snack on food even though you aren't hungry...hum songs you know, and invent melodies that you'll soon forget. Every demon you've ever developed, every regret, every skeleton will haunt you mercilessly. You'll wonder if anyone will find your'll be certain you're going to die of starvation. Hours and hours of watching the sun go down until you realize that there is no way you'll get off this road without walking. But walking how far? 10, 20 100 miles on dirt? But it's too late to start because the sun is down. You'll walk all night? No, that's crazy. No food, no blanket. You'll curse your bad luck at forgetting your sleeping bag in the last station wagon who dropped you off way the fuck in the middle of nowhere. But you had to flee because the guy was super creepy and his wife looked drugged. What kind of maniacs were they? Now you'll freeze all night, hungry...cold...lonely...hours more aren't even tired. You sit down and ants crawl on your legs. The moon comes out through the trees...what state are you in? What's the difference? Finally you see lights and are'll be saved! And it's the same car that dropped you off and the same creep who rubbed your leg. But he's going to town for cigarettes...and you have no choice but get in again. It's a Rorschach test because what you see is who you are.

Few hitchhikers attempt to record their experiences and even fewer do it convincingly. It's kind of like war combat. Kerouac might be the only person to get to the heart of it as On The Road touches all the sun and shadow of the experience and he ends with Big Sur "being passed by fake wood panel station wagons, wifey looking straight ahead, hubby ignoring everything at the wheel, two kids gawking through the window..." bleak reality of 1962...

This is the first time I've hitch hiked in years and I soon begin to see things have changed in America, you cant get a ride any more […]. Sleek long station wagon after wagon comes sleering by smoothly […], the husband is in the driver's seat with a long ridiculous vacationist hat with a long baseball visor making him look witless and idiot -- Besides him sits wifey, the boss of America, wearing dark glasses and sneering, even if he wanted to pick me up or anybody up she wouldn't let him -- But in the two deep backseats are children, children, millions of children, all ages, they're fighting and screaming over ice cream, they're spilling vanilla all over the Tartan seatcovers -- There's no room anymore anyway for a hitch hiker. - Big Sur --Kerouac

Kerouac had come full circle from being picked up by the darling L.A. blonde actress in a sporty ride in Dharma Bums, who wanted amphetamines, to being stranded in Big Sur. The highs and lows had become only lows...and he'd never hitch again...what was culturally the spreading of White America in Healthy Camelot prime time to Kerouac was the homogenization and degradation of Bohemia.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.