Someone once told me that the desert is comprised of hundreds of dirt roads that all lead nowhere. I would tend to concur. I have witnessed this myself. I have driven them all. Upon every single damn one I have had to eventually turn around and drive back to where I originally started from. It's an endless maze. A merciless stain of defeat and mired probabilities. Long shot dreams for broken souls. Cactus halos that tear the flesh of the brow. Sand, instead of salt, for your open wounds.
It's fall in the Mojave. The terrain looks the same as summer but it's colder now. The temperature has dropped ... probably to catch up with the general populations IQ! I'm just kidding. Had to get that one in. I don't mean to be a dick but then again I do. The desert is an acquired taste. Especially in the remote area where I reside. The last place in the world that you want to be caught without a ride home or a reason to live. The Morongo Basin ... 29 Palms to Joshua Tree to Yucca Valley. East to West respectfully. And all the surrounding areas from North to South to further East ... I'm even talking Wonder Valley and beyond. On down to Amboy and into the Morongo Perserve. Where no man or woman comes out alive. And if you do ... you come out changed.
I'm sitting in my house on a Sunday morning. I have a strange contraption strapped to my ankle and I was told only to leave the house during certain hours of the day. I will elaborate on this no further. However, it correlates with today's topic children: ALL THE WAY. To all you half assers and noncommittal individuals lurking in the shadows of indecision this will be your wake up call. Let me explain ...
A week ago Friday I was driving home from my day job as an undertaker. I was dressed in a black suit and a black tie and dark Ray Ban sunglasses. I was manning the wheel of a small Toyota economy car that I borrowed from a retired Russian trapeze artist. Now on disability, he found comfort in the notion that there was really nothing more to see beyond the confines of his one bedroom house. The chessboard, the imported cigarettes, the bottom shelf vodka sustained him. And the faded memory of loose women, circus lights, and past glory were all he needed. It was all any man needed. So he didn't really require a car. But I did. He owed me a favor. The cheeseboard is a cruel mistresses and the tote board never lies. Sometimes the horses come in ... sometimes they don't.
I was driving into Joshua Tree on Hwy. 62. As I approached the Park Boulevard intersection I happened to glance over to my right. Out in front of Mike's Liquor I saw to young men beating the living shit out of each other while another gentleman in a white tank top and sagging shorts watched on. He clapped and postured and cheered as the two other men, engaged in fisticuffs, swung and wrestled out on the sidewalk. I slowed down as the stop light glowed red. I thought to myself, "Gee that's a peculiar sight in Joshua Tree."
I waited and watched at the intersection. The fight continued and no one joined the one man audience. Nor did anyone come forward to intercede. Perhaps I was the only one seeing this? That was the sudden conclusion my pea-brain mustered. As the light abruptly turned green, I slowly drove forward and thought, "We need more of this type of thing in Joshua Tree! Mike's Liquor's new marketing slogan: Two Men Enter ... One Man Leaves!"
I knew it could only be a bad omen for the evening to come. When I arrived home I found other people engaged in heavy drinking and loud talk out on my front porch. One was a quite stunning female with a low cut blouse. She was a liquor rep from the Sky vodka company. As I loosened my tie I knew the night would end bad. It would just be a matter of what extreme we would take it to. Multiple bottles of vodka in all flavors, shapes, and sizes poured. There was beer and rough men courassing and, in the mists of all this, I made a phone call to a certain individual about a certain particular sensitive matter that we will not approach at this juncture in time. Needless to say, it put me in a mood of distress, and "fuck all." Confronted with a constant stream of loss and dreams unrealized any young man's spirits can be crushed under a cavalcade of bitter regret. Especially when you stare into the void and discover that all the blame lies squarely on your shoulders.
As we approached the ten o'clock hour things went completely sideways. The sense that my life was a complete wash became all to glowingly apparent. I concluded that the night would not end without the complete destruction of my physical and mental being. I made some calls ...
The details of the fact and fiction that follow are of no relevance. I concluded to take it all the way. However, by 10 a.m the next morning I was back in bed wondering where it all went wrong. The worst thing about the hangovers and heartaches that ensued was just the fact that I had to endure them. I concluded that if your bent on personal damage and self-destruction, make sure by the end of the night you disappear into a puff of green smoke ... never to appear again.
Like every successful endeavor in life ... you must take it all the way! The next time you decide to wander out into the darkness of the desert night with a liquored brain and a death wish do us all a favor ... do your self an even bigger favor ... don't return. I don' care if you take a bus to Cleveland, join the merchant marines, or get zipped up in a yellow body bag and shoved into the morgue. It' all or nothing! Not just for the endeavors with positive connotations, but even for the things that give Satan's dark forces legal ground.
This Sunday morning I stepped out onto my porch (it was after 9 a.m. - don't send the cops to collect me quite yet) sober as a stone and bent on total domination. Many new battles on the horizon ... looking forward to some more 'Fight Club' action out in front of Mike's Liquor on a Friday evening in Joshua Tree, California. I know, dear reader, you to have many battle's ahead. Many fiery dragons to slay. I wish you happy hunting and much success in the days to come. Verily my brethren, I implore you to take it all the way! Don't look back ... don't stumble or side step ... most people will denounce you ... the rest will condemn you ... but believe me, the light at the end of the tunnel will be the brightest and most beautiful thing that you have ever beheld! It makes no matter if it's self-improvement or self destruction ... if your going to do it, see it out to the end.
My room-mate is back home from work. He's ready to take it all the way at 10:55 a.m. "Jack Daniels and Coke and a Marlbro Red ... it's just inspirational ... like the new apple i-phone that just came out." There is beauty in the darkness as well as the light.
I stretch my arms out into the sun and embrace the sand and creosote. For all the dark hues I cast the desert in I still can recognize a beautiful day when I see one. The sun is warm on the shoulders and we're all still in this game of life in some capacity. Get out there today and take it all the way ... at least that's what Charles Bukowski will tell you ... and that fool is never wrong!
(On a side note: It's Arm Chair Travelers weekend on WCPE ... if your not supporting classical music on WCPE - Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina then you need to really reconsider your position in life or just .... Eat Shit and Die!)