A ROAD TRIP AND OTHER STORIES
It was time to travel again, this time not on the Ratster, but on 4 wheels in a Mazda GLC, an economical little 4-cylinder 5-speed hatchback given to me by Jill.
The Journey Begins
July 22, 1987 14:47: odometer 74509
I filled up at the Exxon at I-17 and Dunlap and headed south on I-17 to I-10 east toward Tucson
This could get monotonous. Do I really want to take I-10 all the way to almost San Antonio? It's the most logical route, but rather dull. However, it's unfair to compare a trip like this to the motorcycle trip of 2 years ago. This is a good deal more comfortable, if somewhat lacking in style and the sheer pleasure of riding. So far the Mazda is performing well. On to El Paso.
Sign: DEFACING ROCKS UNLAWFUL
20:30 Lordsburg, New Mexico odometer 74793 [8 gallons, $8.20, 35.3 mpg]
I called my friend Bob in Austin. Julie answered, and assured me they would be there when I got to Austin.
By 20:50 I was in Las Cruces, NM: odometer 74912, having coffee and cookies at a Shell gas convenience store, passed through a teller bin from behind thick glass. They're taking no chances here.
Las Cruces is beautiful approached from the west at night. One descends on it, and its lights look like interlaced strands of silver and gold.
I think I'll try for the rest stop at the Texas-New Mexico border where I stopped to sleep once before.
July 23, 07:00
I'm just inside Texas at the rest stop. The eastbound stop is on the Texas side; the westbound was in New Mexico. This one's more modest, but adequete, and there's still a nice long view to the southwest, now clouded by a morning fog. I can't sit on the ground; the little ants are active.
sign: TEJAS MEANS 'FRIENDS'
The French conquest under Maximillian would be interesting to read up on. There are seat belt laws in New Mexico and Texas both. They may not be fought because those who don't use belts are seldom caught. It's an invasion of privacy. Too bad there wasn't an ammendment in the Bill of Rights that said: Congress, nor any State, shall make no law, the breaking of which is likely to harm no one but the breaker.
Billboard for radio station KFOX in El Paso: I FOX AROUND!
Van Horn, Texas, 10:23. odometer 75079. 7.5 gallons; $8.00 (38.1 mpg)
Those who think Texas is flat have probably experienced only the north part where US 66 goes through. From the west it is full of small mountains and valleys, then hills that look sculptured with a smooth regularity that makes one think of the ancient pyramids.
The interstate highway slices through the hills with a Texas-style refusal to let nature inconvenience people too much. The road does rise and fall with the land, but the steeper hills, though they could have been merely crossed, are sliced cleanly and neatly, leaving straight sides of naked earth on either side of the road.
The Hill Country itself is a tree-filled countryside, no longer rocky but lush and green rolling hills. Small towns tend to look picturesque without working too hard at it. Of course, one never knows to what extent a small town is self-concious about its small-town look. If it didn't know it was supposed to look like that, would it look like that anyway?
Suddenly I was confronted with a village whose name a sign proclaimed to be HYE. I waved at the sign and said 'HI' back. A second later, at 55 mph, it was time to say 'BYE'.
Back in Time: Monday, July 20
I had been wanting to see Grace again for a while, but there was Crickett, and then Gypsy's long visit. Finally I called her, and we went out to eat, then back to her place.
Grace is a lady with a lot of class. She has every reason to be depressed, angry at the world, or simply to whine and complain...and she doesn't. She has health problems that cause pain much of the time. On top of that she has an old man who beats her up. Any man who hits a woman is a detestable coward; a poor excuse for a human being, but to beat on a woman like Grace is beyond my imagination of the depths of depravity.
Yet she can smile, laugh, have a good time; be a sensuous lover. She has accepted her health problems. She does no drugs except pot, and hardly drinks at all. I admire her strength of character, and I consider myself priveleged to know her; to have spent a wonderful night with her. I hope I shall again.
Tuesday, July 21
I met Jill and John at the Crazy Horse for some beers. Though I still love Jill, I've accepted that it's over, and I want her to be happy. John seems a decent guy, and seems to be protective and perhaps good for her.
Later at Frankie's, I got seduced by Renee', who knew me because she used to dance at Grand Central Station with Jill.
I'm just filling in for the frustrated lady's old man, who is in jail. I think I did a good job. Never could resist a damsel in distress.
With all this, I almost didn't want to leave Phoenix...but only almost. This vacation is a year overdue.
END OF FLASHBACK
July 23, 19:14 mst: odometer 75540. Austin, Texas
It took 28 hours, including sleep, to cover the 1031 miles from Phoenix.
I switched to central daylight time, which cost 2 hours. Still, at 23:00 I'm waiting outside at Bob's house for him and Julie to get home from work.
Friday, July 24
I awoke after 14:00. Bob and Julie are at work, so I've been watching movies
Saturday, July 25
Bob and I went to see the Austin Lounge Lizards at the Waterloo Icehouse. They're a very musically adept bluegrass band with well-written humorous songs.
Sunday, July 26
We visited the Back Door off Riverside Drive, a big place with a game room side and a rock-band side. I was there before with Jan Horne, the cute redhead that used to work at Brown School, who I had an affair with after Jill left for L.A., until I left for L.A. I hope she recovered from that accident I heard about last time I was here. She's probably back in Arkansas now.
Anyway, the place has gotten bigger since then. We checked out 6th Street, which seems to be the happening area. Maggie May's had folk-type music-- a Joni Mitchell soundalike. Draft Guiness for $3 a pint. Joe's Generic Bar had blues and beer for $2 a bottle.
Monday, July 27
Went to work with Bob. It's a nice setup, way out in the country. The residents seem fiesty enough to be interesting, but manageable.
Tuesday, July 28
I checked out the Black Cat Saloon by myself while Bob was working. Quite a scene, when you can buy a beer and stand on the sidewalk or sit on your bike and watch the women go by. The bar itself, like several of the 6th Street bars, is long and narrow, a divided section of the old buildings already there. Many of the Austin bars, like the Doll House (a topless bar), the Outhouse, and others have dress-code attitudes about Haqrley T-shirts, etc. The Hole in the Wall doesn't, nor do the 6th Street bars. Phoenix has some of the same situation, yet one expects it less here. Austin should have a more enlightened attitude.
Also, it seems that belt knives, even folding, are not allowed in bars. This, of course, only leads to concealment, which is, of course, more dangerous. A concealed weapon could be anything, including a gun.
He's a widower
Widower than what?
Constipation is nothing to sneeze at.
August 4, 1987 09:00 Austin. odometer: 75621. 7 gallons, $6.50. 31.43 mpg
Leaving for Lee's Summit. Awake and alert for the road, I hummed the 200 miles to Dallas, arriving around noon. It managed to have midday stop-and-go traffic. I missed 69 because I was supposed to look for 75, which leads to 69, but 380 will take me from Denton east to the one I want.
Pet store: FISH N' CHIRPS
The 380 route was a nice drive through some green wooded countryside north of Dallas and Denton.
Sherman, Texas 15:45, odometer 75945 8.9 gallons $8.50. 36.4 mpg
I stopped in Sherman to find American V-twin, the shop that was so helpful last time I came through on my bike. It had moved, and was a bit hard to find. It took about an hour. I was glad I did, though, just to tell the owner I appreciated his being there when I needed him. He's had his hassles with the Establishment in the interim. He actually got arrested IN his shop for wearing a FUCK JAP MOTORCYCLES T-shirt. When they want to hassle you, they'll do anything. Too bad he didn't have any T-shirts. I wanted to buy one.
In Oklahoma one crosses the Clear Boggy River, then the Muddy Boggy, and finally the North Boggy, which is presumably neither clear nor muddy, but still boggy. Then there's a town called Tushka. A good place to sit for a spell?
19:30, Muscogee Oklahoma odometer 76116.
Everywhere is halfway to somewhere.
I used to keep quarters under my hat, but then I changed my mind.
Joplin, Missouri 22:25. odometer: 76253. 7.6 gallons; $7.00 40.53 mpg
I arrived in Lee's Summit at 01:15 August 5. It took a few minutes to pinpoint the house in the dark. Few addresses are visibly displayed. Since everyone was evidentally asleep, I parked and went to sleep myself. I awoke about 06:00 with the feeling I had a ringside seat at the Indy 500. It seems Douglas is quite a thouroughfare for those in a hurry to work.
I picked up my son Geoff in Lee's Summit, went to Hannibal for 3 days, which was plenty long enough there. The next stop was Hutchinson, Kansas to see Gypsy. I only stayed one night, mainly because I wanted Geoff to enjoy himself, and there was little for him to do there. I'd spent enough time with Gypsy before the trip when she came to Phoenix though, so that wasn't so bad, although the stop in Hutchinson was the only time I got laid on the whole trip.
Loaded up as it was, we found the car a bit uncomfortable to sleep in. We stopped once at a rest stop in Colorado.
Signs on the canyon trail warned about the strenuous climb and the heat, suggesting plenty of water be carried. As it was, the water was supplied by God, as the sunny day turned to downpour from sudden rumbling clouds echoing thunder off the sheer rock walls.
Although the rain dampened the hike, it did give me a chance to meet and talk to Pnina under a sheltering rock overhang. I had already spoken briefly to her, seen her open, friendly smile and her dark brown curls, almost Rastafarian in their tight zig-zag pattern, sun-lightened on top. She had shapely, firmly muscled short legs, and hiked as if she walked a lot. Hers was a strong healthy body, neither fat nor thin, and her face, most especially when she smiled, had the kind of clean beauty that required no makeup, nor could I imagine her wearing any. She bore the attitude of an environment where fear and fakery are not social requirements. I suspect that because of the fearless honesty she projected, she engendered like treatment from anyone she befriended. It was clear that she liked me from the way she continued to hike near me after the rain let up, to continue our conversation, and she seemed to hope that Geoff and I were hiking all the way to the bottom, as she was, where she had a room reserved. She was not so much flirtatious as she was openly reaching out to a kindred spirit with full confidence that the feeling was mutual.
She told me that she was an Israeli Jew, though she was not religious. She noticed my star. I briefly told her that I look at Judiasm in a similar way, as a culture, an identity; a way of relating to the universe, rather than a theology. I would have enjoyed a longer discussion, but the trail was not the place. Her English was accented but excellent. She remarked on the bigness of America, which was analogous to the bigness of Grand Canyon. Israel, too, has its beautiful scenery, she said, but its beauty was on a smaller scale. You can travel through all of Israel in one day.
I am sure, though, that one day would not be enough to adequetely take it all in. Nor was less than an hour nearly enough time to get to know Pnina, though more than enough time to discover that I wanted to.
I gave her my address, telling her if she ever made it to Phoenix I would like to see her. She likes to ride on motorcycles, and I told her I'd give her a ride on mine. Seldom have I been so enchanted by a woman in so short a time, and although I can't count on her visit, I do hope for it.
My son Geoffrey reminds me of me at times. He tends to be quiet, understating his reactions. One gets the impression he is reflecting on things to himself rather than conveying them to the outside world. He may venture an opinion much later, when he has thought about it.
I should tell Geoff some of my story. Until recently he didn't know I remarried. He doesn't ask a lot of questions, and it doesn't always occur to him what he would want to know. His mother and grandmother don't know everything.
Back in Phoenix, after 3876 miles, $104.95 in gasoline, averaging 36.45 mpg. Not bad.
Sunday, September 6, 1987
Having found out that Crickett was being abused in Newbury Park, a Ventura County suburb of Los Angeles, I told her about 07:00 when she beeped me that I would come pick her up in about 24 hours. I got off my shift around 16:30 and headed west by 20:00. I decided to check on Terry in Santa Monica, but he was not home at 02:00, so I went to Newbury Park and parked to sleep on Ventu Park Road near Pepper. I woke up around 07:45 and found the house. The abuser wasn't there, so no confrontation was needed.
September 16, 1987
So I suddenly found myself living with a woman after having gone without even a one-nighter for weeks...and a GOOD woman at that. Crickett has a pleasing, easygoing personality, likes sex, and seems to be very sexually compatible with me. I feel like the proverbial kid in the candy store with a credit card.
I feel the need to restrain myself from coming on too strong and scaring her away, and also to avoid caring too much if she is not going to stay. It would be easy to care a lot. She looks and feels extremely good to me. She is fun, intelligent, sensual, and willing to contribute her share to the household. She has wonderfully soft, smooth skin of a beautiful golden tone, a firm, strong feminine body, long black hair, and the prettiest pubes I have ever seen, with the overall effect of serene natural beauty, not unlike a clear mountain stream shaded by green trees, where one yearns to lie down on its grassy bank and drink deeply while breathing the fragrant air.
Perhaps I already care for her more than I might admit. I walk the thin line between telling her too much and not enough of my affection.
ON TIME TRAVEL
One logical problem plagues the concept of time travel into the past: that being, if it can be done, given enough time for research and technical advance, why haven't future time travelers come back to our present?
Surely, if it can be done, mankind will do it and use it, unless we are destroyed first. If future destruction is the case, can we change that fact by supposing it and taking countermeasures? Such a supposition would be little to go on. We don't know if such destruction (or loss of our technocivilization) would be a manmade or natural disaster.
Aside from the destruction hypothesis, perhaps interactive past time travel is somehow impossible. Maybe one could go into the past and view it, but not interact, being separated by a time-fold.
This problem might not apply to future time-travel. It would be more interesting, anyway, since nothing is known about the future, while the past has already been done. (Actually, we probably think we know more about the past than we actually do.) But if we can travel to the future (faster than we already naturally do) and not to the past, it would be a one-way trip, since we could not return to the present.
Travel into the past would be most interesting to discover whether and how the paradoxes actually work. Could one actually meet oneself? If you seduce your mother before she meets your father, could you become your own father, or would you cease to exist? Would this happen instantly, or when you return to the present? Preplanned messages from the past would be easy enough, so time travelers could usually communicate what went wrong even if they were unable to return to their present.
Some UFO's could indeed be time machines, and the reason they are so elusive could be the need to avoid interaction. Time travel, of course, also requires space travel, since nothing stays in the same place for long. .If you could not compute where you need to be at the time you want to be, and if you cannot accurately travel to the right place, then you would have to be extremely lucky to survive. You could end up in space far from Earth, or embedded in solid matter, either of which could be quite uncomfortable.
UNDER THE FLOWERPOT
This is a classic story of a young man who, having married at 21, moved to Los Angeles, gone back to college at 25, and graduated at 28, began to feel vaguely dissatisfied and restless. At the same time, his wife decided she wanted to have a child. More unexpected and much harder to accept, she wanted to move back to Kansas City, where her parents were. The trap was closing, and this made him feel even more restless.
He began to talk to women not merely as acquaintances, but with sensitivity to the possibility that one might be attracted to him. There was Cathy from next door, who came over one night to talk and kissed him right on the beanbag. Nothing more came of that.
A few months later, real opportunity knocked. He was making terrariums in the basement of a house he owned near the L.A. River. The upper part of the house was vacant and for rent. He heard a female voice say knock-knock!, so he went to the open basement door. The afternoon sun shined brightly down the concrete stairs into the cool dark cellar, and standing halfway up the stairs was a pair of beautiful brown legs topped with denimn cutoffs. As he raised his eyes further he saw that she was wearing a tube-top that left her midriff bare, and that she had a dazzlingly friendly smile, long dark-brown hair, and a pretty face. Come in he said. She did.
Hi. I came to see about the house for rent. Are you the landlord?
He grinned. Yeah, that's me.
She laughed musically. Wow--you don't look like a landlord! He smiled, and was glad of that. I'm Corinne she said. I saw the sign out front, and I'd like to rent your house. They discussed the house and the rent. He was entranced by her beauty and her friendly, outgoing personality. There was a tension in the air of mutual attraction that made the business at hand seem incidental. She gave him the rent, and he gave her the key, and she moved in the next day.
The following evening he was working in the basement and Corinne was finishing her moving and cleaning. She asked him something, and they sat on the back step and talked for hours. Her surly and brutal husband had gone off to Mexico for months, abandoning Corinne and her two children. She would prefer he stayed gone. She was sensitive, intelligent, creative, and lonely. She used to paint, but her husband discouraged it. The young landlord listened more than he talked, but it became clear that they were both lonely in a way, and that they could be friends. He invited her downstairs; she declined that night.
But the time came soon afterward when Corinne accepted. Though the basement was a terrarium workshop, there was an unframed waterbed left by a previous tenant. She had the shyness of a virgin, and he was accordingly gentle and patient. She was exotic and exciting, and his soft kisses on her flawless brown skin excited her and at last overcame her self-concious fears. She had a spicy flavor and her body heat seemed extra warm.
She was not used to a lover who took the time to give her pleasure, who showed passion rather than simple lust. With her beauty, and the way she melted softly in his arms, he fell in love.
He began to frequently sleep in the basement rather than going home to West L.A., and for a time there were many nights of ecstasy, each better than the last. The kitchen window of the house was just above the basement stairway, and Corinne had a flowerpot sitting on the sill. On a romantic whim, he began leaving her love-notes under the flowerpot.
To A Sleeping Beauty
Yes, I love to watch you move,
and to feel you move next to me;
beneath me as we express our passion,
your smooth skin under my caressing fingertips.
But, as for a moment I watched you sleep tonight,
your silver necklace gleaming in the soft red light,
and you lay still, unaware of my gaze,
I enjoyed the natural quiet beauty of you.
SEDUCTION IN SANTA MONICA
It was the fall of 1976, and Michael was watching Los Angeles crumble down around him. There was no earthquake, and the city's light-dotted monoliths and freeways, seemingly sculpted by the hand of a giant, stood firm as ever. But his personal L.A. was disintegrating.
His ex-wife had moved, with his help, back to her home town of Lee's Summit, Missouri. The Corinne affair had dwindled gradually to a memory. Andrea, the young sexy blonde who had brightened up his life for a time, suddenly split back to Erie, Pennsylvania, leaving only a note and a phone call from down the road.
Financially, things were nearly as bleak. A real-estate con-man named Bill Reilly had disappeared, leaving Michael holding a bag full of loans and two lost mortgages. He still had his job at the adult bookstore on Hollywood and Wilton, a Datsun pickup that the bank wanted to repossess, and a 1969 Honda 350. He needed a place to live. He could have rented a small apartment, but he needed to save all the money he could.
So, when John, one of his best friends, offered him a room in the 2-bedroom house that John and his girlfriend Terri rented in Santa Monica, he gladly accepted. John's personality was quite different from Michael's. John was a tall, muscular Texan whose voice filled any room with his drawl. He was outgoing and usually became the center of attention. He loved to drink beer, shoot pool, darts, and pinball and chase women-- a great guy to go to a bar with. John was sure of himself; the kind of a guy you assume that women would prefer. John did get some good women.He had been living with Terri, a pretty, intelligent Jewish girl with nice breasts and a mischievous smile, for several months. She seemed to adore him.
John was a cook. He was good at it, and fast, as he would not hesitate to tell you. He had just landed a better job with a restaurant chain that had a branch in the Bay Area. He had been assigned to work there for a few months before returning to work in L.A. It was convenient, then, that Michael would be there to watch out for Terri while he was away. Michael saw no problem with that. He had no inkling that, even if he wanted to bed his best friend's girlfriend, he'd even have the slightest chance with her.
For a few days after John left there was no problem. Terri, aware that Michael had no current woman, offered to introduce him to a friend of hers. Diane turned out to be a short, cute very Jewish girl who seemed like fun. He made a date with her for the next weekend.
Meanwhile, one evening Michael and Terri went out for dinner as they did occasionally because Terri was a vegetarian and a reluctant cook. Over her vegetables, his meat, and a couple of beers she said, Michael, I'm in love with you.
He may have choked on his beer, or dropped his fork, or both. He said what any intelligent person would say in that situation: Huh?? Say WHAT?? He was totally surprised. After a moment of thought he managed to say, Terri, you're a very attractive woman, and I'm highly complimented that you could feel that way about me...but I thought you loved John, and he's my friend.
She said, Yes, I know, and I thought you'd be loyal to him, but I just had to tell you. And she smiled, not exactly the sad smile of an unrequited lover, but almost a mischievous smile that said, This story isn't over yet.
Michael felt uneasy. It was rare enough for a woman to love him out of the blue, but for that woman to be, by his standards of friendship, one he must refuse, was an entirely new experience, and not a pleasant one. There was a boost to his confidence, but it was outweighed by the frustration of having to say no to a desirable woman who wanted him. He resolved to do the right thing by his friend, and hoped that Diane would turn out to make it easier to stand the strain.
At first the matter seemed to be settled. Terri talked no more of love, and Michael's date with Diane was only a few days away. Besides, John was coming back for a weekend soon. In casual, joking conversations, Terri would mention that Michael hadn't been laid in weeks, which was already foremost in his mind. As he sat and watched television she would occasionally touch him-- nothing overt, just a brief brush on the arm; a fingernail on the ear. Perhaps her long brown hair would tickle his shoulder in passing. She would sit near him, usually on the floor by his feet. At unexpected touches he would jump as if stung. If he saw one coming, he'd still have to take a deep breath. She knew intuitively that his whole body had become an erogenous zone. He was a loaded sexual cannon with a hair trigger.
At first he endured this exquisite torture, because to mention it would be to openly acknowledge his pent-up desire. Finally he said softly, You're going to have to stop doing that.
She grinned mischievously, and a bit triumphantly. You ARE hot, aren't you? She sat in front of him on a footstool, gazing at him while he tried to concentrate on the TV program. Then, without a word she took his hand, pulled it gently toward her, and sucked sensuously on his middle finger. The effect was intense, though she did it only for a moment. His resistance was down to zero, but she did nothing more then. When he stood up to go to his room he was shaking slightly, and sweating despite the cool evening breeze. He needed desperately to get in bed and take the situation in hand. He undressed and slid between the cool sheets. Just as he began to try to relax, the door handle turned. He turned over on his stomach and propped himself on his elbows. As she walked into the room she said something like Do you need an extra blanket?. She sat down on the bed, and before he knew it she was touching him with her hand, then with her lips, and almost before he knew it, he was coming and she was swallowing.
They looked at one another for some moments, both recovering from the sudden intensity of the experience. They had crossed the invisible barrier into the forbidden zone, and there was no going back; no more resisting. Finally he said, Well, now that we're here... leaving the sentence unfinished as he slipped off her panties, kissed her soft inner thighs, and began returning the pleasure with interest.
After that night they enjoyed each other often, but resolved to do nothing to hurt John. He was not to know, and she would not leave him to be with Michael. When John returned to Santa Monica, things would go back to normal. Michael's date with Diane was coming up, as was John's visit. Terri no longer wanted Michael to see Diane; she wanted him all to herself, but she agreed that if Michael did go out with her it would keep John from being suspicious. (In such situations, the guilty do imagine being suspected, even if they give no reason to be). But, don't fuck her, Terri said.
But Michael and Diane hit it off nicely, and they made love in his Datsun pickup; a bit cramped of course, but fun. One night they tried the roof of the apartment building where she lived with her parents, but it was too chilly and uncomfortable. John came and went, and Michael and Terri were again alone in the house. One night Michael went out with Diane, while Terri was working at her waitress job. He took Diane to his room at the house for some enthusiastic sex, took her home, picked up Terri at work, brought her home, and made love to her on the same spot. It was quite a satisfying night; it was the closest he had ever come to having two women at once, and each was equally exciting.
Michael felt no guilt about cheating on Terri The notion was absurd-- he had already committed the ultimate betrayal of his friend for her, so the least she could do was share Michael with her best friend. Michael would like to have believed he had no hand in his own seduction, considering the passive role he played until it happened. But there are no victims of love; only volunteers. And as the ancient Romans knew, Penis erectus non compos mentos.
Although he was not one to make himself miserable with remorse, he knew that to remain in the house with Terri was only asking for trouble. It was December, not the best time to leave sunny Southern California, but there was nothing for him there but creditors he couldn't begin to pay. Besides, he thought, eight years was long enough to live anywhere. He traded his untitleable pickup and the Honda for a camper trailer, bought Jim's faithful 1967 Falcon, and headed for Kansas City.
Terri later found out about the night he'd had both her and Diane, and she was furious. He hadn't meant to hurt her. He liked her, and hoped she'd understand. But the relationship, begun as it was, was probably best ended as it was.
October 20, 1987
Do you see the beauty in life?
If you look for it, you will.
Look at yourself
Not just the outside,
which happens to be beautiful to others,
but inside, where every vein,
every bone, every organ plays
in the orchestra of you, plays
the symphony of life
She Dreams of Nuclear Wars
She dreams of nuclear wars, and she's a survivor. The bombs made the world go away; now she's on her own, strong and ready because she planned for this-- she knew it was coming, always travelled light, learned to be alone; loved the quiet land. Now it's all quiet land. The echos of the bombs have faded away. The echos of other voices have faded too; the millions of other faces have gone with the nuclear wind, and she faces her future with no one else.
Dreams may be our fears or our fantasies. Our fears may be our fantasies. Turn over the dragon-headed coin and you've got dragon tails. Use it to buy a ticket to fly and you've got dragon wings.
We may all face the nuclear winter. I want to survive. Some don't. But I'm betting on a level of sanity of those in control just high enough to stop short of bringing it on. If I really expected it I'd find a way to live in the wilderness out of the target zones.
Yet there is an appeal to the fantasy of being a survivor when civilization is gone-- no longer doing city jobs for paper pay to buy market food and shelter made by others, but to grab and hold the real: building by hand, killing my own food, living from day to day, ready for anything; feeling satisfied with only the basic needs. We are not so far from our age of stone that, however much we dream of luxury and ease, we don't dream of this also: the simpler times.
But the world won't go away; it will change some but not much all at once, and we need to deal with it, as it deals with us. This is a kind of survival too, a bit more complex and subtle, but as necessary to our age as hunting skills were once.
I think her dream scenario may be because she is a Native American, and though she doesn't express it, she has an unconcious natural desire to see civilization pay for the destruction of her people, a people who may still be better equipped to survive a nuclear war than anyone else; who may once again flourish, given the space and freedom to do so.
Though she speaks little about it, I believe she suffers for her people, none the less so because she was partly robbed of her heritage by adoption, which was only another symbol of the oppression.
She responds with scorn to the white songwriter's attempt to sing of injustice to Indians. She thinks they don't care-- perhaps that they only do it for the money. I think some of them care, but she has a point, and it is this:
America, self-righteous democratic nation that it is, committed genocide on the Native Americans. It was done on a larger scale, over a longer period of time than the German genocide on the Jews and other minorities.
The Germans, by circumstances of war, were defeated and punished, and they are still being punished-- not just the Nazis who actually committed the crimes, but all Germans, by association. Germany is a nation living in guilt for the sins of its fathers. Germans who were not even alive then are still apologizing, or at least doing much to show the world that they are no longer a nation of murderers.
America has never been punished for its crime. Indeed, as a whole, it has never even apologized. Attempts at reparations have been pathetic and completely inadequete; the effect has been a continuation of genocide under the guise of benevolent paternalism.
America even misnamed its natives and never bothered to correct it. We have known for over 400 years that they were not Indians. Even Native Americans is wrong; there was no America until the land was stolen by the European invaders.
At least the Jews and the Gypsies were still called by their names when they were being starved and shot and gassed to death. And at least the Jews, partly through their own effort and with the help of other nations, finally achieved a homeland, though they have had to fight long and hard to keep it.
Where is the Native Americans' homeland? The reservations: tiny scraps of a vast continent--land that no one else wanted, scattered and surrounded, almost like concentration camps, an insult to the once-proud tribes who roamed all the land, using it rightly?
The tribes are said to be soverign nations, which sounds good on paper, but they have little if any more power than any landowner. If any positive change is to come from the revelations of BIA corruption, it should be that of a long-overdue restoration of land and real soverignty to the tribes on a scale that will insure economic self-sufficiency. Land must be added to present reservation land of a type that can be used agriculturally or otherwise productively, not the water-poor wasteland that is often the case. Native land should no longer be called reservations, but should be considered in every way the national land of the tribes occupying it. Thereafter the tribes must be dealt with as foreign powers, as we would deal with Canada or Mexico
We can never undo the great wrongs done by our ancestors to their ancestors, but we could try much harder to set things right in the present. And we must stop whitewashing our history to ignore past crimes. It is easier to avoid mistakes in the future if we fully recognize the mistakes of our past.
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