Sunday, June 8, 2008

I am robbing a bank

This hasn't been new in a long time, and there's reasons why. It's hard to drive and draw at the same time. I've been driving for the longest time lately. I left Fernie BC on the 2nd of May, with all of my things and my friend from NZ. Good dude, helped with the gas and stayed awake in the passes.
We drove out to Vancouver to see some folks, friends from summer camp years ago. If you've never been to Vancouver in May, read something by Dr. Seuss. It is just that palette and proportion. Hundred and one shrubs and bushes, every tree a different impossible color and flowering, weirdos, needles with children around and off-color ham, I'm sure. Really strange place. People move on a train in the sky. Or on the nicest sort of bicycles, but only the adults. You want to yell "Get a job/car!" but you don't, because you can tell they have both. They choose to ride a bike, with a grim resignation to how much fun they are having on nature. Determined. I've never seen such faces on a bicycle. Jarred, my friend from NZ, thought he had a room for the summer in Ladysmith, a town on Vancouver Island. In the capacity of valet I went along, having been to the Island once before and anticipating good times.
Ladysmith is delightfully misnamed. It is a very well kept retirement community on a hill overlooking the water. I secretly called it 'Old Ladysmith' because of all the old ladies. It was a pretty juicy secret and I lost sleep over it. As I said before the lawns and houses were very well looked after. Let's call them plots. Not what Jarred was expecting, so we bailed on the room and tried to hitch it to Victoria. I understand the roads there are paved in wood from the old growth. Maybe there would be young adults and jobs as well. Trouble is, there are no free rides in Ladysmith. Hold up your thumb and a napkin with "VIC" written on it. Wait. Receive free oldangryface. Repeat. Sucks real bad, so we went to the beach, which turned out to be rank and oystered. Or something. They cut my feet. In the capacity of valet, I returned to the mainland with my Kiwi.
Vancouver to San Fran was a good drive, and by now Jarred had planned to fly home from California. Which was perfect, because he'd proved himself comfortable with the CD machine and never hesitated to help with gas. Good dude. As an aside, in New Zealand they drive on the left (wrong) side of the road, so we were both happy to let me drive. After a full day through Washington and into Oregon, it was time to camp. We forwent a fire and instead cooked Subway. A few turns and false starts later and we had found a quiet spot to sleep, on the rocky banks of the Squamas river, shortly after sunset.
The beer tent, as concieved by myself and my attorney on previous roadtrips, is recyclable, portable, refreshing, and easy to install in any light. Unlike a real tent, which protects the physical body from the elements, the beer tent insulates the mind from the physical body. A deft bit of outside the box thinking, thank you very much, and here's one for the mayor. And his wife! Jarred was a little suspicious when I explained my plan to sleep on a twelve pack of icehouse and a tallboy as pillow, but he got into the spirit of things before too long. If you drink your tent fast enough, you can sleep anywhere. Even if it rains a little. Even on rocks.
Driving off a hangover on the highway is a ticklish business, and I don't recommend my mother read about. We made it to San Francisco just fine and Jarred made his flight.
In SF, I had a really good time. I think I might move there. Babes grow there like, jeez I dunno, like avacados. Like artichokes grow. In California. I'm told avacados grow really well in California. My friends Al and Matt had a couch for me, and a puppy for when everyone was at work, and even a friend and fellow unemployed to show me the town. Annie Pants was like a sherpa and a sailor on shore-leave combined. Steeps and cigarettes, all daytime every daytime, no burden at all. I also had a chance to hang out with Al's brother, Zanzibar. He really likes comix too, and I was thinking while we were in the Bay Area, maybe we could track down that ol' Chris Onstad. Maybe we could hot glue googley eyes to all of his mail in his mailbox, or maybe onto his recycling, for like the thousandth time. But I guess adults don't really do that to other adults, unless they know one another, so no.
The second to last night I was there, gay marriage was legalized in California, and Castro had a party. Oh man. You'd open up a bar there called the 'Pot of Gold', make a fortune. That, or "The Thunderdome" (that was Jarred's joke, he said it to me very quietly, about a man dressed in public).
The last night I was there we went to a Giants game and they lost to the Chicago White Sox. There is a player named AJ Pierzynski who sucked for the Giants but now he plays good for the Sox, and no one in San Francisco likes him. We had close seats and we yelled so he'd hear, Al especially. No one knew what AJ stands for but we had some ideas. I really would like to move to San Francisco.
Driving down the coast to LA to see a friend and aspiring actor, and I found I had no AC in my car. My friend took me running, and swimming, and then eating (but not tanning, shopping, or scha-mooozing). LA was nice, but hot, and maybe I gave you a card there? I handed out a lot of promotional materials, and then I left without really saying goodbye to any of you fine people.
My Uncle Brian in Scottsdale, Arizona, had just finished renovating his house and it was nice. Really nice. Full cimate control, fans, linens. For two gorgeous nights I had my own room and bath, and when I told Uncle it was like sleeping in a space ship, he said 'Oh yeah, good sleepin', right?" and I said "Oh yeah!" and I wouldn't lie to family, friends, not this guy.
The next thing I knew, I was on my own way home. From Scottsdale to Western Massachusetts was a short walk under 2500 miles. I drove it in 53 hours, I'm proud to say, and at some points I was getting nearly 40 miles per gallon. It was hard though, going it alone and changing my own CDs. The roads all look the same. The CDs on repeat. I found myself investing in the black swirls of rubber left behind by accidents on the highway. Smooth curves out of control, sharp curves collision, cure and cause combined for daydreams about better ways, better places to die. Than on the highway. Through Tulsa.
I got home about two weeks ago, worked camp maintenance for the week to dent the bills, then headed roadwards again for a long weekend in Halifax. I went to see a girl. I went to listen to a girl. Beautiful beautiful and funny as anything, but as far as voices go, easiest on the ears. On a Friday night she and a friend and I went to the Ale House. The bouncer didn't like my Massachusett's driver's license. I produced my old university ID. Also no good, but luckily and for trump I had my PADI diving license. Color picture, listed me as age 25 and good to 30 meters. So he asked for my passport. His problem was that my driver's license lists my height at six feet even, yet I was taller than the bouncer, who listed himself at six four. I listed him as a short, douchey, balding bag. With politeness to rival consumption we moved downstream, to have a time, and the rest of the weekend escapes me.