Allowing a day to heal at my host’s comfortable place. Her cat checks on me intermittently as I raid her bookshelf. Like the company my novel keeps…
Let’s go ahead and assess this damage.
Left foot meets right foot and I bow forward. Already I feel a pull in my lower back. Continue to weigh my torso so that my arms sink along the side of my legs, hands planting onto the floor. Definitely a strain. One more measure: bend the elbows to sink deep into the back leg stretch, ass high in the air. I freeze at the sensation of a red hot poker blade dragging itself from top of thigh to the center of my lower back.
That’s not a strain, ladies and gentleman, that’s a muscle tear.
With that I lower to the ground, fan my legs, and extend a stretch to the right then gingerly to the left. The damage is officially from the right waist to the back of the right ankle. I’m an expert at fucking up my body.
I harness Bobby to include Bear’s Texas A&M dog tag (to signal we’re friendlies in the OSU/OU territory) and with bottled water in hand, we head down the street.
Middle America is quiet at 11:13 am CST. Cloudy and breezy, a welcome after a bitch of a heat wave over the weekend. The neighborhood I’m staying in is quaint, provencal, and proudly maintained. Every house a little story, every yard an expression of self-worth. The large diesel commercial trucks parked in the driveways likely cost more than the houses. I imagine the person who drives that truck to work is enjoying a few days, maybe hours, of respite before he takes off, back to the fields.
What are the wives of roughnecks like? By garden alone, you can tell she’s a proud Oklahoma woman, growing rosemary, sage, cactus, purple-tipped sawgrass. Nothing exotic; a botanical expression of Midwest culture – familiar, comfortable, native. As we continue down the street I note the various license plates representing nations: Cherokee. Choctaw. Osage. Texas.
A man in a wide-brimmed straw hat driving a black beat up F-150 offers us a wave of greeting as we turn down on 25th street. Bobby’s being serenaded by the local dog community, all stir-crazy that the little black boy bops freely down the middle of the street while they tug helplessly on their chains.
My skin warms as the approaching noon sun lifts centerward, and I start to feel my hip slip. Now I’m very concentrated on the intensity of this injury: the tear in the muscle interferes with my ability to comfortably propel forward; it feels as if my hip is slipping out of position. The spirit is always willing, but today, we’ll cut this walk short.
Bob and I turn up onto the main road back to our street and we are eyed by a very bothered, obese Jack Russell terrier. She frightens me as she tears across the busy street to defend her home from an unsuspecting Bobby. She nipped at him lightly, but Bob took it as a greeting, wagging his tail with delight. Her owner soon recovered her and we had a short but comforting exchange – all is fine, Bobby’s fine, I hope she’s okay.
We are welcomed back to our street by a cacophony of curious dogs, and I enjoy watching Roberto Tiberius promenade down the center of the street, panting towards his subjects, one black paw after another trotting towards his familiar truck and house.
Meanwhile, I actualize the severity of my damage and decide to stay here in the land of the roughnecks until I’m fully healed.
Yes folks, this is happening. I’m hittin’ the road starting this week!
Where to Von? I honestly don’t know. I’ve got gas, I’ve got maps, I’ve got information and communication technologies, and I have
a badge-wearing wingman to help drive and navigate.
Why are you doing this Von? Life-wise, I need some sparkly fresh brand new so I can feel the wow again. Creatively speaking, my writing is uninspired largely because I’ve deprived myself of Befindlichkeit, which is a big pretty German word for self-discovery. Discovery is tangible – what you experience with your senses within current time/space – but self-discovery requires a more metaphysical…event, let’s put it. I’m gonna position myself in physical places I’ve never been before, connect cosmically with what or whoever has a cosmic charge, and throw myself into uncertainty, allowing reactions to happen in whichever plane of existence that happens.
And no, I am not using any drug, natural or manufactured, in order to encourage these events forward. Clean and sober and open-minded. That’s how this is going down!
I will regularly post to this blog, at least to let you know I haven’t been slaughtered. Since I’ll be working off of WordPress for Android, my posts might be more Instagrammy than verbose; I’m sure you’ll understand. 🙂
I will tell you I’m not doing the Atlantic seaboard or New England; I’ve done that drive four times in the past ten years. Something fresh and new means in the guts of Merica! Maybe even up to oohhhhh Caaaannaaaddaaaahhhhhhh
This is Von Simeon, signing off, and leaving you with a sweet song to remember me by…
“You know what my dad calls this place?”
I look above and around the chinch hanging on the walls and between tables, leveling my eyes at the sight of wooden peg games on each table top. A myriad of names pop in my mind.
She laughs as she says it, “Honkey Bucket.”
I’m careful not to laugh too loud. “I will never UNknow that! Let your dad know I’m gonna use it.”
We’re both being sensible; eating as much meat product as possible. While she does the ham-bacon-sausage trifecta, I go for grilled catfish ‘n’ eggs. We discuss the benefits of packing food vs. stopping to eat where we go. “My plan is to save every dollar towards gas.” “Me too.” I tell her about hurricane sandwiches, where you take the whole loaf of bread out of the bag, dress with nonperishable, processed foods, then return all of it back into the bag, the idea being, you can survive a hurricane landfall with this bag ‘o’ food. Yes, the butts are their own sandwich, or you can give them to the dog.
I reach for my phone. “Let’s talk route.” As Google Maps activates, I watch her watch our server pour water into her glass. Just as I think, ‘ooh, there’s a side spigot on that pitcher,” she says, “Umm. That was Sprite.” I want to laugh, but the server’s expression indicates she’s kicking herself internally. “It’s okay,” we both say, and the server explains, “I just got here. Haven’t had my coffee. I’ll get you another cup.” She says, “I totally understand,” as the server whisks off.
I felt compelled to admit I’ve never been a server. Either I was the manager or I was in the kitchen. “Hard to hit the floor when you’re not ready,” I assume. She’s the opposite; she prefers service positions. “Yeah, but sometimes once you’re talking to people it wakes you up.” I nod. That’s why I was never on the floor. I hated dealing with people, but I loved telling them to go fuck themselves. That’s when I realize, this person is good for me. I need someone who is naturally friendly and compassionate who I have no sexual attraction to. We can compliment each other without complicating each other.
I swipe the screen to enter an address somewhere in the American Midwest. The blue ball indicating our current location shrinks as the image expands upward, displaying the green penis of Florida and the expanse of North America above it.
In an act of complete abandon, a huge leap of faith on my protective part, I position the screen towards her. “Pick our route.”
She tightens her face to scrutinize the options. “We’re taking our time?”
I’m amused as she rubs her chin, clearly putting much study to the North America map.
“Either 20 or 40 but west for sure.” I have done the Florida to New York drive too many times, sorry Atlantic seaboard. I want to see some new shit. I hope she wants to see the Grand Canyon.
She points to Louisiana, a certain city I’ve never hung out in, just driven through. “I can talk to her about staying the night.”
“That’s cool. Definitely save on getting a hotel. But we need that confirmed before we leave.”
She nods assuredly, “Oh that’s fine.”
“She needs to be cool with us showing up at 3 in the morning with a dog.”
“Oh that’s fine.”
The paranoid part of me is screaming, but I let her rock out. I have to do this; I have to resolve my crisis of faith, and it starts with trusting this person.
Neither one of us has the will to clean our plates. Maybe if we had smoked prior to brunch, but, oh well.
I lift our ticket from the center of the table. “Honkey Bucket’s on me.”
There should be more people out here than there is.
No matter, as the rental chariot of the day, one Ford Fiesta, slides into a parking space in front of Paradise Grill. Immediately the smell of salt rushes up my nose and through my skull, making the center of my scalp tingle.
Bob unloads, overexcited to be out of the house and in a public place. His black nose busies nudging bush branches as I and my proven co-captain journey towards the deck.
Bummer. The grill is closed.
We find my favorite two Adirondack chairs vacant over to the right. She pulls out her pack of smokes while I wrangle my dog to at least try to stay in the vicinity. I let go of his lead and let him visit with the people making the short climb up the side wall to reach the deck we’re on. Cloudy night makes the full moon a full smear up and to the left of us. The Gulf of Mexico lap lap laps in quick tempo as the tide shifts out. The water is a soft grey, perfectly reflecting the clouds above it, creating a silvery soft vortex opened only to us three, a portal of infinite possibility.
I sigh. “I wanted to do something to commemorate this day, but the grill is closed.” I smack my own forehead. “We drove right past that Circle K. I coulda stopped and picked up some beers before we made it down!” I stay looking at her. In her amiable style, she says, “No worries,” and I assume it’s because we still have a whole ‘nother cigarette to burn. I shimmy forward on my long seat and straighten up to announce, “Come on. Before we get comfortable. Everyone back to the car.”
The Circle K has a long faced woman working the counter tonight. This is such an important day, a successful day; today I got rid of that last bit of trash. Consciously amending my sobriety clause, I wind past the salty snacks and to the double door coolers.
We’re doing it. We’re gonna have an alcoholic beverage, because that’s what you do when you succeed; you raise a glass and you let yourself be giddy. My eyes scan the options and I frown. No Dos Equis.
There it is.
“If you’re gonna fall off the wagon, do it with Sam,” I proclaim as I lift the sixer off its shelf. That’s when I notice the wine case. Shoot! I saunter over and see it’s the bring-a-bottle-to-a-dinner-party variety. I figure one cannot go wrong with a Chateau St Michelle Riesling if it’s already chilled in the case. She grabs the bottle while I return the stock. “I think it’s a cork. Yeah, it’s a cork,” she says fiddling with the top. “We’re gonna need a bottle opener.”
“No we’re not, we still have the tool bag.” The tool bag. One of the things I told her to keep up with when we loaded the car. ‘Be familiar with this bag; it’s going on our trip.’ She pointed out I was missing needle-nosed pliers. Add to travel list.
“We have a flat head screwdriver and a hammer.” Over the top of the bottle she’s holding, I mimic the screwdriver in my left, the hammer in my right, and one focused hit to the head. “Bottle opener.”
Although we should probably add a corkscrew bottle opener to the tool bag. Add to travel list.
The twenty dollar bill in my wallet turned out to be a ten dollar bill, so back to the original plan. We head back to the beach; this time, over to the long bench overlooking the south part of the deck. The tide had carried out some more. I use my key chain opener to serve our beers. We toast to our great day, clink necks, and enjoy the deep amber…