As per usual in this line of work, after a period of relative stability the time on location crescendos in to and is punctuated by a raucous wrap party. And…poof. Free fall. You wake up the next day, bleary eyed, and its as if the previous few months had all been a dream. People are gone or going, local haunts devoid of familiar faces. Suddenly a stranger in a strange land. “Free fall” might be a bad choice of words, having a generally bad connotation, but in my opinion thats not the case. I don’t like heights, not into sky diving, and certainly don’t have any interest in bungee diving off a bridge, but waking up after a bender with no clues leading to the next step is certainly a position I know and relish. I have a love/hate relationship with the moment when you have to drag yourself out of bed, run a comb across your hair and tell your dog, “Whelp, I guess we’re throwing our shit in a bag, and getting the fuck out of here”. The Reality (pun intended) is after weeks of deliciously exciting and intense weeks of work/play the bottom drops out, and one is left in the primordial period of worrying, plotting, wondering. Inevitably the Real Pawn Stars of Memphis comes a-calling and its back to the Circus, and you’re guiltily happy to avoid real life for a couple months more.
As I’m apt to do, yesterday I packed up the Element and hit the road. Brain still slightly askew post wrap party I dully mulled over my Miami experience as I cruised away from the quasi-latino-metropolis-by-the-sea. I felt (and feel) like I dropped the ball in my explorations of the destination. Bad weather, and work stopped me from doing all the shit I really wanted to do. Two terrible excuses. Or maybe what I was looking for wasn’t there, a la Vegas. Oh well c’est la vie. To live and to learn. After a few hours of introspective cruising with borchata bumping from a Fort Lauderdale station, I snapped to and realized the sprawl that had blanketed the 95 North had dropped away to an alley of pure palms and beach pines. This made me feel better. Miami was behind me, for better or worse, and I was in the long Florida wilds. Land of Ponce de Leon, pirates, adventures long past (at least in my brain). My poignant last connection with Miami was a concrete moment. Just before Jacksonville loomed out of the mangroves my borchata station quickly faded into fuzz. A spin of the dial only found a few country stations and some Jesus radio. I smiled to myself, knowing I had left the tangible boundary of southern Florida into The South. This made me happier. The trip was afoot.
I stopped in Lumberton North Carolina after a sublime, and sun-kissed cruise along the northbound artery. I’ve stayed in probably hundreds of random places in small trucker “towns” over the past decade or so, but had an eye opener last night. My ritual is to unload the valuables, grab a beer, and let my infinitely patient dog run around in what ever grassy bog we find our self in. I was catching up on what ever stupid social media needs were pressing as Irie did what ever the hell a road dog does in the presence of a myriad of new smells. A dude came up to me asking for gas money. His racket was that his scooter was dead. I brushed him off, in the sort of guilty way we all do when a homeless person accosts us, saying I had no change. Maybe it was the fact that I was checking my Instagram feed on my IPhone as I dismissed him (like an idiot), but this crack head wasn’t having it. In retrospect if this same situation had happened on some street corner in New York, I would’ve mocked the frail Meth/Crack/BathSalts addict, and easily handled whatever advance he slung my way if it came to it. He feigned having a weapon under his shirt. To be honest in this situation, as he pointed his fake weapon under his stained shirt, and told me he wanted every thing I had, I got spooked. This dude was cracked out and probably had a bottle of Crazy Horse under his shirt, but (stupidly) at the time I had more fear of Zombies, Bath Salts or Deliverance given my current GPS location. Ready to kill or be killed (for the love of god no Gimp please) I squared up, but before I could make a move my Damsel rescued her “Damsel” in distress (Me). Irie came out of nowhere in the darkness, and snarling like I’ve never heard, lunged at the crackhead. I don’t know for sure if she cracked skin (I hope not for her blood safety), but she made such an impressive display of bravado that the crackhead ran for the hills and the two of us we left the ponder what had happened. Umm Lumberton, nice place to visit but…don’t.
The next day I was feeling pretty damn good. Last night’s encounter had me thinking, “Fuck the world. Down with dope up with hope”. I spun the dial driving North Bound through North Carolina and locked into some Fort Bragg Army-Rock-O-La-Station. Can’t lie, cruising for a few hundred miles to Motley Crü and Guns & Roses was pretty dope As I watched Chinooks and B-52s land over the highway I could related to these wayward youth’s zeitgeists.
Whatever. Ate BBQ at exit 173 in NC, and plowed thru the concrete tangle that is the North East Corridor. Made it to NYC ripe with ideas and stupid like Kerouac. We shall see how far that gets me.