Highway Depression Revisited

How Does It Feel To Be On Your Own With No Direction Home–Like A Rolling Stone

The time line of this post, Street Life and the Welcome To Seattle post (the next post) got switched. The Welcome post should be read first and Street Life second.

Street Life

With zealous fervor Dave’s brother woke me in the morning. He wanted me out of his house. Back on the road, illegally hitching up to Seattle, I couldn’t help but wonder why human nature was so deceptive, or maybe it’s just that I’m a rotten judge of character.
At any rate, after all that Dave and I went through–all the laughs and stories, I decided I would not let the last twenty-four hours change my opinion of him. Dave was my friend and that is the way I wanted to remember him. Besides, how could I not like somebody who was so much like me! I guess there’s something classic in that observation.

Back in Seattle, after I bought my boat ticket to Canada, I was disappointed to find that the boat had already left port. That meant looking for a place to crash in a city that was, for me, losing its shine. I went back to the hippie district to hang out. I had my book, “Plato’s Republic,” to keep me company, but even that seemed more of a pain than a pleasure. When I started reading the book, Plato, for me, was one of Western civilization’s greatest
philosophers, and then, an off the cuff remark by Dave changed all that. He said, “Yep, the Republic was written by the world’s most famous fascist pig.” Oh, well, on a planet made of dirt, what do you expect, cleanliness?

I was not in a good mood. Plato was not the only thing that was beginning to look different. I was beginning to see “hippie culture” in a different way also. I now saw it as a mere coping mechanism for the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Hippie culture, at
worst, was fake, an escape from reality, while, at best, it was simply a means to hide the psychological scars and flaws of people trying to be true to themselves in a society steeped in materialistic values. Replacing materialistic norms with stifling conformity was not going to get anybody closer to Utopia. In fact, if it wasn’t for the unspoken code that requires all “good hippies” to travel the open road, hippie culture would suffocate under the weight of its own conformism. Hippie culture was just one more path, one more trend, which stops people from asking the hard questions.

Sitting on the cold cement wall, I no longer felt like I was part of anything whatsoever. I was becoming more and more depressed and then I remembered the chick in the submarine place. It was time to pay her a visit. Fortunately, for me, she was working when I got there. When I walked through the door, I was greeted with a smile and a cordial welcome. I needed that.

Once I explained my predicament, she reluctantly let me crash at her place. I felt like a jerk; asking favors is not my style. In this case, however, I was so depressed I didn’t care. I
arranged to meet her after her shift. She lived in a one-room apartment with two girls and, when we arrived at her apartment, her roommates were not happy to see me either. After the portable beds were set up there was barely enough room for me to stretch out on the floor. I could tell that Caroline was uncomfortable with this situation, but that didn’t prevent her from treating me with kindness. Sometimes people can be genuinely decent and nice.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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