Friday, June 30, 2006

06-27-2006 -- In the labyrinth

This whole area, this weird array of roads and bridges and ramps and lawns and hills on both sides of the river, these car conduits that wind down around the pyramids and the Pope’s giant bird-skeleton altarpiece… it’s like a nightmare maze to me. I’ve never understood it, and I’ve spent a life of automobile passengerhood trying; there’s something unknowable, something occult about it. Just riding through in a car I get turned around and befuddled… now, on foot at 2 a.m., beer-buzzed and worn out from walking, dehydrated dry in nighttime heat, it’s like I’m on some kind of desperate hoser vision quest. Glowing Egyptoid prisms of glass, shining Fairyland city reflected in black water, over and over in a futile fever-dream – and all I want to do is get home and take my damn shoes off.

I really need to get my bike fixed. Hell-trudges like this are fun once in a while, but since moving to the north side – not Deep North, but, you know, central -- the novelty’s worn off along with the crappy soles of my cheap shoes. Edmonton’s a pretty walkable city, but when you’re talking a Capilano-to-Kingsway commute, that’s a job for wheels. Wheels… oh, Lord Wheels… never has your call been so powerful. Slogging across this bleak bridge – didn’t we cross here already?… am I remembering a past life? – your roaring angels blaze and blare at me: a rusted-out Ranger, a shitbox Honda, a yammering musclecar, an unmarked panel-van with its headlights off… look how fast they move! That could be me! Screw walking, screw biking, and screw bus-taking twice. No credit, no problem… ez-payments… drive away today…

Jeez, what’s gotten into me? At least twice an hour, I start daydreaming the most pathetic little driving daydreams: “If I had a car, why, I could… I could drive out to Calmar! I could go to Home Depot!” My nights are filled with astral road-trips, a world filled with friends and strangers and demons and ex-girlfriends, bound together in a web of highway. Screw you, hippie; I want a goddamn CAR!

No! I want a TRUCK! With a camper! And then I’ll skip town and see the country! And I’ll have a dog and a lady and… and a guitar! And I’ll meet hoboes and truckers and I’ll write a novel, and where my truck dies that’s where I’ll homestead and then I’ll find a mountain lion cub with a broken paw and I’ll nurse him back to health and he’ll be my friend and the rusting hulk of my former camper will be his kennel and this filmmaker will find out about it and make a movie and people will cheer and cry and the attention will get to be too much so I’ll get the old truck running again and my lion and wife and dog and me will roll out in the dead of night with nothing but beef jerky, purple gas and Kris Kristofferson tapes…


You know, the more I think about it the more I realize I must’ve got heatstroke while working as a parking-lot drone for the hot-rod show n’ shine in Hawrelak last weekend. Four hundred cherry rides, four hours of direct un-sunscreened sunshine, a constant cloud of chemistry-altering exhaust fumes… I was reprogrammed, rebuilt on a molecular level. Intellectually, I understand what a car would mean to me – i.e. any car I could afford to buy would be a stinking, unreliable, voracious money-hole that’d ruin my life – but emotionally, I’m hooked. I saw all those doughy dudes and their leathery bitches, I saw those twenty-thousand-dollar paintjobs, I heard the rumble and I smelled the burn. I stood half a day roasting in a toxic intersection with nothing but a neon mesh vest between me and everything that’s wasteful, unsustainable, gaudy and wrong… and now I want in. I’ll probably start smoking, too.

A car, a cigarette… those would be two nice things to have, right now. Also, a glass of water. Sun’s been down for hours and it’s still thirty fucking degrees. How long until… wait a minute. Why am I looking at the Pyramids, again? Which way are we walking? OK. Over the bridge. Right. Damn, the city looks pretty, reflected in the water like that…

4 comments:

George S said...

Welcome to the dark side! Sweet, seductive technology....

Electrolucy said...

Scooters man...that's the way to go.

krak-ow said...

What a great piece. What does it say about me that it makes me homesick?

Allan said...

Cars are so totally square, man!

All the cool kids walk.