jack "i totally lived with my mom for my entire adult life" kerouac's treks across the US
my day started wonderfully, i can't say anymore or i'll run the risk of compromising state secrets(shhhhh). sis and i decided on Kaplan's for a spot of breakfast before hitting the road. i was running on week two of the birthday celebratory fiasco and the old stomach needed a bit o' bagel and cream cheese to satiate and calm. traffic was very light, our timing was impeccable. upon emerging from the cajon pass highway 15 a butterfly struck the windshield. brilliant technicolor yellow splashed across the glass. sis quickly hit the windshield wipers, but as soon as she had smudged the yellow across the shield, another hit...then another...then another...two more...monarch kamakazis falling like snowflakes with exoskeletons. the highway was engulfed in suicidal butterflies and all surrounding cars shared our debacle. yellow splashed windshields seemed to be the new black in the high desert and couldn't help thinking that old Hunter would have been pleasantly confused..."not to worry, the poor bastard will see them soon enough".
visual stimuli seemed to be the call of the journey, beautiful 1940s mercuries littered the two lane highway, rebuilt roadsters, chrysler chevy ford and buick yachts sluggishly made their way across the sun drenched asphalt. ah-ha, i remembered, Viva Las Vegas, there should be 10 rockabilly kids to every resident in Las Vegas this weekend. brilliant. so what, i'm a sucker for pin curls and silk stockings, fuckin' sue me! we came up on vegas nice and early, picked up the key to a friend's house and settled in before it struck 2PM. three cheers for us. i crumpled into the couch with a drink and the pipe. unfortunately i got a bit too intoxicated and forgot to take a nap. c'est la vie. once our hosts returned from work A LOT more smoking took place and i was soon back in monosyllabic mode and obsessively text-messaging missives of tenderness to the Bay area. we had two missions to complete:
1) Rainbow Library presents the original manuscript of 'On the Road' by Jack Kerouac
2) i recently became re-acquainted with a friend from sixth grade whose husband was stationed at Nellis AFB
mission 2 called and plans were made for dinner and a drink. the old friend was en route to the dance club, so we had dinner and parted ways. it was really incredible to see her, she looked exactly the same, seriously, so it was a fun mindfuck that she was a mother of three, a wife, and moreover, EIGHTEEN years older than the last time we spoke. my family moved around a lot, never stayed anywhere more than 2 years at a time until i was out of high school, so the concept of seeing someone after that many years is completely foreign to me. sis, her friends and i made our way to a sufficiently nauseating sportsbar and tied a few more hours and inumerable drinks onto our evening. by the time i felt like it was a bad idea to push my luck, the table had reached a consensus..."Let's go home and get high..." god bless america.
the rest of the evening...predictably...had me on the couch periodically taking down notes and ideas. i was already feeling the literary vibe that i had hoped the weekend would invoke. in fact, between you, me, and myspace's servers, this whole three week long birthday celebration, though busy and time-consuming, has provided me with some of the missing pieces i needed to seriously get started on my next book. so yeah, fuck you, i'm a book geek, i'll highlight the drug parts so no one gets bored.
wake and bake...it's been a while. lazy, languid day, smoking on the patio, shaun of the dead(highly recommended by the way) drinks and drinks and drinks. finally motivation kicked in and we were off to the library. we smoked outside for a moment and the full gravity of the "purity" and "innocence" of modern libraries kind of got me down. even a library in Vegas wasn't safe. we looked like hoodlums, it was probably just high paranoia, but it was clear that the riff-raff were here to see the 'beat' book... the room was gaurded by a very intimidating woman. it was nice to see that old jack still garners a little security (though it likely has everything to do with the rich owner of the manuscript not wanting fuckers like me to compromise his investment). "NO PHOTOGRAPHY" signs littered the room and the glass case containing the manuscript. i would understand no flash photography, that compromises the integrity of old documents, but in the age of digital cameras i was a bit put off that no photographs were allowed...fascist fuckers. the large glass case stretched to the edge of the room and unfortunately the manuscript was only about half unrolled. two or three other souls hovered over the glass staring intently at the weathered paper. seeing the actual editing marks on the manuscript was what i desired and i was not disappointed. it was interesting to see how and what he changed initially and how that differed from the final publication. my deep desire was to read the edits of the Old Bull Lee section (i've always been a bigger Burroughs than Kerouac fan) but the manuscript wasn't unrolled far enough. it occurs to me that i should explain...kerouac wanted to relieve himself of the necessity to change typewriter sheets while writing 'On the Road' so he used a butcher's roll of paper to create a continous, flowing source (the bastard was hopped up on the Benzedrine, no time for useless hand gestures apparently). this, in turn was the original manuscript. as i approached the end of the unrolled manuscript i caught my sister's friend Daisy covertly snapping photos with her digital camera...ROCKSTAR SUPER-SPY, love that kid! thanks to her, the moment will not go undocumented. we eventually filed out and made our way back outside to continue smoking, ah the simple things in life. it was declared imperative that we have a drink immediately, and i agreed whole-heartedly. we drove a few blocks and slipped into the first bar we spotted. it was perfect, one pool table, completely deserted, and three or four 50-60 year olds engrossed in flirt games and storytime. beautiful. we whiled away another few hours at the bar and made our way back to Daisy's house. upon getting dar too high AGAIN we slipped out to the irish pub to see a friend's band perform. the place was comfortably full. empty enough that i could zone out without threat of molestation and loud enough that avoiding conversation didn't seem as anti-social. back at Daisy's everyone turned in and i spent a little more time smoking and writing in el notebook, i finally gave up the ghost when i seriously considered how shitty the drive the day could potentially be.
we woke late, so late i only hosed off in the shower(i'm a "MUST-SHOWER person). i tried to put the photos from the kerouac exhibit on my server via an ftp window, but they are large photos so i was only able to babysit one picture and we had to hit the road. i left it in the hands of our hosts and, well...it didn't work out. the drive back went very smoothly, we hit a few snags, but it only took 4.5 hours, so sis and i were both quite pleased.
two weeks down...
one to go...
jack's path to enlightment