I don’t know what DocuDharma’s purpose is. I mean, I see the site name, and I know the dharma a bit; in fact I might just be a genuine dharma bum. Only time will tell.
I reached the ripe old age of forty with some bouts of roaming the country behind me, but I’d picked up neither Kerouac nor Theoreau. 2008 was the road – Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, a sliver of West Virginia. Pennsylvania was forest and time to stop and think, then the wonderland of Massachusetts before me. Somewhere in there I snuck into Maryland; it’s all a bit foggy, so I’m glad I diaried the heck out of it. Vermont and New Hampshire garnered some attention, New York was near, Minnesota called on our summer road trip, and I think I met an elderly bear chasing house cat in Virginia, but I’ll have to check my photos to be sure.
The Last Time I Committed Suicide is playing, and before that is was Dead Man with Johnny Depp. There’s road under there, road in both of them, and the surrealism I need to feel as if I belong here, even if only a little.
I caught a little of the road today – U.S. 45 southbound, right up against the Illinois/Indiana border. Vehicles zooming by; SUV? Check. New? Check. Christian fish? Check and mate – that sort never stops, not even if you’re clean cut. Thirteen miles I had to go and I walked five of it before a fellow in a new little pickup stopped, a school bus driver. I guess it was just a habit for him.
I see the ease of the 1950s in this movie and it’s there in Kerouac’s writing – one could just get a job, and lose it, and move on to the next with no real concerns, unless the search for employment were symbolic in some sense. The easy sexuality? I guess the fifties were the seeds of the sixties. There’s none of that to be found when you’ve broken loose from polite society as I did. Even so 2008 was a magical time – in the depths of it all I met someone wonderful, but with the same neurological flaw I have.
The winds blew and when they stopped I glided to a halt a few hundred yards short of a thousand miles from her doorstep. We talked tonight, she and I. Time and distance give perspective; we all have our pluses and minuses.
The happy go go GO world of Cassady and Kerouac? They’re our heritage, just as Thoreau before them and I suspect Chris McCandless will, having been given voice by Jon Krakauer, be joining them. The yawning chasm of economic collapse can’t help but open beneath a third of our housing inventory, spilling people and possessions about. Let the unemployment benefits hold until spring; it wouldn’t do to go through that with winter coming on. I might wish for Dharma Bums, but I fear Grapes of Wrath was the Reader’s Digest version of what we’ll get.