Jun 2006

On the Road Again

I was hanging from the waist upside down this morning on my dewy little strip of grass between the basketball courts and muscle beach after a light jog to the border of Santa Monica. The shimmering palm fronds dangled, rooted to the clear ocean skies, and dogs of all genetic codes peed into the air. Sweat defied gravity too, running up my forehead to mingle with the sea-salted dewdrops.

I'm always a little bit nervous before heading out alone on a road trip. It's a lot like turning your world upside down. The rules you've grown accustomed to no longer apply and you have to rethink everything in the context of survival. It's easy for me to become locked in the comfort of companionship. Too easy. And every year around this time, my sanity depends on the solitude and fresh challenges of the road.

I suppose it has to do with hibernating all cold Canadian winter watching too much tv and growing cynical in the city. I need to shed that skin and feel a little more raw, a little more alive. The wind on my face, riding through a rainstorm, rushing to set my tent up before dark, climbing into my sleeping bag on the lumpy ground with my fleece sweater as a pillow, alone with my thoughts in the fresh air and the open road. I understand why people die pursuing their passions: to not pursue them is a worse death.

I don't quite know what it is about being in the middle of nowhere alone, knowing no-one on the planet knows exactly where you are at that moment. It's comforting in a whole other way - no - it's ecstatic!

The Freaks of Venice

I'm struttin' solo down the boardwalk in vintage cowboy boots and ragtag tassles, past the vendors of t-shirts, toerings and tattoos, off to see some crazies singin' songs and recitin' poetry over a plastic cup of chilled California Chardonnay. Howdy! It's several blocks of rolling incoming Pacific tide headin' north, so I smile, and say to the guy glidin' by on his purple air-brushed beach cruiser blastin' reggae for children Eensey Weensey Spider, "Hey dude! Double me to Seven Dudley?" Dude smiles and blows me a kiss through his headphones, "Hey girlfriend! Lookin' good girlfriend! Bonjour Paris!" Ball man, I call him Ball Man, the muscleman who works out at Muscle Beach then displays his muscles on the boardwalk in an eensey weensey bikini brief while rolling a little lead ball over his biceps, Ball Man tries to pick up women by telling them some woman he would never touch with a ten foot pole tried to pick him up. Ho boy! Guitar Man, who landed with a record deal in his twenties and never left lift-off never leaves his spot number fifty-two with two bicycles, an amp, a tarpaulin, and a book. He's here to stay. He's got conviction. He loves readin' and playin' here. He plays electric for the guy in the trench coat with the dreadlocked beard and choruses of jimi angels in his head movin' him to gyrations and wild fluctuations of his picking fingers. Man! I wish my angels rocked that hard! "Hey barefoot skateboard boy with long windblown hair, totin' your surfboard and wearin' your wetsuit at two pm on a tuesday like you don't give a shit what people think you look like, which makes you look ultra cool, will you teach me to surf?" Freedom people super heroes drummin', strummin', posin', rantin', paintin', ravin', bikin', bladin', surfin', swimmin', runnin', sailin', flyin, singin', dancin', windward windblown ocean speedway...Venice Beach, darlin' you do things my way.


The Journey


Meet Henk. He's a 1997 Buell S1 Lightning whom I fell in love with at first sight in the spring of '98.

Henk was the ultimate physical expression of freedom; and when I saw him gleaming all silver on silver from across the crowded showroom of show-off deep-throttled Harleys, worlds opened.

In a flash of desire, I saw tens of thousands of miles of open road, and warm summer months of welcomed solitude. This was a relationship I could finally commit to. And so began our love affair of eight years and counting...