OUR SHADOW GROWS AS WELL
A HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION
Day 47 Train Tracks
to near Willard Junction
today: 27 cumulative: 914
On the road to Mountain Air. An analysis of drama, agony and ecstasy. Our concept of scales as flat lines on paper do not work. We see agony and ecstasy on opposite ends of the spectrum but we know that they have a common bond, as if that scale wraps around itself almost forming a ring, what we call opposites, almost touching. And like a small gap in an electric circuit, a spark jumps between. Nothing is flat. Everything meets again someday. It all comes back around. So in the agony is born the ecstasy, and in the ecstasy is born a pain just as great. As we ascend on this scale to greater and greater heights of love and progress and technology, our shadow grows as well. A phantom that we do not intentionally feed, one that grows because it has to maintain balance in the universe. The higher we climb the further we can fall, the more we love, the more we can get hurt, the more freedom we have, the more it will be taken advantage of. There is no place in life that this is not true. As we get better we get worse, as we grow stronger we grow weaker, as we reach great heights a great crater is being dug beside us. Balance. But we must reach for these heights! even though we know that we have further to fall. This is why there is drama in my life. There will be no regret here, no what if, no grey twilight.
Follow the train tracks all the way to Mountain Air. At the edge of town a man starts yelling from his porch, there is a ceramic Jesus head hanging by the door and a picture of his daughter graduating from high school in the front window. Piles of boxes and what re you doing with that cart, wait, let me run in and get the video camera. Film rolling, OK, now tell me that again, whats your name, what are you doing, where does your family live, come on in and meet the family. If there was a sixth gear, that would be Robert. Robert is a black man in his late fifties, he wears a shirt and a vest from the 1970s and a white tambersham hat. He always carries a video camera with him and he records every conversation. Inside the house one of Roberts videos of the grandkids (he has 20) at a Judo competition. His niece has big cheeks, she has a Mickey mouse slide viewer pressed up against her face, and clicks through the wheel of photos over and over and over. Dinosaurs, Bambi, Cinderella. A black Indian doll stands in a case decorated with feathers, it looks like a shrine to some sheeeee onaaa ke maaa ma sha oh, dancing on a bed of hot coals. Sacrifice to the volcano.
His brother shows up, everyone that starts walking over to the porch has a beer in their hand, they are all drunk. Shaking Roberts brothers hand too hard, he broke it in a fight, its swollen, and he says he is going to have to shoot me for hurting his it again. Perfect characters for this play, but I need some food so I say that I will be back, save a beer for me. At the other end of town is the Kowboy Kafe. One waitress and 20 customers, no one to carry away the dirty plates so they are all still on the tables and she hasnt even had time to go around and pick up the tips. Her name is Shenoa, which means white dove.
I will loiter here for some time, and wait to see what characters come into my world. Earl and his daughter let me join them to drink my coffee and before he goes he gives me his number on a matchbook, if I need anything I can call him, lives out of town, in the direction I am headed.
He is a computer genius and has installed some antenna that will connect people to the internet using the Hubble space telescope and a large array in the Amazon jungle, I am not sure if this tiny village will appreciate that kind of technology. Robert walks in, wanting to know why I didnt come back to drink beer on his porch, with his brother with the broken hand, and he has his video camera to record my reply, and to be sure I say good-bye to his wife on camera.
Robert moved here when there was just a dirt road through town he claims, that would make him in his 80s, so I have some doubts as he has only been here 35 years. He used to be a radio D.J. in New York, Your Man Robert the Disc Jockey, he called himself. He played on a baseball field on the 25th floor as a boy growing up in the high-rise apartments. But he has been living on the high plains now for sometime as has developed a fear of heights. Robert does not like goat meat.
Robert; favorite drink is Canadian Mist. Roberts only drink is Canadian mist. He has not had anything else to drink for 30 years he claims. "Not even water?" I ask. "Sometimes... with Canadian Mist," he replies. "So how much would it take to get you drunk?" "Cant get drunk anymore, I dont drink that much any more." "But in a hypothetical situation, how much would it take to make you walk a crooked line?" "A gallon and a half." There is Whiskey on his breath as we speak, not drunk, not sober. He claims he used to drive to town to get a handle and have it drunk before he got home and have to turn around to get another one. He doesnt do that anymore he assures me. When I am walking on the shoulder this is the man I am afraid of.
."And hypothetically, how much money would it take to get you to jump from a third story window?" He wouldnt do it, he is afraid of heights, and I quote, "I would not jump from the third floor of a building." "But, hypothetically, how much money would it take to make you jump out? Would you jump if you had drunk a gallon and a half of Canadian Mist?" "Possibly." "And hypothetically, how many days could you live on just Canadian Mist? "Twelve." And hypothetically, how many gallon jugs of Canadian Mist could you stack on top of each other and how long could you balance on the top of that stack on one foot if there were 2.3 million dollars at steak?" "Five." "And how much would it take to get you to eat goat meat?" And because he is a little drunk I continue to barrage him with hypothetical situations that involve large sums of money and desperate acts. Even though he is pickled, I like this guy and if I ever pass through town again I will visit his shrine, and his goldfish and his Mickey mouse niece and his wife Maria. And his brother with the swollen hand and I will talk about the good old days sitting in easy chairs on the porch. And Canadian Mist will flow from every tap instead of water. And everyone will live happily ever after.
It is late and there are still a few miles to go in pitch black, Earl tells me that I can stay out at his place, so I walk out into the night towards the giant Hubbell antenna that sits on his property. Earl and I shoot the shit while eating pizza and talk about starting new lives, and losing things and loving people and losing people we love. He has known me for a total of 10 minutes and he gives me his home. He is a generous man, he is why I walk, he is why I think I can finally say that I believe in America. The wind is tearing roofs off buildings. I am glad to be sitting on this couch. The TV is on, the news is depressing, I will ignore it for now. Will I ever do anything to change it?