Saturday, August 27, 2005


Now what?

We're in Needles,CA this morning, so we'll be back home tonight. I thought I should blog once more from the road b/c it's a whole different vibe.
The day we left I told Susan that one of my favorite parts of traveling is the part where suddenly my list of responsibilities is whittled down to what I can carry with me - what fits into the van, what fits into my suitcase. During the day I try not to speed, I calculate how much farther we can go before I have to find a gas station. Or a hamburger. At night I try to find a movie on the tv and fiddle with the a/c. And that's it.
So up 'til now, I've been relatively serene. I've found a lot of comfort in the vast landscapes and the changing sky. Part of my mind does the driving, another part takes in the scenery and then the final bit ponders the nature of the universe. On our way out that part was working on fear because we were headed towards the unknown. But my two hands on the wheel and the shell of my vehicle contained that subject, kept it a manageable size. I mean, if I didn't like what I found out there, I could always hop back in the car and go home.
But now that I'm almost home I've suddenly remembered the flip side of that equation; when you don't like what you're finding at home and you respond by hopping in the car, where can you go?
"Home" can only be a steadying force if you work at it. If you fight for it.
And so, even though the thought makes me tired, I'm going to start reading the newspaper again. I'm going to try to listen to the tv and radio shows that I've avoided ever since Bush's first (?) election (?) to the office of president.
Because I still want the United States to be my home.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


We're on our way home

Suddenly we're tourists. Or it's that suddenly we're on vacation. As opposed to being on a mission.
Ooh. Except right at this minute, Susan is on the phone with someone from Albuquerque's channel 7. And my stommach has left the building.
We're going to talk about our trip. So I guess it isn't over yet. I thought I'd heard the fat lady, but no.
Ok, so now suddenly I'm thinking in sound bites. And am slightly disgusted with myself for my reductionism.
Susan and I have talked a lot about packaging on this trip - how to render experience into digestible chunks. We've lamented the info-tainment that convinced us that Texas was an extremist "red state"; that might have made people assume we were hysterical "Blues."
But I can't imagine getting more than five minutes to speak my piece. Sheesh, our piece. Two and a half minutes. Minus forty-five seconds times two for questions. That leaves forty-five seconds.
Ok. Eek.
Love your hair. Hope you win.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I'm tired

At least it wasn't the new rear tire that crapped out.

At least the tire didn't blow this time. Just flipped its tread.

At least I had a camp chair and an umbrella while I waited in the cement drainage ditch for AAA.

At least when AAA didn't show, a guy from the Texas Dept. of Agriculture and a guy from the Texas Dept. of Transportation bonded over rescuing us.

At least Paz (transportation) knew his way around Snyder.

At least Paz's friend who owns the tire store, Bill, wasn't interested in ripping me off when we discovered that one of my front tires was being held together with miracles.

So even though I'm tired, I made it to this bed in the Amarillo Motel 6, and I'm actually still enjoying this trip.


You are there

Thought I'd put up some randomness that hasn't made it into anything yet.

- Fire ants are not native to Texas, but they're there. And they aren't bothered by Deet
- Chiggers don't like Deet, but it's only useful if you apply it before you find out about the chiggers
- Chiggers do NOT burrow under your skin. Those are chigoes, another bug entirely. Chiggers are a part of the arachnid family and they spit an enzyme on to your skin that dissolves it enough for them to suck up the proteins

- Starbucks is everywhere, and thank god! Even if they prohibit their employees from expressing any opinion about they way the world works, they also play Billie Holiday on their patios and have bathrooms with toilets that flush well

- Truck drivers are lovely people. Especially Robert, who found my wallet on the ground in Waco when he was out for his midnight stroll
- Keep your cell phone number in your wallet when you travel so that truck drivers don't have to call your parents in other time zones in order to find you
- Give your parents your cell phone number when you travel so that they don't have to comment on your blog to tell you that you've lost your wallet

Ok. Have to get packed. On to Amarillo today.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Meat goat or Show goat?

We have now driven both forth and back through the meat goat capital of the US - somewhere East of Lawn and West of Gatesville. They also have show goats there, but so does everyplace else.

The Crawford scene was something. Well, and we were there over the weekend. Turns out that people from Dallas and Ft. Worth and Austin have been driving down to Crawford on the weekends and bringing food and water and fresh energy to the people who are camped there.
Of course, some people just drive down for the thrill, the scene. Esp. this last weekend because Joan Baez performed on Sunday night. I must admit, I was a little disappointed when I heard they were going to start having concerts. I mean, this is serious, right? Not an excuse for drinking and mating rituals.

And then I spent Sunday day at Camp Casey 1. No, I spent two hours there. One very nice marshall or policeman or whatever is there to make sure no one breaks Texas state laws by blocking the roads or trespassing on private property. And then there are the protesters. College students and nursing mothers and grandpas and lesbians and men who never hang up their cel phones. They sleep in tents, in their cars, in gazebos made of netting bought at Wall-mart. There's a "kitchen" with water and melons and poptarts and peanutbutter sandwiches. Things that won't spoil in the lizard-stunning heat. There's a "pharmacy", too, with sunscreen and babywipes and bug repellant and antacids.

And they just talk. They talk to each other all day and into the night. Not just about politics. They tell stories and several people have guitars and there are always the logistics of parking and day visitors and heat exhaustion to work out.
So I sat there on a chair in the shade and held Blanche's leash whilst Susan got some more footage. I sat with Celina and her sister Egla. I bummed menthol cigarettes. We fed Blanche watermelon. We played where-are-you-from and told some jokes. All at a pretty serene pace because of the heat.
Then we started telling stories about Iraq and injustice and human nature, sharing what we'd learned along our paths to those chairs in the shade. And then we got quiet.
Me, I was quiet because I was hot, and because I remembered that arguments aren't always logic-based and because the world is so full.

And then I understood that the show goats might just come for the thrill, but the meat goats need to have Joan Baez sing to them so that they can sit in those chairs the next day and maybe the day after that.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Oh My!

If somebody has a happy story to tell me about West Texas, I'll be surprised.

Now we're in Abilene. Yes, I know Cindy Sheehan is in California; we found out yesterday. But Pecos was not a good place to make decisions. Whereas here at the Abilene KOA, with its pool and its eight-hole miniature golf course, with its ice cream and wifi and bunk beds (we took an electrified cabin so that we could charge all of the audio/visual toys), continuing on to Crawford seems to be the thing to do.

Because Susan and I have noticed that, even though we're good skeptics, we've still been trusting the media WAY TOO MUCH to give us the 411. For example, we have yet to meet a hater. We've met some dislikers, but they've all been liberals. I'm sure our data is skewed by the people that we (read "Susan") choose to talk to. But still, the silent AAA woman and the guy in Pecos who told us about the gun fight they had the other night in Barstow are the closest we've come to rabid conservatives.

If any of you have the chance, try to rent "The Bells Are Ringing" with Judy Holiday and Dean Martin. Yes, it's a musical. But there's one number where Judy makes Dean say "Hello" to people waiting at N.Y. street corners for the light to change. Cheeze, but what if we talked to each other - our neighbors, or just strangers - instead of believing Rupert Murdoch when he tells us how much we all hate each other.

As my mother says "You touch the parts of the world that you can reach."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


What's this thing called, love?

Susan's been talking to everyone along the way. Telling them what we're doing, and engaging in conversation. I'm so glad she has the balls - sorry, the uterus - to do this. Once she's started them, I'll chime in if the other person doesn't bite her.

And actually, there haven't been any biters so far. One woman who was helping Susan at the AAA office in Phoenix kept smiling, but spoke less after Susan mentioned Crawford. A woman at an AM/PM in Tucson told Susan a long story about a man who had tried to pay for twenty dollars worth of gas with a hundred dollar bill. "I'm not a bank," she said to him.

Most people are interested, though, and surprisingly (to me) supportive. They have Iraq stories of their own. A trucker showed us the scar he'd gotten when his body armor failed and a bullet punctured his lung.

So here I am again, at a Motel 6 on Susan's computer. This time we're in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The right rear tire blew today - that's how we met the trucker - and I must have wiped all of the sunscreen off of my face, because I'm shiny pink except around the eyes. I'm worn out and I wish I had some mashed potatoes.

But I had to post because I'm beginning to notice this thing, this other thing coming over me.I'm hardly even talking to these people. These people, they scare me. And yet, the more times Susan just jumps right in, the more I'm beginning to carry these people with me. And as I carry more people, I'm starting to be stunned rather than scared. Well, no - stunned and scared. But something else, too. Something that's the opposite of anonymity. Not fame, some other thing. Some . . . thing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


what are these blank keys?

Ok, one blank key on Susan's laptop is the "E" "D" - oh! That's what that is! And then "C" - yeah, there's a little of that one left.

So I'm on not-my-computer, sitting on not-my-bed listening to not-my-dog cry (Susan left for a swim). And I'm still trying to figure out - feel out -if going to Crawford is not-my-cause.

Bush is certainly not-my-president. Except for on paper. But I'm not going to Crawford to get him impeached or disbarred or declawed. I keep saying that I'm going to give Cindy Sheehan my support. And my presence is more potent than an email. But is it more potent than giving money to an organized peace group? Or to the Demos? What does it mean to take my body there?

I grew up in Berkeley. I should already understand this concept osmotically. My uncertainty makes me feel like I'm betraying something.

But I can hear my therapist in my head. Vaguely. Something about feeling my feelings. Something about certainty not being the point. And then finally she points out that I am in a Motel 6 in Tucson writing this and feeling strange at the same time and suggests that maybe I could try sitting with that tension for a minute.

Damn her. Where's my pill?

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