Sunday, September 2, 2012

Making the World Go Around

soledad, ca
Highway 101 runs north through the Salinas Valley serving as an artery for the agricultural cities of Gonzales, Soledad, and Salinas.  Trucks wait as flats of fruit and vegetables are loaded on board.  Workers bent over under the midday sun harvest the bounty destined to reach families across the State.

In other ways, it's a land of solitude, where the ghosts of migrant farm laborers of decades past still haunt the fertile valleys, looking to earn a day's pay and a drink of whiskey.  It's a place where compassion comes few and far between, where a bullet to your head can just as well help than harm.  It's a land of Steinbeck, of hopes and dreams, and of mice and men.

I love a road that goes on forever.

At times it runs so straight for so many miles that at 80mph it seems like I'm floating on air, lifted from my own weight, free of all that had kept me grounded.  The field workers, the trucks, and the boxes of produce are in a constant state of blur.  Only the distant horizon is in focus, yet that horizon remains elusive.

She found such great comfort with him that she kept him contained.  All he wanted was to feel special, and she gave that to him.  Together they remained in the same house for more than 30 years.  And now that his time is nearing an end, he feels ready to go and she feels betrayed.

I felt compelled to make peace with my father, and somewhere over the past several months that peace came.  Another weight was lifted from my conscience.

Most of us never achieve that dream of a house with a white picket fence, and yet some of us who do still feel robbed, even after living it for more than 30 years.

She's leaving such a burden of guilt on my father's conscience that his solution is for me to take his place in the family, and somehow making her feel comforted.  I only wanted to settle my mind, not his.

I gave the throttle a quick twist and weaved in and out of the cars, getting past the congestion of slow moving vehicles, the rolling roadblocks, the road ragers, and the cellphone cagers, and headed for that stretch of clear highway up ahead, where I can dial myself into 80mph and leave one hand on the handlebars.  If I can just put all those troubles behind me, get myself into that wide open space, I could breathe more easily and feel more free.

Yet people define themselves, stake out boundaries, and set goals, only to end up unhappy and feeling robbed.  They measure their success without realizing that all they really have is themselves.  Their house, their money, their position of power, is all just facade.  It's all just crutches propping up a weak interior.  Mother Nature already gave us a backbone, yet many of us never bothered to use it.

Somehow, we find ourselves burdened and bound by the very crutches that prop us up.

Like the lonesome man seen walking down the highway, or the biker who never seems to wave back, maybe some of us are destined to leave society and set out on their own.  Maybe putting down roots is just a nicer way of being burdened by a home, family, and social standing.

Or maybe I'm just that one rare kind of person that the world doesn't need make it go around.

1 comment:

  1. I think Eddie Vedder said it best in his "Society" song... Something along the lines of; Society, I hope you won't be lonely without me.


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)