February 18, 2012 |
out of the nothingness arise these random lighted spires, they reach up to the sky as evidence of man's triumph over this environment, thoroughly uninhabitable for generations until somebody said hey, we should build a casino here. what you forget about this place is the open road; everything is so spread out, the terrain so flat, your destination completely in view, but so far away. being raised in southern california, being able to go fifty miles per hour off the freeway makes no sense. what i love about this kind of driving is how you're moving on the outside but completely stationary inside. the swiftness of our cars betrays the stillness of our bodies. i solve this problem with music; now, i am still on the outside, but inside i am dancing. everything has an inside and an outside. all of us are here, but we are here for different reasons. when we last left my father he was in petaluma with me, living at the glorified homeless shelter. one of my favorite memories from petaluma was when my mother called to frantically tell me that my car needed to have a smog check immediately or else it could explode, so i picked dad up and we drove to the smog check place and sat outside while the shady lone mechanic placed what looked like a gas pump into the fill spout. "is he stealing my gas?" "probably." "i need that gas to get home," i said dejectedly, to which we both laughed in unison, making light of our respective financial situations. my dad is okay, he just had a lot of health problems that finally caught up to him, so when he got fired from his last security guard job, he couldn't get unemployment, then his car got stolen, so he was left with nothing. he lived with his brother for a while, but that could not go on forever, so his sister brought him to petaluma to try to help him. after i left him there, they worked for a year and a half while he hopped between rehabilitation living facilities, sharing rooms with recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. now he is on social security disability and receives a check from the federal government every month. he could choose where he wanted to live, and it really came down to two places, with where i live being too expensive, so i find myself driving late in the pitch black night, until a narrow highway balloons out to a massive empty freeway under colossal lampposts that suggests an artificial city; not one that developed organically over a long period of time but was planned and executed with haste. i helped build this city. my tiny contribution was driving around obtaining signatures from construction supervisors confirming that my uncle's small crew successfully installed a balcony deck, on hundreds of brand-new houses, all identical looking, inside and out.
© barry reinschreiber