My wife wants to travel the world, she wants to go to exotic locations... I suppose maybe that's what happens when you're born and raised in Las Vegas? I was born here, but I didn't really grow up here. My parents were concerned about "sixth-grade centers" and metal detectors at the entrance of the schools. They packed us up and we headed for the middle of nowhere in central New York. Lived there for a long while. Moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Lived there for a short while. We then moved to Long Beach, California. Lived there for an even longer while. Finally made my way back to Vegas--my mother sort of forced my Dad's hand, but that's a story for another time--and I've been here ever since.
I want to travel, but I want to go to all the backwoods low-population forgotten towns of America. All the fucked up shit happens in the cities where no one knows who their neighbors are. And I'm not trying to front like I'm going to bake my neighbor a pie or invite them over for Yahtzee! on a Saturday night, fuck no, I don't want to talk to those weirdos either (I'm sure they think I'm an antisocial weirdo too). Kidding. But honestly, I don't know my neighbors all that well, and I don't know anyone in this city who is good friends with their neighbors either. I know some of my neighbors, but it wasn't because of close proximity, it was happen-stance that we met in other areas of life like work and school... I any case, you're probably wondering what got me on the idea of open roads?
I'm fortunate to be able to occasionally listen to music at work. Lately I've been using BandCamp to find new music. I like the recommendations it gives me based on my preferences. There's actually quite a selection of really good Americana Country music on there as well. I really can't stand all the over-produced bullshit. I mean, I'll listen to Dan+Shay or whatever brand acid-wash designer jean bullshit is popular these days, but I'm not overly fond of it. BandCamp lets me go around all that, it gets me to the real artists--sometimes the wannabes, but even those can be enjoyable on occasion. On my way home from work this evening I found Brennan Leigh.
Sitting in traffic my mind was wandering to other places. That's easy to do at all the traffic lights, or being stopped to wait for people to merge into your lane from all the orange cones scattered about. We all joke that the orange cone is the Nevada state flower. Since I've been back these past fifteen years, I've never seen so many orange cones and construction anywhere else in the union. It's amazing to me though, because there is no state income tax here, it's all funded by business. While I think that's a bit of an overreach, I think it's a good governmental compromise. If you want to do business here you have to contribute to the community in some way. Ironically, that's sort of directly descended from the mob mentality that ruled this town. Say what you must about their brutal enforcement tactics, but that was really only if you got out of line. The reason Carolyn Goodman is mayor is because Oscar couldn't keep running, but people still long for that type of leadership here. He'd probably still win if he ran. That isn't because of voter duress under threat, quite the opposite.
It's the old west.
My wife makes fun of me... She swears that Libertarianism is just a romantic obsession with the "Wild West." I do have a hard time arguing with her opinion too. She has a very cogent point that she makes with that observation. To a certain extent that's really what it is, but I also think that it is something that exists deep in the small veins that lace the surface of this country off the small ribbons of asphalt and thin dirt roads that connect all of us together.
I fantasize what it would be like to hit long stretches of dirt ribbon knit together with humble manifest destiny.
Drinking and telling stories. Singing songs and laughing. This is what I've experienced no matter where I've been in this country (truth be told, it's what I experienced in Mexico too, but that's probably a story for anther time). My dream vacation is finding a bar where no less than five generations have sat and drown their sorrows, or their troubles. And I want to sit and buy a drink for each of the locals, and have them tell me their stories. The stories of their mommies and daddies, their great grand-pappies, and the great matriarchs that fed them all with amazingly love-crafted meals. Americana burns in my veins and I want to share it with others. See what that term means to them. I'm desperate for salt of the earth.
Some of my dearest friends are my biggest critics and detractors. They wonder if I'll only visit the descendants of my ancestors or if I'll stay true to the personality that they know, and reach out to their deep cousins and melanin kin. The deep south is on my list... I wasn't scared getting lost in Compton at 3:30 a.m. on my way to pick up a sack of weed so that I can make it back down to Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach to try and fuck some strip club bartender from Willmington. No, my ass picked up that sack of weed and I smoked out Zorro and everyone else at that Halloween party. If I were to take the time to drive the deep backroads, I'd do it right. I'd visit everyone and hear their stories, buy them a beer for each story they felt they wanted to share.
If you've never experienced rural life, it's hard to explain. Most people living in cities are just like their rural kin, they've never been farther than a few dozen miles radius from where they were born. I don't know why we insist on rituals like driving a car or going to college; traveling our beautiful country and visiting with strangers should be required. As much as it pains me to admit, the Mormons have it right, they send their youth and soon-to-be-adults out to unfamiliar territory to be nice to strangers. If everyone used that practice alone, we would strengthen our society and help mend the divisions of our civilization quite quickly. But it has to be honest, just doing it because you think it's the right thing to do is not the practice that we want to spread. Instead there has to be a built-in humility. We each have to be without the general comforts we're used to and have to be open to what other people consider comforts and luxuries.
Just need an open mind and the ability to make generalizations and simple associations... "OH, that's music!?!" Yes, just sit and listen to it, try to understand why your fellow human has such an emotional response to this particular song.
Enjoy their brand of drink. Smoke their cannabis. Eat the foods that they like.
Indulge yourself in the beauty and depth of their existence. Don't turn your nose up at the things you don't understand. It has always served me well to to just accept the customs of those around me. I've always had friends.
Holy shit though. Seriously, where did Timbo come from? Fucking love his voice.
Good night. Until next time.