3/1/90 – New York – 9:30pm – having already had dinner with my step-father Mel and visited my Mom in the hospital to see if she was o.k. after surgery, I decide its time to leave, leave, leave, to finally split and get the fuck out of New York, Westchester, Taconic Heights, NY and head on West to whatever is there – maybe nothing – but it won’t be New York and fer dam sur.

There’s no point in waiting until tomorrow to leave, my futon is already packed in the back of the car, and I probably wouldn’t sleep tonight if I tried (I didn’t sleep at all last night).

And so here I go, finally, though it’s a little late and the car is weighed down so badly that the back right tire rubs unmercifully when I hit a dip or bump in the road, but this is something I’ll have to deal with, I’ve got to get the fuck out of this place, AND NOW.  Tim Kosloski is waiting down in D.C., but he has to work tomorrow so he’ll probably be asleep by the time I get there.

Through Tarrytown, across the Tappan Zee bridge into Rockland County, then south to D.C. and points west.  Going down the Pallisades Parkway my tire rubs a little too frequently and I have sudden paranoia that I’ll have to turn around and go back, go crawling back to Mel because my “great move west” has sputtered and stalled less than forty miles from his doorstep.

But everything holds up, I make it past the Geo. Washington Bridge and on south to the NJ Turnpike and the thousand-odd memories of all the times I travelled this highway, back and forth to UVa., either with Mom or Tom Matuzzi among others.  My thoughts are mainly on gauging my speed so that when I hit a bump the tire doesn’t rub too long or too hard.  Having all my albums on the rear axle is not the most intelligent move, but this is not something I can change right now, right now I have only to concentrate on getting myself to Washington, D.C. (I can redistribute the weight once I get there).

I called Doug Boyd earlier tonight, it was really good talking to him.  It’s kind of silly how detached people become, but I shouldn’t kid myself – a lot this alienation and general lack of keeping in touch is a result of my own confusion and lack of direction, lack of desire for anything other than women, a woman, one woman, a wife.

Doug is getting married in July, and although Tim K.  told everyone when we were in NYC for the Kickoff Classic last Labor Day, it’s still good news.  Doug and his fiance Dana have been together practically the entire time I’ve known both of them.  They should be coming up to Washington on Saturday, after they help clean the wetlands in the afternoon.  It was good talking to Doug, I am very psyched to see them.

But here I am, still on this fucking turnpike, remembering now the last time I came down to Washington (Feb. ’89 on Amtrak) and the last time I the pleasure of driving this stretch of road (Sept ’88).

September 1988 – Labor Day – When I took off from New York, exact same route as tonight, a little bit earlier in the evening, driving that ’84 Honda Accord gray four-door (which I ended up crashing in the Bronx the following year).  Still living at home in Taconic Heights at the time, in the middle of this huge fucking rainstorm, hydroplaning all the way down the Pallisades Parkway, leaving around five in the afternoon after trying unsuccessfully to recover from that one bitch of a goddamn hangover that I just couldn’t shake (and telling Tim – “I’m either gonna shoot myself in the head or drive to Washington, so I’ll probably see you in about six hours.”)

Hungover from that keg party, still chasing girls who wouldn’t even talk to me.  So I ran away, down into Washington to see Tim K., Doug Boyd and the UVa. crowd, but also old Jeff Faircloth who was down there (and who I had called drunk as shit from the party the night before telling him I would fly down on Tuesday, but waking up Sunday and realizing I had to leave).

Mr. Jefferson – back from his canoe trip in Belize, still alive, still kickin, but most important of all for any kind of goddamn survival – still drinking.

So, on down I went looking for something like appreciation but mostly just wanting to see people who knew something about what was important to me.  And we drank and talked and hit bars and played softball those first days ’till the UVa. crowd headed up to Baltimore to see the Orioles game and I hooked up with Jeff, got tickets from Doug and made plans to go see the Dead at the Cap Center.

And of course the rest of that trip, which may or may not get explained later on including wine and acid at the Dead, as well as sailing and unhealthy death-knelling in the redneck haven of far northern DelMarVa, where the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers come within 30 miles of each other.

February – Washington’s Birthday 1989 – train ride down that time, still chasing little girls at the time, still living in THAT HOUSE (which Jeff called Party Central) with Jim Maddox, Mitch Caplan and two other guys.  The whole Shady Rest/UVa. crew comes into D.C. for the weekend, and we mostly do just random drinking etc., but what I remember most about that weekend was the fucking insane crackhead who went on a hit-and-run rampage the afternoon everyone got into town.

I have always wanted a copy of that newspaper – Washington Post from Feb. 18,1989 (or whichever date that Saturday was) with a diagram tracing his path, especially a favorite were the areas where he had chased pedestrians up onto the sidewalk and the place where he had backed away from a car, not to drive away, but to get a better shot at ramming it – true blue insanity.

But now I’m further down the turnpike, away from the exurban sprawl to the north, probably around that area where the clouds broke and I was treated to that unbelievably purple sunset on that drive down here in  Sept. of 1988.

I’m averaging 70 mph which is fairly safe at this time of night appx. 11:30pm, it’ll be another hour or so to the Del. Mem. Bridge, then another hour from there to Baltimore, and then another hour from Baltimore to Washington.

Over the Delaware Memorial Bridge now through Delaware and down into Maryland, I see the sign for DelMarVa.  Boy, what a time that was.  My first visit to Jeff’s place at the head of the Chesapeake.  Trying to think about it makes my head hurt.  I think my head hurt the whole time I was there – hangover headaches, drinking headaches, and slamming my head into the dashboard when we hit that boulder on the way home that last night.

I got pretty pissed off about that, not that my driving record is exactly clean of booze-related accidents, but it is quite a shock to be driving through backwoods Maryland, passed out in the passenger seat, only to be woken up by having your forehead smashed into the dashboard and realizing that the driver has also passed out and that we had been wandering all over the road like the totally sorry sodden saps we were.

Perhaps we shouldn’t have gone with the liquid dinner after doing nothing but drinking and sailing that little catamaran for two days.  That was all we needed was that boat and a box of drinks (fitting perfectly into the small plastic cut-out notch towards the “bow of the craft”).  This box including, but not isolated to half a half-gallon bottle of Jim Beam and a fresh fifth of Mount Gay with tonic and ginger ale for mixers (this being right after Jeff had sailed from Bermuda and was deeply into the rum/tonic and rum/ginger).

And we drank every drop of it, too.  Quite a tidy amount of liquor for two aspiring alcoholics.  Finally, after two days of drinking and sailing during the day, and drinking and playing shuffleboard and trying to keep Jeff out of fights in that redneck bar during the night, I felt a serious jolt of mortality and split split split ran away again got the fuck out of there before we both bit it and ran on back to New York, back to chasing girls, and back to work.

(San Francisco, March 1990)

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