Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, April 12, 2004


Had to go back to work tonight after dinner, and everything on the radio seemed so much more poignant than usual. The sadness of my having to go to work when I’d much better be curling up with my Jane Austen, in my nice house with my lovely spouse and darling sleeping toddler -- oh, songs just sounded sad. The folky-jazzy college station played some middle-aged white folky singing about “the road,” and apologizing for saying that he’s the child of the wind, or maybe he didn’t apologize but he did say that he’s too old to say such things but he’s going to say it anyway, he’s a child of the wind. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect that other times it would have struck me as hokey, but not tonight -- how sad, I have to go back to work, he’s the child of the wind. And I thought, well, I’m the nephew of the wind. I’m pretty settled and rooted, but I understand my cousins, blowing around like they do. I’ve felt the temptation to blow around, but that’s not me. The wind is not my parent but the sibling of my parent, the romantic genderless aunt or uncle.

And that got me thinking about The Road. When I was 18 I fell in crush with a smart 20-year-old hippie woman, and though the crush was unrequited we became great pals, and she persuaded me to read Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” which was fine. And all through my 20s and much of my 30s when I had spare time I would go on road trips across America, seeing much of it from the interstates and sometimes smaller roads, this big old beautiful crazy country, such a luxuriously mostly-monolingual continent. Ah, the road, the romance of the road, beat beat beep beep, for years and years, until it slowly dawned on me with rose-colored fingers. The road has got to be the most pampered place on earth. Nothing wrong with pampered, mind you, but even when camping, even when sleeping outside, I always had enough money in my pocket to buy my meals cooked and to sleep inside if I felt like it. Big endless state-smoothed pavement, a giant rocking cradle laid by big daddy Uncle Sam to soothe my waking dreams as I gazed through the cinematic windows while hurtling across the land. Feeling romantic, while the Invisible Hand of the state carried me along in sweet comfort.

Nothing wrong with loving comfort. Ascetics can do their thing; I’ve even admired one or two actual ascetics I’ve known; but it’s not for me, nor for most people.


The road is romance, or work; in any case travel.

The street is real, tough, dangerous.

The avenue is campy, showy, pleasurable; the boulevard even moreso; both are old-fashioned.

The lane is nostalgic, rural, innocent, protected.

The path -- well, we each got out own, no matter how well-trod.

Happy trails!

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