Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My trip to find Ray Brower.

Miniturn had a copy of Stand by me on VHS. My ride giver had never seen it. This blew my mind.

I remember 1987 or so, walking for miles to the "EZ shop," to the only place that rented movies on VHS in the area. Our family didnt have a VCR, but the older kids that I walked with did, and we watched it at their house. As a young kid the movie was just a good story with a bunch of cool scenes, and of course a Cory.

Looking back on it now as I have grown up some, the movie is a good indicator of life. You make a group of friends, have a shared experience, and move on. You find new friends, new hobbies, new subcultures, new spouses, and leave the old. I still call them friends and email them occasionally, but I dont have their addresses or phone numbers.

In my life I have moved through lots of groups of friends. I have had over 30 roommates, with whom I shared some of the best/most ridiculous times in my life. (Calling everybody on the "phone list" {houses used to have phone lists before everybody had cell phones with numbers listed in them} to have a Gorilla Biscuits cover band show in our living room at midnight.) Or the time we evicted the homeless guy who was storing "stuff" in our basement for months on end. Those are a whole other book.

Anyway, my coming of age, story was riding across the States with 5 best friends in 2001. I spent a total of 400 dollars over 2 months and a total of 6 dollars to sleep. It was a contest of who could be the most frugal, who could think of the most obscure movie quotes, who could hold an inside joke the longest. This pretty much alienated us from everybody we met, and drew us in closer to one another. We were a bunch of "men" that would swim naked anywhere we could. We would stop to throw rocks at trains when the headwinds were winning the fight. We had unlimited time for a finite trip. I dont think any of us wanted it to end.

We literally got rained on for the first 31 days straight. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, but every single day. We left Pittsburgh and got rained on everyday until the day we left Fargo ND. Warm rain, cold rain, fun rain, drive you to suicide sleeping in a wet tent with a wet sleeping bag rain.

The trip made me love America more than I ever thought I could. The trip made me love human beings more than I ever thought I could. People would ask if we were afraid of strangers. Strangers let us sleep in their garages or guestrooms, bought us dinner, bought us coffee, adjusted our derailers, cooked us breakfast in their closed restaurants... We didnt ask for anything from anybody, but people just offered.

We got caught in a tornado in Minnesota and a woman FORCED us to come into her house because she thought we were going to die. We were taking pictures of ourselves in front of the green sky when she found us. I just remember carrying my camping spoon filled with peanut butter into her house. Some things never change. She offered us food and drinks. She was poor. Not like me being a bum poor, but like offering us roadkilled deer meat that the state gave to her in a welfare program for the poor. She had nothing and she offered it to us.

The low point was finding the rope swing at dickey lake. A teenager had told us about it hundreds of miles before. We would ask every teenager where the swimming holes were and where the rope swings were. This rope swing ripped open Cy's taint and caused 100+ stitches in a very sensitive area. Again, nice people did nice things and we took a week off while he healed. He stayed in Whitefish and we camped at the lake. After one week off, we did back to back to back to back to back centuries and hit the Washington Ocean in six days.

This is long. The point is that these guys are all nearly gone from my life now. People who I spent one of the best times of my life with are out of contact and have grown apart. One is in Chicago and I think might read this. We are facebook friends. One is in Mongolia, I think? One is in the far off land of Philadelphia. One is in Arizona and we occasionally email, but I forget to respond and he probably thinks I am jerk. Finally one married an ex girlfriend, which made things weird at the time, and we havent spoken in 4 or 5 years.

Time flies, life is short, love your friends.


Spice said...

Dude, I totally know where you're coming from.

wait until you go thru the milestones of your life, over the last few years...I have retrorespective moments 24-7...I feel like afreakin housewife.

Miss. Bea Havin said...

good post - you are right. it is sad to lose those people, but also always great to have the memories, etc.

ps: thanks for the facebook club. finally i feel like i belong in a little corner of the internet ;)

Matt! said...

I'm kinda stoked, kinda sad.

Adam said...

" "On this bridge," Lorca warns, "life is not a dream. Beware. And
beware. And beware." And so many think because Then happened, Now
isn't. But didn't I mention the ongoing "wow" is happening right now?
We are all co-authors of this dancing exuberance where even our
inabilities are having a roast. We are the authors of ourselves,
co-authoring a gigantic Dostoevsky novel, starring clowns. This entire
thing we're involved with called the world, is an opportunity to
exhibit how exciting alienation can be. Life is a matter of a miracle
that is collected over time by moments, flabbergasted to be in each
other's presence. The world is an exam to see if we can rise into
direct experience. Our eyesight is here as a test to see if we can see
beyond it. Matter is here as a test for our curiosity. Doubt is here
as an exam for our vitality. Thomas Mann wrote that he would rather
participate in life than write 100 stories. Giacometti was once run
down by a car, and he recalled falling into a lucid faint, a sudden
exhilaration, as he realized that at last something was happening to
him. An assumption develops that you cannot understand life and live
life simultaneously. I do not agree entirely. Which is to say I do not
exactly disagree. I would say that life understood is life lived. But
the paradoxes bug me, and I can learn to love and make love to the
paradoxes that bug me. And on really romantic evenings of self, I go
salsa dancing with my confusion. Before you drift off, don't forget.
Which is to say, remember. Because remembering is so much more a
psychotic activity than forgetting. Lorca, in that same poem said that
the iguana will bite those who do not dream. And as one realizes that
one is a dream figure in another person's dream, that is self

Speed Levitch

Adam said...

oh yeah, nice post.

Henry Dimmick said...

Speaking of MOOCHES... I have either hit my head too many times, or partied too much in my life... and have lost most of MY OWN memories. So while reading this post, I allowed myself to become emotionally connected to YOUR feelings of all YOU have experienced and the people who have faded into your past. Thanksfor that ride :) On a brighter note, I wake up each morning sleeping beside a strange woman!

jv said...

um. you have just ruined rope swings for me forever. Not to say that I will never use one again, but I will never again use a rope swing without horrible horrible images being conjured up.

gary said...

i wonder if i'll ever see you again...?

Jason said...

Dman that was good dude.

Pamo said...

Hey Steevo,

This is Pam. This entry made me really sad because I feel that same way about all the people I knew during that period of time. Sorry to hear you aren't in touch with all those guys anymore. I enjoy reading your blog.