Thursday, 24 December 2009

At the bottom of everything - αχανές (day eighty one)

The Useless Sums & Equations-

Distance driven - 12,581 miles

Distance travelled (including flights) - 21,381 miles

Average miles per day (with car) - 179.73 miles

Average speed over 80 days - 6.55mph

Average speed over 80 days (with flights) - 11.41mph

States visited - 29 (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming)

Flopping down on the old sprung mattress, my permanent indents still matching me, I look out at the old view I know by heart, past starry curtains the same since I was eight. Hordes of paper and clothes spread around me, flung out of bags, travel battered and stinking. The room is still the same, and it feels like I've only returned to the idea of home. In the dark I stare at the glow in the dark bugs, the way I always used to when I couldn't sleep, listening to 'The Sea Is A Good Place To Think About The Future', revelling in temporary perfection and perfect meeting of melody, mood and atmosphere. My words are running out, the glass spilt its contents. The leopard still wedged in its usual spot, betwixt bedframe and cream walls. The cat has forgotten who I am. We all slot into our family roles and it feels no different. What have I learnt?

Eventually nostalgia for the old empire is sated. BMX boys make wanker signs at each other on the opposite platform as I sit in the faded carpet seats of a train - my heart sighs. The girl opposite is reading Ginsberg, I'm reading Kerouac - in a parallel universe a confident man has approached her with a winning opening, swooped and grabbed. Nothing has changed.

Endings are hard to write without conclusions to structure and balance the narrative. So take heed, young sirs; where appropriate I bent the truth, outright lied, romanticised, fantasised, pretended and distorted. There are more truths created that way. To condense an American road trip into an emphatic bravado rousing finale will not do. I cannot do it.

Think this - What did he learn? What did he do?

This is the end.



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