I went to Westwood today to cash a check and experienced a bout of paranoid misanthropy. I think it had to do with the homeless guy yelling at me from across the street, the other homeless guy mumbling at me from the sidewalk, and the young women at the street corner with clipboards staring me down, just waiting to tell me I hate humanity because I won’t donate to their cause. Which… in cyclical irony is kind of true: the more they tell me I hate humanity, the more I hate their cause… and humanity.
When I pulled back into my garage, I sat in my car leaned back for about 10 minutes, staring at the ceiling. I looked at the steering wheel and the door, and imagined myself cruising through the Sonoran Desert on the way to who knows where, sleeping in the driver seat, a coffee-maker plugged into the cigarette lighter sitting in the back seat for the mornings, far far away from charitable causes and homeless cases, protected by my steel liberator in green paint from the guilt of urban apathy.
It would be me and the open road on a journey to nowhere and everywhere. And her, whoever she may be, in my passenger seat. She would share in my mindless adventure, us against the desert and the plains. I know I wouldn’t make it myself; I’ve tried open-road adventures on my own before. They always end up the same way; me looking at my passenger seat, seeing her, talking to her, and realizing she doesn’t exist. That’s when I turn around and go home. But if she, whoever she may be, were there with me, I know I would be given the strength to complete this journey.
After 10 minutes, I pulled out the roadmap of California I always keep in my car. I started up north, going through all the places I’ve never been that we were going to go. Surprise Valley in Modoc County. The Trinity Alps. The Lost Coast. Then I went south: the Mojave Preserve. Northwest Death Valley. The White Mountains. Hell, why not Calexico? What do you think, dearest? I looked over to the nothing sitting in my passenger seat, waiting for approval.
And then it hit me: I had to poo. I had no other choice but to leave my steel chamber of delusion and step out into the cold overcast college neighborhood. I wondered: if you’re living out of your car in the middle of the desert, where do you go when you gotta go?
My bowels have become the obstacle between me and my delusional fantasy of eternal liberation. Curses.