Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels Look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through Looking into their eyes, I see them running too
Jackson Browne, Running on Empty
Tonight I did something that I don't usually do. I went to a ballgame and afterwards, I went down to the Lake Bottom Brewery and ate. That's not what I usually don't do. I do that shit all the time; me and eating's like two peas in a pod. We go together like scotch and water.
What I don't usually do is cross the line. I had two of them Lake Water thingies while I ate. I was there for about two hours so that's about right. Then I went home and mixed me up a scotch and water or two ( wasn't hard, I got the recipe) and that, my friends, is what took me across the line.
I don't know why, but I don't do this much. It's kind of like a left over residue from when I was young. I drank and partied so much back then that I can't remember much of what those days were like.
I do remember being crazy. One night, I drank so much that I was with three different females and never closed the deal with any of them. I ended up passed out in a field behind the old red house on Van Dorsten beneath a star crusted sky, where one of the girls found me and kissed me on the lips. I remember thinking, "Damn girl, I bet if you knew how much I just threw up you wouldn't be kissing on me like this." She went back in the house and left me lying there drunk in the dirt staring up at the diamond sky.
I don't exactly remember talking to God, but that's when a lot of our conversations usually happened. Not in church with the hypocrites and the do gooders listening in, but in those times when I was baked and confused and lost and needed to know that life wasn't all about the insanity I saw all around me.
The last time I got sick from drinking was at a party where my wife had to get some friends to carry me out to the car. I woke up the next day with a massive headache and a still nagging wife telling me how much she hated cleaning up after my foolishness. I guess that might have been it. I didn't want to do that anymore.
Tonight though, it was different. I wanted to let go. I've been so tightly wound up these last few years that I can barely move without a permit, and I have almost completely forgotten that at one time I was Dionysus in the fucking flesh. My younger self used to make fun of people like me.
Every night it was me, Squeak, Carrie, Raymond, Keith, Danny, Ernie, Scratch, Mike, or any of four or five other fellers who shook off all the rules and regulations and went all out trying to find our own twisted version of salvation. We gave our souls over to the night, and turned our backs to the day. Whatever came, came, and we learned to adjust to life as it forced itself upon us, flying by the seat of our pants.
Five of these friends have since passed on, a fact that bothers me no end. I like to think of them as sitting around a fire at the Brodie Pits of Heaven drinking beer from a keg that God has thoughtfully provided.
We were once like wild, young stallions, racing up down Whitley Avenue and the cross streets and knowing that the powers that be were already trying to rope us in and break our spirits so that they could saddle us up and let the pip-squeaks ride us like carousel ponies.
I don't know when I lost the spirit that kept me out of that home corral for so long. If I had to guess, I would say it was the day after Cooper Baker, the Renteria boys, and I didn't come home one night, and I found all my clothes on the front yard and my wife behind a locked front door.
I knew then that my shit had to change, so I put my head into a noose and calmly walked into the corral and sat there as they put the blanket on my back and hitched the saddle around my withers. The words, " Never more to roam," echoing in my head.
I don't regret one bit being there for my wife and kids. The greatest moments in my life occurred when I my babies were riding me around the living room like a rented pony. I loved being a father and a husband, but even a saddle horse knows that time passes like a slow moving river eventually finding its way to the open sea.
And there is this thing called the Blue Rose, or the Blaue Blumen, a enduring symbol from the Age of Romance that refers to when a man starts yearning for his lost youth as he drifts ever closer to the end, and starts reaching for the unreachable. It is a feeling of great melancholy that overwhelms a steady man, slumps his shoulders, and sinks his ships.
It don't happen at any set place, or at any particular time. It could be in a barroom, in a bed, or in the kitchen when it strikes, but when it does, a strange fire glows in a man's eyes and they turn inward looking back across the years to when he was still young and running free, before time had worn him down to the size of a peanut shell.
My wife is dead now too, and she wasn't really happy with me anyway. I got no one to grow old with and no use for pretenses. If my withered body would go along with the ruse, I think I would pretend to be young till the end of my days.
But tonight, I did feel kind of young after drinking that second scotch and water. I went upstairs and put on some Allman Brothers, turned the lights off and pretended I was listening to Live at the Fillmore East for the very first time.
After I turned the lights out, I closed my eyes, and started loping slowly across the grasses of the western plains like I was some dumb ass kid out jumping barb wire fences and running in circles.
That feeling only hung around until the end of Whipping Post, but damn if it didn't feel good while it lasted.