Tag Archives: Cast Away

Road Trip: Grease Monkeys and hot dog water.

Sometimes people ask me what I think heaven must look like. I would usually say something cliché about fluffy clouds and gold paved streets. Trees line a gurgling, crystal clear river all the way towards the Throne of God. I think there are millions upon millions of angels and departed souls singing and shouting and banging their tambourines all night long. I bet there is a never-ending buffet with all sorts of delicious foods and cocktails being served by smiling angelic beings. I am sure there are pools and flowing waterfalls, pearly gates and everlasting life. Free Starbucks for everyone. No hatred, no sadness, no greed. Eternity in a nutshell.

If you are looking for heaven on earth, I suggest driving through the Rocky Mountains. Start in Grand Junction, Co and drive West on I-70 for two hundred and seventy something miles. I can assure you its rugged cliffs and dragon like scales jutting out from earth will leave you in an ethereal state of mind. Streams of water cascade down from the mountains and flow over rocks and around tree stumps, horny squirrels mate under the shade of small bushes. Blue skies and wild flowers put the whole picture in a frame to hang on your wall. I’m sure I saw the ghost of Bob Ross sitting quietly on a boulder with his easel and paints talking to himself. I could be wrong because I was too busy keeping an eye on the road. My brakes were making funny noises, I was sure the oil was depleted because I couldn’t get the Grand Van to go over fifty.

Before I left New York, I had some “mechanic” at Wal-Mart change the oil on my ride. He told me there could be a minor leak. There was no leak. He didn’t help the situation either. I know nothing about cars except changing a flat or putting in water or Antifreeze. I can turn the key and put the transmission in drive if I have to. I know how to screw on a bolt. He does not. He put the oil pan bolt on crooked or something along those lines.

While chugging up a hill towards Frisco, I was too concerned with conking out and careening down the side of a cliff to really enjoy the scenery around me. I figured this is where the rich and famous hung out yadda, yadda, yadda. All the pretty people gather here and drink champagne and toast their millions, blah.

Anyway, I entered the fairytale town with gusto and a resolve to get my baby fixed. Found a cool little auto shop called the Grease Monkey and was greeted by a friendly chap who was in the process of helping some other wanderer. I always feel a bit foolish when it comes to mechanical stuff, even more so when the person is trying to explain things to me. I just stand there with my hands in my pockets, shaking my head up and down like I have any clue as to what’s being told to me. The nice guy started telling me about bolts and pans and what have you, I smiled and agreed. I think he knew I was clueless.

It was a bit chilly in between the mountains, so I grabbed my Orange County Choppers hoodie and walked a spell while my van was attended to. It’s August, but everyone in town was wearing long-sleeved shirts and some wore winter hats (a little too much in my opinion). Before I walked away, I grabbed a bottle of water from my cooler and took a nice, long chug to quench my parched throat.

Now, two days earlier I had cooked some Franks over an open fire and thought I had secured the rest of the dogs in plastic wrap. I was wrong. The bag of hot dogs mixed and mingled with the melted ice to create a lovely aroma of, I don’t know, crap. Unbeknownst to me, I grabbed an open bottle of H20. The juice invaded my Poland Springs and ruined the whole experience. I spit it out when I realized I had been poisoned by my own ineptitude. Some of the locals watched with fiery indignation and turned their snooty noses in the air. Even pet dogs turned their snouts skywards, dreadful New Yorker how dare he!

I don’t have much to say lately. To tell you the truth, I’ve been on edge the last few days because I’m in a rather interesting quandary. I won’t get into specifics, but I hope everything works out the way it’s supposed to. Let the wind take me where it wants, keep my eyes on the prize and move forward. When you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown, your body kicks into survival mode and everything around you moves outside of time. I think I lost it a bit yesterday, but it’s all part of the adventure. When you leave the comfort of a home for the great outdoors, or a van, you tend to remember how blessed you are.

The past seventy-two hours have tested and tried my mind and soul. I may have snapped, but I believe in that old saying, whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. My apologies to the people who had to listen to me complain, thank you for hearing me out. Thank you for being there.

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The apex of our lives.

Cast Away. One of my favorite movies of all time. Actually, I am listening to the main theme as we speak. Music helps kick-start my creative side and makes the whole writing experience somewhat surreal and if you listen along while reading my work you will understand where I am coming from. I like to paint pictures for my readers. Pictures made not from brush or pencil but from words and feelings and music…I enjoy setting the stage so everyone can experience what exactly is going on inside of this numskull of mine.

Every movie has an apex. Whether it lasts sixty seconds or gone in the blink of an eye, every movie has a moment when people can reach out towImageards the screen and say yes, this is why the movie was made, this is what I am going through today. When I watch Tom Hanks float along the vastness of the sea on his broken boat I understand this man and his anguish. I can’t say I was ever stranded at sea, but I still feel for him. I understand the desperation on his face and the anguish in his heart, the tears on his cheek. I know the sadness he felt when he realized there was nothing left for him to do but lie down and weep and hope that maybe someone somewhere would throw a life jacket in the water and pull his wasted frame from the coldness of death. This was his apex. This was him being human. When he landed on the cursed island, he had a decision to make. Survive the unknown and make it back to Helen Hunt or succumb to the melancholy and slip away from earth through means of suicide. He chose to survive and take on whatever came next. Please don’t misunderstand I realize the movie was fiction and Hanks really doesn’t work for Fed-Ex and drive around with a volleyball named Wilson, but I believe the movie had a great message. He took what was placed in front of him and made the best out of a real crummy situation. In the film this was the path he was supposed to take.

I was sad today. Sometimes I picture myself on a broken raft in the middle of nowhere with no wind to take my sails and no water to quench my thirst. Most of the time I walk this earth in a confused state of mind waiting for someone to show me the way. I know many people wouldn’t dream of admitting it but who cares? I believe the majority of people do the same exact thing. We search for clues, we wait for signs, we pray for guidance. A friend of mine asked me today if I had any real concrete plans for my upcoming Great American road trip. Other than routing it out on my map and working overtime to pay for it all, I really don’t. Some people will call it foolishness; I am calling it the fulfillment of a destiny thirty years in the making. I am at peace with the unknown. As nerve-wracking as it is, nothing will stop me from taking this leap of faith. Life is not made for the timid. I like to think Tom Hanks’ character felt this way on the island. He didn’t know the outcome, he had no idea what to do next but he did it anyway and became world-famous. People will say I am running from something. I say nay and nay again! For I run towards the apex of my life and all the goodness to follow.