Tuesday, December 15, 2009
MO'regon and beyond...
After revisiting my trip to Myrtle Creek in 1995 in my last blog post I have thought about the random decisions that sometimes have unpredictable and life changing consequences. I still question what gave me the moxie to ask my client Annamarie that day if I could stay at their vacation home in Oregon. I do remember needing to get out of the city, road trips allowed me to be a balanced and happy urban dweller in San Francisco, and those days I was up and down the West Coast from Baja to Seattle in my little Honda hatchback. Gas was cheap back then and a trip of substance was accomplished on a shoestring.
When she said yes and added "you are welcome to take the dogs", in a New York minute I was mentally packing and planning my music for the drive. The girls were, as my friend Martina says, "outside of themselves" to be in the country. Everyday spent there that week was foggy but simply gorgeous. I had packed my watercolors to paint and the house was stocked with wood to burn and paperback books to read. I didn't want to leave, and twice extended my stay, exploring the countryside ...when I wasn't buried in a novel or hiking their land.
I had recorded a few cassette tapes for the drive, one got stuck in my car tape deck playing over and over an odd mix of Screaming Jay Hawkins on one side and Roger Miller on the other, (funny how music emotionally connects you with certain times and situations)... 'I Put a Spell on You', started one side of the tape and then 30 minutes later I'd be singing along with 'Trailer for Sale or Rent'. I clearly recall the death grip I had on my steering wheel driving Interstate 5 sandwiched between semi trucks first over Mt Sexton then the equally harrowing Siskiyou Pass. I don't think I ever listened to that tape again after returning home from that trip and getting it out of the unit.
That trip was the deciding factor for my move North.
My move to the West coast from New York was equally random. I probably should back track to my adventure hitch hiking cross country from New Orleans to Oakland and the motivating decision, but I'll save that for another post.
It was at a New York City Christmas party in the winter of 1977, and I ran into an acquaintance from college. He had been living in San Francisco and wanted to move back to New York, I had just returned from a six month trip to Europe and wanted to return to the West Coast. In spite of the fact that I had just spent three months hunting down an apartment and only moved in a short three weeks earlier, we joked about swapping apartments, and with hardly a phone conversation, two months later I was driving across country with two fantastic guys I connected with via a classified ad in the Village Voice, delivering a Stella Dora bread truck to San Diego with a fraction of my belongings packed in the back.
Phillip introduced me to a few of his friends in San Francisco before he headed back East to my apartment on the lower East side of Manhattan, and I settled into his rent controlled apartment in the Castro district, my lifestyle radically different from the one I left behind, along with all my friends and a relationship that had ended.
Supersize one door closes and another door opens ...and skip the fries.