I can only hear the words “Pismo Beach” in my head in the voice of Steve Buscemi. Why?
It was days ago in Monterrey that I first caught glimpses of the sort of archetypal imagery that comes first to mind when someone says “California”: the land of big box stores sitting on high sunny hillsides. The land of lines of girls in short cotton outfits which are all identical except no two are the same color. The land of racecar ya-yas. Then it was all gone, lost between the immense hillsides looming in the layered curtains of golden oceanic haze. For a day I rolled along above the cloud bank, sometimes going down far enough to dip my hand in it before groaning up into higher altitudes, spooning Jif on gravelly overlooks where you feel like you’re on the edge of space. Below you only the infinite plane of lumpy white; above you just a deep blue empty abyss with a sun floating in it. The day after that, the clouds rose over my head and everything was gray again.
Affordable avocados are a blessing of SoCal. They need no embellishment; I will bust one open and simply spork it on the highway shoulder. They’re the cleanest-feeling way to get each day’s necessary giant intake of fat. Fat, salt, carbohydrates and protein: all of these must be crammed in abundance. Fast food also works well, but it leaves you over time with a strange dirty feeling, as if you witnessed a crime and did nothing.
Part of the idea of this has always been that I could so exhaust myself on the road that I would never look back once I returned to the land of real beds; I would be forever innoculated against the restlessness of the domestic life. I think about part of the opening monologue of Apocalypse Now. “Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission. And for my sins, they gave it to me. … It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, I’d never want another.” But some people are dubious when I tell them this. They suggest that there is a bug you can catch. The sort of bug that Ian Hibbell caught. It gets into your blood and pushes you on down the road forever.
Ten days to Tijuana.