Discover more from The Last Hundred Miles
August 7th, 1972
Sitting at my desk at the Y in my dirty blue jeans that Evy Rosenberg gave me (me– or some kid?) and a brown pull-over sweater that Ed Hershberger gave me– God how many lifetimes ago– window open, sitting here listening to the humming, screeching honking sound of traffic just-at-the-tail-end-of-rush-hour in the Garment District.
Just walked over to the phone in the hallway and tried to call Margie. She was supposed to call me at work today and meet me for lunch. Our phones were totally fucked up all day so I know she couldn’t have called. I assume that she got a train home. I hope she didn’t have any problems.
Walking home I started getting depressed. I can spot it at its first appearance now– and I’m beginning to be more aware of the physical manifestation also– a queeziness in the stomach– dizziness– an inability to concentrate– sort of a gently seductive melancholia that diminishes me physically and mentally. Thought becomes unstructured and disoriented and I find myself thinking of a thousand sad things at once. The world becomes hopeless and void of pleasure. All about is emptiness and despair. It reminds me of a feeling I remember recurring as a kid– about 8 or so– in a period when a lot of bad learning in my head was taking place– the Marion Street years. I remember dusk around that house– playing in the backyard– dusk, twilight– quiet, blurring grey into eternity hush tick tock tick tock– empty– empty– lost– void-
And then my mother would step out on the back porch– (dad was never there– always off on the truck) and ask if I wanted to go to the show– Oh God. Technicolor– trip and we’d get in that blue Oldsmobile and head for the sunset drive-in– or the Springfield Drive-in– and Oh God but everything was O.K.– and by the time we got there it would be just almost dark– crickets chirping in the thickets of hedges and trees that surrounded all the drive-in– the sound of the crickets and the crunch of people walking by– either to the playground in front of the screen– or the concession stand–
It would seem to be almost dark forever– and suddenly it would get dark very fast– all at once– and the movie would begin–
That screen would light up and 200 times bigger than life (we always sat on the front row so Mom could see.
METRO GOLDWYN MAYER–
and a lion roaring heralding a march into sanity–
20th Century Fox a Temple in the void of a black universe– searchlights flooding back and forth across the columns–
The rough round metal speaker which never hung on the window just right– would crackle [it was always a bit too loud– but we liked it that way] and fade in and out for a moment and suddenly–
Suspension of reality
And my mother and I sat entranced as Shirley Maclaine and Jack Lemon and Marilyn Monroe and Audie Murphy– and John Waye and Joanne Woodward– loved and despaired and fought and died in gigantic proportions before us.
I remember the front seat– the way the seat covers had unraveled just a bit– how scratchy and itchy it was– and the floorboard and the concession stand– glarey bright lights– and popcorn– and the cardboard boxes with triangular spokes for carrying drinks– and the…