Category: In Transit

Old man driving, any exit will do

This old guy in a Dodge Charger, being pulled around the Lower Hudson Valley by 300 horses, a man without a compass, a man without a wife, drinking too much, eating too little, up half the night, nothing ain’t right.

Next day back on the road, I guess you could say lost, Bob Dylan whining from the stereo, Once upon a time you dressed so fine, you threw the bums a dime in your prime… How does it feel, to be without a home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone…

He’s not re-enacting an old fantasy, this is reality, and he really is lost; although when he thinks about it, lost has been found and now found is lost. Write that down, old man. Instead, that midnight in a gin and tonic, he writes down, A dying man dreams. Some are beautiful. And then they stop.

In the Turnpike Tap Room an even older man inquires, Is one ever too old to be a struggling writer? To which the younger old man replies, Is one ever too old to die? The old drunk is looking for his brain. I’m not sure I understand your meaning. The younger old man can no further elaborate than put flesh on the older old man’s bones.

Excerpted from Notes for ‘A Million Miles Away in Fishkill.’


Saved by a Motown Girl

MORE IN THE MISADVENTURES OF GUIDO MICHELINI, VAGABOND WRITER

For a long time he lived in his car. He showered in the homes of one-night stands.

All his belongings were in the trunk of the car, a 1975 Monte Carlo with Florida plates. Clothes, books, typewriter, newspaper stories, manuscripts, a few photographs of the past, a copy of the divorce.

His ex-wife had most of it. The house, the furniture, the library of books, the record collection, the photo albums, the dog, the cat, the nine-year-old boy.

Guido wrote to him from the front seat of his car, parked on city streets in America.

He was in a bar in New York City when the car was towed from an expired meter. The cops had it towed to a cavernous shed on the West Side. Guido hadn’t paid the insurance. No insurance, no car. The hell with it. He transferred his stuff from the trunk to a battered tan suitcase and walked to Port Authority Bus Terminal.

He phoned a former girlfriend in Detroit and said he was down on his luck. She had a big heart. Get your ass here.

The Greyhound rocked west. Filled with losers and lost souls. Empty beer cans rolled down the aisle. A guy plucked away at his guitar. A black girl’s baby cried. Guido slept.

The bus rolled into Detroit. He walked around the side of the bus  to get his suitcase. The driver unloaded them all. Except his.

Where’s my suitcase?

They’re all here pal.

Mine’s not here.

I don’t know what to tell you pal. See the baggage claim office.

Guido asked the baggage claim clerk, Where my suitcase, man? My whole life’s in that goddamn suitcase!

No one had a clue what happened to Guido’s suitcase. Mystery of the ages.

Guido filed a Lost Baggage claim and walked to his girlfriend’s apartment in the Cass Corridor.

She opened the door. She looked like she jumped out of a Motown song. She gave him a sideways look. Where you been?

Nowhere.

Come on in then — don’t you have a bag or something?

Just me.

Man, that’s what I call traveling light.