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Posts Tagged ‘hitchhiking’

On The Road Again

January 15, 2013 | by

A dirt road scrolls beneath a pair of huarache sandals. In a flash, it turns from moonlit to sunlit, and the pebbly dirt smoothes to bleached, cracked concrete. The shot lingers three or four beats longer than it should, the camera gliding over the road as the sandals flop and their owner huffs. Cue title card. This sequence—the opening shots of Walter Salles’s wildly uneven, flickeringly vivid new film adaptation of On The Road—foregrounds the oft-overlooked double entendre nested in the novel’s title: it is both a romantic portrait of life “on the road” and a ruminative discourse on roads. Later in the film occurs a similar shot, this time of the highway’s surface streaking by like a meteor shower, as Sal Paradise intones: “The purity of the road. The white line in the middle of the highway unrolled and hugged our left front tire as if glued to our groove. And zoom went the car, and we were off again, to California.”

Throughout the book, Kerouac expresses awe at the vast interconnectedness that the American road system allows—an epiphany so common it barely registers for modern readers. But half a century ago, it still struck with a bright clang.Read More »

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Part 2: Escape to Newark

December 27, 2011 | by

We’re out this week, but we’re re-posting some of our favorite pieces from 2011 while we’re away. We hope you enjoy—and have a happy New Year!

The second installment of a three-part saga. Martin is hitchhiking from Kansas City, Missouri, to New York City in order to catch the last day of Christian Marclay's The Clock at the Paula Cooper Gallery. Read Part 1 here.

“The thing is we gots to get my dog. I understand you got a bus to catch. But I can’t get my dog alone. You come this far, you gots to help me get my dog.”

My mouth is dry, we’ve gone through all the gum, and in gazing up the long reach of the highway as it ascends into the blue, late-morning sky I have achieved an atmospheric clarity with regard to the meaning of clocks. Marclay’s idea is to be at the center of things—that is the categorical imperative of the timing device, that is why the hands spin round. Being and time. Must check if Marclay is British neo-Nazi.

“But where was the center? I moved around a lot/ and thus from an early age,” I remember the line from John Ash, and quote it to Duze, who looks at me like “what the fuck” and wipes his hands on his jeans.

“We need some beers right about now, man, is what we need.”

“I am thirsty,” I admit. Suddenly I understand that we are out of luck, I have to get out of this semi as soon as possible. I’m Ratso from Midnight Cowboy and for three days now I’ve been sitting next to Jon Voigt. I’m sweatier than Ratso. I look to see if Duze has blood on his jacket.

 

I can count every sharp hair of his red-and-brown goatee. Duze is handsome but balding young.

“Pull over,” I say. My hourglass is filling with sand. I lick my lips. “I have to get out of this truck.”

Duze unsubtly accelerates. He swings into the left-hand lane.

“We’re up on Columbus now. But I’m telling ya’ we gots to head north. I need your help with my dog, man. My girlfrined ain’t gonna let me have that dog back lessun I have a buddy with me, someone she can trust. Not to mention if there’s another man there. That’s just like her. It doesn’t take her twenty-four hours before her legs are back up in the air. That bitch. That cold-hearted whore. She never appreciated my music neither.”

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Green Car, Nightfall

November 14, 2011 | by

Photograph by Boosbob50.

One day when my father’s car overheated down in Chula Vista, he came home with beans in a can the size of an oil drum. “This is what the real Mexicans eat,” he announced. That sounded suspicious. We ate beans our mom cooked on the stove and supposed real Mexicans did the same. We gathered skeptically as my dad opened the can. “Look at these beans!” he beamed. He was ready to dig in without even heating them up. We stared into the murky depths. Nobody else wanted to try them.

One day as we headed north on Interstate 5, a radiator hose burst right by the big, hollow globe, tilting on its axis in El Toro. Two hippies hitchhiking on the on-ramp kept offering us their ten-gallon bottle of water. “Water won’t do it,” my father said. “It’ll run right through.” There was an Episcopal church there across the street, and the priest took us in for the afternoon. It was 103 degrees that day, but cool in the church. My brothers and I walked up and down the adobe halls for hours. We drank chocolate milk from cartons. The hippies and their dog and their baby and their ten-gallon bottle of water got a ride in a Volkswagen heading for Oregon, but we were there in El Toro till nightfall. I don’t know how my father fixed the car. Read More »

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