Early in the day, as Trisa and I began a journey into the dry furnaces of the burnt iron arse of the world, she and I beheld a bathroom diorama.
This was from the exterior of a Starbucks in San Diego which we have not frequented--A Starbucks with a huge floor to ceiling window providing an excellent view of the bathroom door trapped within. This was the Starbucks where I would buy the grande latté that would last me all the way to Yuma.
Yuma is in Arizona, much to mine and Trisa's misfortune. Or perhaps the misfortune was just that Yuma was Yuma, but I'll get to that later.
We had to be in Yuma for Morrissey.
So after a stop at the bank, we were soon motoring through the barren, treacherous and rocky wastes of Mordor, where Trisa discovered a forgotten Amnesiac. This was a Radiohead album in her CD case that she could not remember how it had gotten there.
"I don't remember copying this!" she said, for it was a copy, "But it's got my handwriting and everything . . . did I do this in my sleep?"
I was thinking about Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas and Hunter S. Thompson perhaps driving on the same road, thirty years ago--a thought only emphasised when Trisa mentioned Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas to discuss the adrenaline gland taken in the film that, for Raoul Duke, gave Dr. Gonzo lots of hair and a pair of beautiful breasts--actually, what it was Trisa was segueing towards was an article in the Reader she was reading that talked of human growth hormones now being used as recreational drugs. Previously this thing was used as a treatment for dwarfism.
"It doesn't seem to have been working," I noted.
"'There are myths that say it cures baldness and gives a Viagra effect on male sexual performance,'," Trisa read, "'. . . negative side effects include hair growing profusely all over the body and heavily on the brow, making the person resemble a cave man . . .,',"
We stopped at a casino called the Golden Acorn where Trisa persuaded me to park fairly close--Just as I was complaining about how parking close generally entailed hunting about for a space, an space mockingly appeared right up near the entrance.
"It's strange to be out in the middle of all this desolation to come in here and find it teeming with people," Trisa observed. I nodded.
Billy Idol was singing in the bathroom, and Trisa reported that in the bathroom she used, there was a little old lady crying in the way that people only cry at casinos. I wondered how anyone could come into such a place with any hope of actually striking it rich when the place was populated only with hundreds of shabbily dressed people.
"It's the advertisements," said Trisa.
Back on the road, we left the intense heat of the rocky hills to enter the fucking cow-tongue-of-death heat of the flat places. Here, one sees little dry looking bushes dotting the utterly level landscape as far as the eye can see. At times I watched the ghosts of cowboys riding slowly, slumped over their saddles, in a reality more than a hundred years past.
At last reaching Yuma, we found a city that was astonishingly pathetic. Overrun with second rate businesses in the form of sun-punished buildings, the sorrow of the place's existence on this earth reached a crescendo when we entered the mall.
It was sad. To say the least. Not just because it was very, very small, being little more really than an air-conditioned junction for the three department stores, but because it was so very crowded, confirming that it was the best thing the people in Yuma knew.
Fortunately, there was a Barnes and Noble across the street with a café. Here, Trisa and I sat for a spell--she with a Tazoberry and I with an iced grande latté (having only just finished the hot one bought in San Diego) and we discussed the extraordinarily oppressive blandness of the city in which we found ourselves. I had a hard time articulating how . . . the horrid, tawdry generic city was in a way so perfectly miserable in its way that I was actually kinna digging it. I struggled through several attempts before I got to what I think was closest by saying, “It’s like a blank piece of paper made more blank,”
Maybe Trisa was more on the nose when she remarked, “It’s a town that loves cheese,”
But Trisa was more in the mood for vegetables herself, and despite my attempts to convince her that coffee beans are in fact vegetables, we at last bid adieu to the Barnes and Noble (but not before flirting with Frida Kahlo, Anais Nin, Vincent Van Gogh, and a book of Merde).
We went to a Pizza Hut which was, unlike all the miniature Pizza Huts in San Diego, an actual restaurant. The Pizza was delicious. Trisa mentioned an attractive Englishman she’d been discoursing with of late, and I was made conscious again of how all of my female acquaintances are being taken by people living in the UK. This led me to go on a moopy little rant about how I can’t get a girlfriend. Trisa advised me to be more assertive and such, and I was left with the impression that I lacked the necessary, “gift of the gab, or perhaps the gift of the grab,”
This being, of course, a quote from Morrissey, the very fellow we had come to this oppressive burg to see.
In spite of being slightly crushed by a group of obnoxiously meat-eating Mexicans, Trisa and I had a very good spot, quite close to the stage. Afterwards, we both could have sworn that Morrissey looked directly into our eyes several times.
I dig Morrissey. I truly do. And he was hot stuff last night, well aged and with his vaguely mandarin operatic gestures and soft sarcastic wit, he was an unreal thing to see so close. The fact that he was so real presents a conundrum that kinna kinks up my brain synapses.
It was night afterwards, and we drove through the darkness.
I thought of Neal Cassidy and how he had been able to drive in just such a way as to coast on most of the journey across country, saving a lot of gas. I thought of Neal barrelling crazed though the night time roads of America . . .
After a struggle in the dark, Trisa put on a CD of Cure mp3s I’d burned, and then proceeded to try to sleep. She was very quiet, but I don’t suspect she did catch any sleep.
The batteries gave out on my CD player, and I felt alone, and unsolaced with only Mexican radio stations. So I sang the rest of the way back, mostly David Bowie and Elvis Costello songs, not very well I suppose, but it kept me awake.
I delivered the exhausted Trisa back to her home and went to my already recorded date with chocolate chip waffles and cherry coke.
It was a good time.