Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single... Six Hour Wait


"Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious."
~ Rumi ~


Misconceptions in Milpitas: After a weekend of rugged couch surfing in San Francisco and going to see some sexy sequoia trees, I got dropped off in Milpitas. I was quite eager to get on the road, catch a few long rides, and hopefully be out of California by nightfall. Little did I know that my dreams of a quick trip to Colorado would be dashed against the proverbial rocks. It was around 8:30 am that morning when I stuck my thumb out and started watching the cars go by on the highway on-ramp. The prospect of getting a ride seemed very likely, as there was plenty of traffic going my way. After the first hour, I was pretty sure that a lot of these people were just on their way to work, and it probably didn't make sense for them to stop and offer a ride. After the third hour, I had begun to notice a trend in the type of cars in this area; they were all very expensive. Now I know that correlation does not imply causation, but when you're sitting on the side of the road and you keep seeing luxury car after luxury car pass you by, you start to wonder. When I called one of my friends and told her about my situation, she proposed that it was because my hair was rather long and that I probably looked like a hippie. And as we all know, wealthy people and hippies are natural enemies.

Here is a dramatic reenactment of what I looked like that morning.



Luckily, I had come prepared for this possibility. I quickly stripped down to my Spaceman Spiff undies, cut my own hair (like a boss), pulled out my three piece, custom tailored Giorgio Armani suit, retrieved my top hat, and brandished my cane.

I also made sure Batman's adornments of wealth and affluence were properly in place.


My foresight had also lead me to bring along a leather armchair and two copies of the Wall Street Journal. Batman and I made quite the dashing pair of industrious young chaps, and it wasn't long until a limousine pulled over on the side of the road and offered us a ride (I'm not making this part up. An actual limo stopped to give a hitch hiker and his pitbull a lift). Unfortunately, I had to turn down the driver's offer as he was only going about ten miles north and I was still optimistic about catching a ride with someone going a good, long distance. Looking back, I should have taken the limo, even if it had been going in the wrong direction, it would have been an awesome story. Oh well, live and learn I suppose.
My optimism about catching a ride slowly diminished as the hours continued to crawl by. Time moves at a snail's pace when you have nothing to do but watch cars pass you by and try to keep the fire of hope alive in a dog who is slowly dying of boredom. After five hours, I began to wonder if I was going to have to call a friend and stay another night in the Bay. I really didn't like the idea, so decided I would stick it out until midnight if need be. Luckily for us, another generous soul pulled over and after six hours of waiting, Batman and I were finally on the road.

John & Jon: The first two rides on my trek back to Colorado were so similar that it is hard for me to distinguish them in my mind. Batman agrees, and confesses that these two gentlemen even smelled oddly familiar. In spite of having my notes here in front of me, I still feel as though I'm confusing all the details concerning these two guys.


John (Jim): Jim was a carpenter, who drove a truck with tons of tools in the back. He was an overweight white guy in his late thirties, early forties. This was a pretty short ride up to Dublin CA. and after the initial introductions and telling him a bit about myself, we didn't really talk much. Honestly there isn't much to say about Ol' Jimbo. He did brag about how many girls his nephew had slept with, and then he asked about my exploits with the female persuasion. I informed him that I was in fact a virgin and inquired if he would be so kind as to enlighten me on the basics of the birds and the bees. He proceeded to show me several diagrams and illustrations, all of which were very strange and confusing. I began to wonder if he wasn't really a carpenter at all, but actually a closet middle school teacher. I could imagine his life-long struggle perfectly in my mind's eye. The way the children had ostracized him when they discovered his love for giving out busy-work, and writing on overhead projectors. The silent uncomfortable dinners after his mother had found the lesson plans hidden under his mattress. What is it going to take for us as a society to learn that middle school teachers are people too?

...Hey, stop your shoving! Okay okay, I admit it, none of that sex education or middle school stuff actually happened. I just ended up telling him that the girls in California were very beautiful and then we barely talked the rest of the way...so...yeah...now you know the real story.... I was just trying to liven things up a bit. No need to get so violent...Does picking on people smaller than you make you feel good about yourself?... (shakes head)... You're a real class act, you know that?

(Anyways... On with the story!) I had another two hours wait in Dublin, CA. before I was struck with a severe case of Déjà vu.


Jon (Steve): Steve was a plumber who drove a truck with tons of tools in the back. He was an overweight white guy in his late thirties, early forties. One thing I noticed that did set him apart from John, I mean Jim, was that he seemed to know the lyrics to a lot of the top forty type songs that were playing on the radio. The sort of songs I would expect a college freshman girl to enjoy listening to. He must have noticed the quizzical look on my face as I watched him sing along with Lady Gaga. All of a sudden, magically, he had a "daughter" who was always leaving "her station" on in "his car". Sure Steve...sure...we all believe you buddy.


Steve would end up dropping me off at a rest stop on Highway 5. Having never tried to hitch a ride from a rest stop before, I hoped that there would be a good amount of in and out traffic (sexual innuendo?) and that someone would see me upon exiting the highway, have some time to consider the awesome karmic rewards they would reap for helping a wayward traveler, and then invite me to join them on their way to Southern California. Unfortunately, this would not be the way things ended up...


Next time on Wondergasm!...

Mayhem! Men and dogs standing on the side of the road as equals! Chaos! Lots of people not picking us up! Anarchy! Even more hot, gratuitous waiting on the side of the road action! Mild feelings of malcontent! Sex, drugs and tax evasion! And so so so much more!

Also: The Wondergasm! Project has been accepted by Kickstarter.com and launched on Dec. 9th, 2011. We have a limited time frame to fund the project, so please check it out.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alexcanby/wondergasm-hitch-hiking-and-couch-surfing-across-a
  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Imagination + Exploration = Wondergasm!



"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." Seneca



Why I left the Bay (and lots of nonsense in parentheses): Mountain View, CA. - Monday, September 26, 2011 - 10:34 am EXACTLY:

(Note to reader. There is a strong possibility that it was not 10:34, though I'm pretty sure the year was 2011...Now, on with the completely factual account of that morning.)

I awoke with an unusual anxiety worming around in my gut. It was a feeling I thought I had rid myself of when I left Colorado (or as a pirate would say "Me home town" though there are very few pirates in Colorado). It was the distinct desire to GTFO (This means Get The Fuck Out, for those of you who aren't in the know, or Get The Fudge Out, for you wholesome types, and Get The Funk Out for those of you who get down on the dance floor). This was surprising, to say the least, as I had no inclinations during the previous week or even the previous night that I might want to get up and go. Honestly, it kinda scared me, as these sorts of impulses tended to dig at me until they were satiated. I had just moved into a new apartment, my boot camp classes at Coupons.com were ramping up, and everything was great at Google. So why this sudden urge to vacate the premises? I decided I would meditate on it and think on it (and nap on it) until I had a clear picture in my mind as to what I really wanted. I stayed in my room until hunger finally drove me out at 2:30 (EXACTLY). Despite all of my deliberations, and concerns and counter-arguments, the feeling remained. Even though everything was going swimmingly, there were some things that needed to change for me, as a writer, as an individual and as a magician who performs at children's birthday parties (a little known part of my dark and mysterious past). The underlying issue was that I didn't feel like I would be motivated to make these changes while living in the lap of Google luxury. The other thing that had become apparent to me during the last few contemplative hours, was that I missed it. The thought of giving or throwing away most of the things I own, and getting back on the road with Batman (My cross-eyed pitbull who was sent from the future by Jesus, to protect me on my holy mission against the arch-demon Justin Bieber) was really exciting. There was no more denying it. It was time for me to go.

The Ghost of Hitch Hikers Past: As I began to prepare for the first leg of my trip back to Colorado, I was visited by a ghastly spectre from days long gone. It was the spirit of... (Alex aims the flashlight up under his chin and speaks in an ominous voice) GREG THE DRIFTER! (No, not drifting like in Fast and Furious 2, Tokyo Drift, though that would be cool) For those of you who haven't heard the story of my first day out as a hitch hiker, Greg was a sixty-some year old man who had been hitchin' around the country for the past eight years after getting out of jail for drug trafficking. He was missing half his teeth and would have mysterious, and seemingly in-depth, conversations with God. So while I was plotting my course out of California, I heard his voice, all wavy and spooky like, say to me "Dear Ol' Chap, you mustn't traverse down the road they call One O' One" (Highway 101, for you who don't speak ghostly hobo nonsense) "All who wander that path are doomed I say, and cursed and hogswaddled!" (For some reason Greg now spoke in an British accent) All silliness aside, this was an actual piece of advice Greg had given me on my first day out. And the way he presented it, made it seem like a rule that must never be broken. Now I am not a superstitious person, but I wasn't about to go against the advice of someone who conversed regularly with the creator of the universe.

God, pictured here:
(Picture FreakingNews.com)

Not to be confused with Kratos, the God of War, pictured here:
(Photo SodaHead.com)

Also not to be confused with Godzilla, pictured here:
(Picture TheStuff.com)

(It would have been far cooler if Greg had mental conversations with Godzilla)

And finally, not to be confused with Morgan Freeman, who is not pictured here: 
(Photo TheJay.com)


(I repeat, this is not Morgan Freeman. This is the artist formally known as Val Kilmer)


Heeding Greg's infinite wisdom and not taking 101 meant I was going to need to take shorter rides to several connecting highways, and weave my way south east across California after a short jaunt north. I would leave from Milpitas, going up 680 to 580 until it connected with Highway 5. Oh the lengths I go to follow the rambling advice of a possibly insane homeless man. 


Next time on Wondergasm!...


Will Alex and Batman catch a ride in Milpitas? Are they still in California, starving to death on the side of the road? Does Batman know that Alex secretly has a crush on him? Does Alex know that Batman can smell laughter from three miles away? All this and more on the next installment of Wondergasm! 

P.S. You're hot.



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