Friday, February 19, 2010

On the Road

I got a message recently from one @feral geographer asking if this blog should be removed from its listing as a part of the queer blogs listing. I will admit I may have needed that kick in the pants. Once again its been a year since a post ++ and yet I still hold on to the attachment of having a blog. Let's be honest folks, I have had aspirations of being a blogger. I was decent at it back in the days of geocities and boy band fan sites, but these days I haven't really got it in my ritual of doing things to post public writing very often. I will once again declare to change that. Hold me to it, if you read this, comment, message me, remind me that there is a readership to which I write this. Or at least curious individuals who want to read what I have to say.

So; along the west coast I travel, just me and my little car Del (Deloris when its feeling fancy femme). Packed to the gills with my mess of cds, maps, clothes (oh so many clothes), camping gear, road food, arts and crafts projects and tools. I have been traveling solo, about which I have mixed feelings. I have been reading "Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck while I rest along road sides and like what he has to say about traveling alone:
"Having a companion fixes you in time and that the present, but when the quality of aloneness settles down past, present and a forecast are all equally present."

"As the time went on I found that my reactions thickened. Ordinarily I am a whistler. I stopped whistling. I stopped conversing with my dogs, and I believe that subtleties of feeling began to disappear until finally I was on a pleasure-pain basis. Then it occurred to me that the delicate shades of feeling, of reaction, are the result of communication, and without such communication the tend to disappear."

I reached that point to a mild degree, the point where I remember that I am an extrovert and am fueled by interactions with others that I have not indulged in for days, save shopping grunts and formalities. Luckily I was to return to the homes of friends, for if I were to continue my driving alone and making noises just to remember what my voice sounds like could have driven me to a new kind of talkative delirium or unintelligible blabber.

The places I passed through and the ones I stopped in were different and yet the same. The salt water taffy made in front of you is the same shit all down the oregon coast and the tourist key chains at the redwoods are the same as the ones you'll find in the olympics and the same you'll find at the sea lion caves. The people change, but they don't. The attitudes and politics shift from place to place. I notice some places feel safer than others. Some places I will make sure to wear a shirt in the pool others I know I am welcome to be out and crude and vulgarly queer. I don't know how I can describe this, I think it will take more than some rambling musings to figure out what makes a place feel safe. What makes a place feel like somewhere that I can break my stealth appearance (no encounters with strangers have had this pleasure this time around- I think the being alone plays into this)? What about a place makes me wonder if I should peel the little rainbow triangle decal out of the window til a new sign of security has been achieved? What makes some places into suction cups for gaggles of queers and radicals? What allows other places to hold a sense of fear over those who appear "outside or different"?

What is safety?


Anonymous said...

I think it is pretty intriguing that you are traveling alone. I have traveled up and down the coast so many times.... but never alone... keep fighting, keep writing...-laoh

Chris said...

Glad to see you back at it, I always enjoy reading your thoughts!

Francie said...

I can't believe somebody tried to delete you! keep writing, friend.