flying boomboxes




A long time ago, I lived in California for six years.
The first two years were like an exciting adventure,
the next two seemed darker than the bowels of hell,
and the last two were like a slow, agonizing recovery.
During those middle two years, Derek came out to visit
me for while. He was going through some bowels of hell
of his own. During this time, we tried to come up with
various activities that were meant to cheer us up.
One of these was a road trip to the California desert,
where we performed a little concert for ourselves and
the cacti. He played his drums and I played my guitar,
to the delight of the many tourists who passed through
Joshua Tree. I couldn't tell you what songs we played--
I've long since forgotten--but I remember it sounded great,
because many people said so. One guy even videotaped us.
I wish I could see that tape now. I'll always remember
Derek in his gray pocket t-shirt and black jeans:
he had recently decided he was going to wear that every day,
and that would simplify his life. That trip made us feel a
little better, temporarily. We agreed that we had done
something very cool. "Now we can say we played music in
the desert", we said to each other on the way home.

The other thing we did that may not seem as cool to
other people (but still gave us tremendous satisfaction)
was throwing an old boombox out a car window while speeding
down the freeway. I'm almost positive that this one was
Derek's idea. First, we had to find a suitable boombox;
being that we were both pretty much penniless at the time,
we really had to find a portable radio of next to no value.
We settled on my ex's old piece of crap K-Mart special,
and we had just broken up, so I was happy to see that go.
Then we had to find the right freeway. We did have somewhat
of a social conscience, so we wanted to do the deed on a freeway
that wasn't heavily traveled (as most are in L.A.) so we wouldn't
cause an accident; we were, of course, concerned about being
pulled over by the cops as well. We decided, after driving up
and down many freeways, our best bet was to toss it while driving
southbound on the 2 freeway, headed out of the Verdugo foothills
down through Montrose. Derek would drive, and I had the
responsibility of pitching the boombox out the window at
the safest, most strategic moment. Talk about pressure.
So, at about 2:30 am on some late winter morning in the early 90's,
we threw that boombox while driving at top speed as if we were
hurling away all the pain, the disappointment, the unrequited desires
and the shadows of the past. I'll never forget how we laughed like
little kids afterward.
A few weeks after that, Derek moved to Seattle and I think I went
on welfare or something, so it's not like our lives got better or anything.
Good thing all that changed eventually. In retrospect, though, it ís
interesting how tough times bring about creative approaches to
alleviating misery.

 

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