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  • hardie karges 6:06 am on March 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dallas, Flagstaff, maintenance, pickup, Sweetwater, Texas, truck.   

    Buddhism and the Art of Pickup Maintenance: Tale of the drunken hitch-hiker… 

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    Reflections in the rear-view mirror

    Back Story: In a previous life I used to sell folk art at a trade show in Dallas, TX, while living in Flagstaff, AZ, a distance of approximately 1000 miles, so within the purview of my limits for driving the distance, and supposedly saving money, rather than flying and renting cars and all that rap, running around town when I’d rather just load up the truck, put in a tape and fire up some Doobie (Brothers), find my cozy little hundred-buck-a-week crib out by Love Field, and take it from there…

    Of course it doesn’t always work out so smoothly, so when it’s time to beat a hasty retreat, I once got the brilliant idea of trying a new route, bored as Hell from Hwy. 287 diagonalizing NW up through Wichita Falls (“as falls Wichita…”), former home of my father, and lots of empty space. But the truck was vintage 1966, and this was 1991, so that’s getting way up in years and subject to fits of temper, or lack thereof, and that’s what happened after getting off I-20 just past Sweetwater…

    When the red ‘battery’ warning light comes on all of a sudden. I check and decide the voltage regulator is playing the diva by refusing to cooperate, meaning that my battery will not charge and the whole thing will collapse as soon as it goes dead. So I managed to rig a by-pass operation, using a test wire with alligator clips on each end, simplest thing in the world, and best of all—it works!

    But I know my time is limited, and if there is any emergency, like rain, the odds are not good. I could buy a new part, but then I’d lose time, and the part might fail, and I’d probably be 1000 miles away by that time, though it’d feel like more (humming “A Million Miles Away” by the Plimsouls)…

    So I decide to go with it, for the time being at least, figuring if the hot-wire fails, I can probably still run off the battery until I limp to the next town. I know it’ll fail, though, the minute I turn on the headlights, and by my calculations I should be in Flagstaff in time before that event…

    Still, it’d be nice to have a back-up plan, and that’s where the hitch-hiker comes in, just standing there on the side of the road, out in the middle of nowhere, so I pick him up, just to help him out, and to maybe have help, in case I need it, since two heads are usually better than one—usually. But I hadn’t picked up a hitch-hiker in years, much less done it myself. It just isn’t done anymore, not in Amerika. These weren’t the hippie years of the 70’s, alas and alack…

    But the guy seems nice enough, with plenty of flattering conversation, then, “mind if I drink a beer?” I shrugged—big mistake. I should’ve screamed, “NO!” but I didn’t. Instead I said something like, “Whatever.” Now I know about ‘open container’ laws and Texas is still a Southern state, though we’re far to the west, but the fact that the dude even had a beer should’ve sent off big alarms. But it didn’t…

    No, we were doing so well, and the truck was running fine, no red ‘battery’ light on the dash, that I decided we had enough time to stop for lunch, something I rarely do, just keep on driving. There my comrade spent a long time in the restroom, and by the time he came back, there was a notable difference. He’d obviously been drinking more while in the restroom, uh oh…

    Now, I don’t know if you’ve personally known an alcoholic, but there is a distinct change in personality while under the influence, right? So now the gregarious flatterer is belligerent and attacking me verbally, mile after mile, with no end in sight, and I feel powerless to do anything about it—as long as he feels powerful, that is. That’s the key. I’ve quaffed a few brews in my life, too, so I knew the time-line…

    Whatever I do, I’ll wait until he’s coming down from his rush of adrenaline, and then I’ll act, whatever it is that I’ll do. So that’s what I did. I waited until he was past his peak, and we were safely on I-40, my turf, in New Mexico. So I pulled over into a rest area, stopped, then turned off the key, removing it from the ignition switch, a procedure I’d performed in my mind at least a dozen times in the previous hour…

    “You can get out here,” I said, firmly but gently. “And take your stuff with you.”

    “Huh? What? Whazzup, dude?”

    “End of the line.”

    “I thought you were going to Flagstaff.”

    “Farmington first, farther north on back roads. You’ll be good here.” I pointed to the picnic tables. This is no time to equivocate…

    And that’s where I left him, with a place to piss, and vending machines, and plenty of time to think up a story to tell the next driver, as to what he’s doing there, and where he’s going. It could’ve been worse. Trying to deal with him verbally while driving could have been disastrous. He could’ve become violent. I could’ve gone to a police station, or lots of places less hitch-hiker friendly than an Interstate rest area…

    And the moral of the story is: plan your strategy. Practice your timing. Know your enemy. Don’t waste time in actions that will only be futile, and maybe even dangerous. Winning is not important–surviving is. Many people assume powers that they don’t deserve, simply because the people that put them there weren’t careful, and they opted for easy solutions to complex problems…

    Now I’m not sure what Sun-Tzu would’ve done, but I suspect that he’d approve. Most importantly: don’t give up your efforts to do good in this world. After the severest challenges you re-double your efforts, and you come back to play another day, without no increase in rank nor rancor. Happy ending: I pulled into Flagstaff right at sundown, and then I replaced the voltage regulator the next day, at my leisure, older but wiser…

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
  • hardie karges 3:14 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Austin, Nanci Griffith, Tecumseh Valley, Texas, Townes Van Zandt   

    Dearly Departed Townes Van Zandt and the DNA of Music… 

    Can anyone confirm that the original recording of this song on the 1968 LP ‘For the Sake of the Song’ has our heroine Caroline ‘walking down the road’ and not ‘whoring on the streets’? These guys in the comment section don’t believe me, but I remember the lyrics clearly even though I haven’t spun the LP in decades–can’t, since I have no record player, and the LP is in Thailand adorning a bookshelf! I bought it in the bargain rack for $.49 (or was it $.99?) in the Walgreen store of the original Jackson Mall out on Hwy. 49, one of my prouder purchases, as I spun the grooves off over time.

    So imagine my surprise while staying in Austin in 1976 that not only was the ‘Late Great TVZ’ alive and well, but he was the house band at some coffee-house on the UT campus that I was too lazy to navigate, had to content myself with Paul Ray and the Cobras at the nearby Hole in the Wall, featuring a young unknown guitarist named SRV, trying to show support for new emerging talent, you never know who might be the next Clapton…

     
    • kc 8:03 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      google it?

      • hardie karges 10:43 am on April 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Probably too obscure for that, maybe just pick up the original in Thailand this summer, take it from there…

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