Monday, June 23, 2008

The Dharma Bums

Some desperate restlessness persuaded me one day to leave the town, and people that I loved to go back “home.” I was going to work a job having to do with the oil business, or something like that. So I packed all my things, (everything fit in two duffle bags) said goodbye to all my friends, then caught a ride to the bus stop from my roommate. “See ya man, it’s been fun.” He said. “Yep, it sure has.” I told him, and after a quick and awkward hug that neither one of us was very into I stepped on the greyhound. Great, the bus was crowded. I was going to have to sit next to someone. I tried to guess which person would stink the least. I saw a pretty girl in the back. She looked to be about 18. Perfect, I thought. I made my way towards the back of the bus, two rows before I got to her, a big ugly looking guy steps out of the bathroom and sits down next to her. He grabbed her and she kissed him. “Damn,” I thought. So I took the only other available seat around, which happened to be by the smelliest looking man on the bus. “Hey man, do you mind if I sit here?” I asked. “No, that’s fine,” he said. “Go ahead.” He had a strong British accent. Maybe this wont be so bad, I thought.

A few miles down the road, I pulled out a book and began to read. The man with the British accent looked at it and said, “Do you like Kerouac?” I was reading On The Road. “Yeah, I really like Kerouac. Do you?” He thought for a second, and said, “I guess I just don’t understand what all the fuss is about.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Well, Kerouac was a vagrant, he spent his whole life pretending to follow some type of bullshit eastern philosophy, when all he really was, was a sad old man.” “I Disagree,” I said, “I think he was a revolutionary, as far as style goes.” I had just taken a class on modern literature, and felt the need to apply my new found “understanding” of 20th century writers. “Yeah, I guess you could look at it that way,” he said, “but there were others like him at the same time that were far better. Take Bukowski for example. He was an old sad bum too, don’t get me wrong, but at least he had the courage to admit it.” I thought about it for a while. “I think you’re missing the point here, in a purely literary sense, Kerouac was a great writer. His prose is amazing. It’s so fluid. (more gems from modern lit) Bukowski was great, but he didn’t push the game forward like Kerouac did, also, Kerouac knew what he was, but he wasn’t bitter about it. Bukowski made his living being bitter.” “Not true,” said the Brit. “His work in the short story form was groundbreaking for his time.” “Well, I suppose you’re right, although it really comes down to what keeps you most entertained, and I like Kerouac more.” “Fair enough,” he said. We sat there for a few miles not talking when I became curious. Who was this man? Why was he on a bus in Colorado? Why did he look homeless? I wanted to ask him all these questions, but I felt it would be rude, so I just asked him his name. “Hey man, what’s your name?” “My name is Barkley, Barkley Vincent.” Wow, what badass name, I thought.

1 comment:

matthew said...

Hey it's the story about the bum on the bus. Was waiting for you to tell that one. Have you ever been to San Francisco?