Sunday, March 21, 2010

A NIGHT IN A "DEAD ZONE" TOWN

A SOCIAL SARGASSO SEA Enroute to Tucson, I pull off here to nap at exit 211--and afterwards note that I am almost in the shadow of semi-famous Picacho peak--see it above my truck--where the westernmost skirmish of the Civil War was fought. Walking around a bit I felt an eerie quietness that intrigued me. Then I realized how similar is this place to my hometown, Sondheimer, La--both are situated in a narrow strip between a railroad and a highway--and both are quietly becoming
"dead zones". I speak no ill of it---just note the similarity to oceanic "dead zones" to be found both in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans--where currents die, pushing all the flotsam they carry to a vast junkyard, where it stays trapped, bobbing and bumping till it decays or sinks. A dead zone town likewise finds itself outside the currents of commerce---buisness folks leave and drifters, refugees---poor, defeated, weary folks find themselves here---happy to not be alone; glad to be disconnected from the rat race. Here is a calm center to the whirling storm--A PLACE TO BE---IT IS ENOUGH.
I'm hooked---the place speaks to me---so I'll stay the night--take some pictures tomorrow.
That sign says Pilot Truck Stop 4 miles---no doubt one of the town-killers. There's a prison 4 miles away--can you see the sign?
ast night, that flashing arrow drew me into the liveliest place in town---Eddie's Bar--a surprisingly well equipped bar, dance floor and entertainment center. While the DJ played good music, two lovely ladies cooked food and served booze. (The cook had gorgeous hair ). I engaged a beefy, friendly, gout- stricken, tobacco chewing, chemical worker who filled me in on local doings. Five years ago a fight here resulted in death for one combatant. I watched as the bar maid cut off one boisterous inebriant--he huffed a bit--accepted his fate--went to shoot pool.
Next day I walk and shoot--these folks moved in--never mind the problem roof.

Unpretensious as is its exterior--it promises miracle healings inside.
Dogs run free here---a liberty I approve of--even though these 2 nearly attacked me--I picked up a stick and won their respect.
Thankfully, these SOB's are penned up.
The horses wanted some attention--said so--and called me back for more as I was leaving.
Stuff--lots of it--is it comforting? why do we pile up stuff in our life? Ghandi's only possessions, I'm told were spectacles, a book and a diaper. Now that I've sold the Stealth Trailer-I own only my vehicles and a bit of money.
Dead motel in a dead zone town.
Garage sale--Sunday 5 pm. My friend Boonie reminded me that to enter a dead zone town is to step back in time and interestingly---step up a notch in freedom---government's stern eye hardly glances here. I reflected on other dead zone towns I've visited: Modena, Utah--Helper, Ut., Chloride, Az--Encino, NM--Madrid, NM(but it came alive with artists) Likewise nearby Cerrillos, NM and Tubac, Az.
I don't know what I've learned here--don't much care. For 24 hours it had my attention --lit up my brain---about all I ask of any experience. Now--on to Tucson--thanks to you-know-who for all the good info.











3 comments:

Rojo said...

Great story Randy.
I have watch that little town since back in the 60's, never stopped longer than a few minutes at a time.

It is sad to think of all the stories I have missed there but thanks to you, I now have a few of them. Maybe... I will just take the time to smell the roses the next time I am there.There as As everywhere, there are roses.

Rojo

Tadeusz Deregowski said...

Nice mini-essay: I look forward to reading more.

wisesongbird said...

Amused with your statement - almost truth, "I own only my vehicles and a bit of money." And a couple thousand books!! Or have you parted with these?

Another bit of a culture we mainly avoid but thanks to you we get a peek.