keep going

06 Jun 00 7:59pm
Boise, Idaho

I packed out of Eugene more questions than I had arrived with. Putting all my stuff in storage in a strange city, leaving all I know, at least for a while; was this all a good idea? Should I just get a job and stay put, or would that mean the end of writing and possibly photography? Would anything get me out of the nonproductive rut other than just getting up and going?

Last sign at the border: OREGON THANKS YOU – COME BACK SOON

Last two songs I remembered before hitting the border: “Gimme Shelter” and “Life is a Highway” — and I thought, why live anywhere? Can I travel all the time, if I’m not paying rent anywhere? What do I really need. Beyond the basic food, shelter etc. list. My camera negatives; they’re not too heavy although there are eight thousand of them. I can live with the Powerbook for a while; it’s light. Some clothes. Strawberry Pop-Tarts; available darn near everywhere. Maybe I can just keep going.

Then panic: I don’t wanna leave, I don’t, I don’t. But money says: you do, you do, unless you want to stop writing for a while.


Long downhill into California, then the “got any fruits or vegetables?” question at an inspection station, then a bit later I was about to pass a road train when it swerved suddenly into the left lane and I saw a flash of brown-grey coming across the right lane and not stopping. A young deer who may not make it be an old deer. I slowed way the hell down as the truck started to fish a bit as the driver hit the brakes in not quite the proper fashion. Oh shit, I thought, I’ve seen a single semi flip in a movie… and now I’m gonna see a double semi jack and roll.

At the last second he released the front brakes and straightened out, and I saw the deer spinning out into the dirt median, legs splayed like Bambi on ice and spinning like a top. He jumped right up on four wobbly but seemingly intact legs, shaking but seemingly solid. It was pointed out to me later that it was possible everything was broken and he was just going on adrenaline, but I suspect it was such a glancing blow that caused that spin it didn’t do any real damage. Not stopping might have saved his life.

The truck drove the left lane for a while and I wouldn’t have blamed the driver for severing the kingpin with a hatchet and leaving the load in the middle of the road while he went and got drunk on a beach somewhere, but eventually I flashed my lights to tell him he had clearance on the right. He got back over, blinked his lights to thank me, and I passed on the left. I glanced up at him; a Mexican kid probably not old enough to drink in the US, looking as scared as can be. I think he knew what he was moments from, just seconds ago. Not stopping might well have saved his life too.

Gimme Shelter.
Life is a Highway.

I must just keep going.


This was published on 06 Jun 2000.
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