« Migrating iPhoto Events from MacBook Air to Windows | Main | About Last Night »

August 2, 2013

Dead End Roads: (Baby, It's August...)

It's hard to know what to do with all the hours in the day. When you're working, it's not as daunting, because you have less free time to slay. But when you're burdened with nothing but time, things just seem to unravel. I waste the days trying to gather the strength to walk outside, crawl out of bed, or answer the phone, before inevitably lapsing back into a catatonic phase of torpid hibernation.

I've eaten out every meal for as long as I can remember, but now I commit to eat through what food I have in the house. I've pretty much eaten through everything a wild animal would deem edible. Including the Dino-nuggets, which most animals would probably be smart enough to avoid.

All of my neighbors are moving away, or planning on moving, or dreaming of moving, which is somewhat disconcerting, I think. Like, you live somewhere for 12 years, and everything seems fine. Like, you know your neighbors, and that's all covered. And then one day all your neighbors announce that they're retiring and leaving en masse and it sort of sucks.

I mean, to be brutally honest, I have to admit, I've not been a good neighbor. I'm never here. And I do sometimes get carried away and start blasting away at the critters with an AR-15 or a 12 gauge or whatever's at hand.

Yesterday, in a blinding flash of inspiration, I threw all of the old bread out of the freezer into the yard and defended the breads from the crows with a 12 gauge until I exhausted the ammo and the barrel glowed a dull orange, leaving me to lord over a pile of dead crows you couldn't crawl across.

But today, I don't really feel like killing crows, anyway.

Jennifer is off swimming in some country club pool, same as you and I did growing up, and I'm just sitting here trying to pick up the pieces of my shattered life. Trying to summon the courage to walk outside when the maid shows up with her disheveled son in tow and they start cleaning and I'm so happy there just aren't words. It's so much healthier to have someone to talk to.

I clean out the hummingbird feeders, boil up some more syrup for the feeders, and hang them up for the bears to assault.

Now, I have clean dishes. Clean clothes. Clean sheets. The hummingbird traps are all set. Almost too good to believe. So nice to be in a clean house, not Carrie's rat nest that makes you want to flee like a bat into the night.

When they leave I decide I have to get out. I'll go and try to coerce the dimwits DMV to give me a license plate for my KTM motorcycle. Drive the bike down to the Jefferson County Sheriff's outpost in Evergreen with an armload of paperwork. I have the title, proof of insurance, registration, bill of sales, driver's license, passport, etc. Everything. But it's never enough. She points out some obscure line on the back of the title relating to an odometer statement. Says it's not filled out and, without these arcane details, she won't give me a license plate.

I think about the pile of crows at my house and I imagine how glorious it would be to have a pile of deceased DMV minions out back as well.

This other woman in there is having about the same luck I am, so she asks to speak to a supervisor. But it gets her nowhere. I see her in the parking lot and I tell her "You know, I was just in Mexico, and about a third of the cars down there don't even have plates. I'm thinking we need to move." She agrees with me, of course. It's one thing to be ruled by a malevolent dictator with an iron fist, but it's another thing altogether to be lorded over while at the same time mumbling nonsense about "the Land of the Free." That's just a joke. Can we please stop that?

So, I give up and get on the bike. It's so hard to know what to do with these long summer days. I commit to the idea of driving up Bear Creek. Now, this road is a dead end, and I'm well-aware that it's a dead end.

But what else is there to do in this world? Either I go home and get in bed, or I drive down roads that I've already driven down countless times. This is all that there is. We have to keep moving forward, even if it's hard to imagine why.

I don't have a single camera on me. I'm not wearing a helmet. I'm just sort of out for a Sunday afternoon drive (on a Friday evening).

It's a stunning drive, of course. I mean, I'm following Bear Creek toward the Continental Divide. So, it's not like there isn't a value in driving down a dead end road, even if you know where it goes.

I want Upper Bear Creek to connect to Brook Forest, but it doesn't go through. It never does. In my mind's eye, I can connect Bear Creek with Brook Forest. I imagine trussing up the property owners that control the land between these two roads and filleting them like fish in the morning sun, as the dozers finally connect the two roads to my content.

"That's right....right through here...perfect...there...that wasn't so hard was it?" I mumble, kicking a pickle bucket full of eyeballs and severed digits down the banks of Upper Bear Creek.

But when I get to the 'Dead End' signs, there's no dozers. No pickle buckets of eyeballs and severed digits. No landowners wrapped in razor wire, pleading for mercy. So I turn back, as there's a cut where you can turn and get over to Stagecoach, or even as far as Mount Evans.

I take the cut towards Stagecoach, and keep going up towards the road for Mount Evans. Why? I dunno. Just because I'm sort of out for a ride in the country. Sort of the way dad used to take us for a ride out in the country after church when we were little. After he quit drinking, but before they stuffed him into the asylum.

The pavement eventually deteriorates into a dirt road, and starts climbing and switch-backing up the face of the mountain, to the point where the KTM is having a hard time. Spinning rear tire. Front shocks bouncing uncomfortably up the steep dirt switchbacks.

It's now about 6:00 p.m. Partly cloudy. Not raining, but threatening to. The temperate is dropping as I climb, and it's actually pretty cold at this elevation. I'd say it's about 50 F or so? I'm not wearing a helmet because I couldn't find it when I left the house, and didn't plan on being gone this long in any event. No gloves, as I lost them in Central America. No boots, as those disappeared when the police came around asking about the boot print on the back of Carrie's neck when she tragically drowned in 3" of water in a shallow fountain outside of Junky Jewelers at Highland Village. She was unceremoniously cremated. Her ashes scattered in an alley behind the Piggly Wiggly by the light of the moon.

I miss those boots.

And now comes a motorcycle the other way. A small blue Suzuki DRZ400S dirt bike with soft saddlebags and nobbie tires (or 'knobblies', as my friend from New Zealand calls them.)

He's wearing black riding pants, black jacket, helmet, gloves. Dressed like he knows what he's doing, and the saddle-bags make me think he may well have been on the road for some time.

But it's all I can do to keep my bike up, so I just nod as we pass, and continue on my way. Eventually, I summit at the Mt Evans Road. I've run far enough today. This will be the apogee of the day's peregrination. I turn and head downhill back into Evergreen.

I roll back down into Evergreen a half hour later and Ponder stopping into a local tavern.

I have a few friends in this time zone, not a lot. Some of them will meet me for dinner, if the planets align just so. But I check with a few folks that live near me, and nothing pans out. Mitch and Robin are down the hill. Cindy and Aaron are camping up in the mountains.

But I know what I'd do if I was in San Francisco. If I was in SF, I'd go hang out in a pub in my neighborhood, so I figure that I should do that here. This is my hood now. I need to reclaim it.

There's a lot of locals seated outdoors in front of one place I kinda like, so I pull my bike in front very conspicuously. Like, what's the point in driving a bright orange $15,000 motorcycle imported from Europe if no one sees it, right?

I'm parking the bike when I notice a familiar blue Suzuki enduro across the street. I'm almost certain it's the same bike I passed up near Mount Evans. And he seems to be lost...checking a map in the parking lot just across the street there.

I roll across the street, pull up, and introduce myself. I've been riding bikes for a long time...nearly 30 years. There's a transcendental camaraderie among bikers. It transcends make and model. A motorcyclist is a motorcyclist, whether he's on a BMW, a KTM or a Suzuki. It makes no difference. It's a rolling brotherhood, and if you're on a bike, you're in the club.

"Hey, man...my name's Rob...Didn't I pass you on that dirt road up by Mount Evans a little bit ago?"

He takes off his helmet, shades, and pulls out some ear plugs. I'm surprised to see he's wearing earrings. As all of this happens, somehow, he turns into a girl. I'm like...stunned. This has never happened to me before. I had no clue all that gear was harboring a chick.

"I'm Karen...just trying to figure out which way I'm supposed to go here..." she mumbles as she studies her maps.

Now, understand that I'd like to have a chick to ride bikes with. It's just that there aren't a lot of chicks out there riding around the state on dirt bikes. Hell, there aren't a lot of women out there that can drive cars.

Not only can she drive a motorcycle, but she has a paper map, and is using it. I'm looking around for the cameras, sure this is some sort of a setup. It just can't be happening.

She claims she's been riding off-road for the last two weeks gong across Colorado solo, if you can believe it. She's telling me about her trip in the parking lot of Baskin Robbins. I'm still looking around for the cameras, sure that this is a setup.

"This is your motorcycle? And these are your maps?" I ask, just to make sure I'm not dreaming.


I'm looking around now. Studying the people across the street, where I was going to eat. A high-falutin place that's changed names 3 times in as many years. These people work all week, saving their dollars for Friday nights on the town. Carefully dreaming of something that will never happen. Waiting for some day that will never come. They're already dead, they just don't know it yet.

I look back at the girl on the bike now. I look at her really hard. I give her that deep eye stare where you do the left - right dance to figure out which eye is the dominant eye.

If we were in Guatemala, I'd say "Donde su espouso?", but I don't go there just yet. I'm just admiring the gifted horse at this point. No need to check his teeth. We'll find out what's up with that soon enough.

Instead, I'm like..."Look...I just got back from a little motorcycle trip also...I drove this bike down to Panama over the last two months or so."

"Oh! Were you in ADV Rider magazine?" she asks. Like..I have no idea what she's talking about. I wasn't in any magazine, but she makes me think...why wasn't I? My story should be all over the news. Somehow it's not.

She's checking her map, and she tells me where she's heading.

"I'm planning on going up 73, and then it turns into CR 64...."

I look at her map. As luck would have it, she happens to be driving right by my house.

"That's where I live. I live on North Turkey Creek. That's CR 64...on this map anyway....I've never heard it called that....but yeah...that's on the way home for me."

I'm not making this up. This is not some dream. This happened. This happened tonight.

"Look...I can show you where you want to go. But if you've got a little time to kill, I was going to eat dinner and grab a beer real quick. You in?"

"Where?" she wants to know.

I know a little place near here where we can sit by the creek, drink beers, and feed the ducks.

"I'm in. You lead. I'll follow," she replies.

Now, we're sitting by Bear Creek at Cactus Jacks and the chick is telling me about her travels through Colorado, Alaska, Argentina, etc.

I mention to her several times that I passed her on the road up to Mount Evans, but she's sort of coy in her response each time. Non-committal. Evasive. Like, I'm not clear if she's aware that she passed me or not. Maybe she didn't even notice me. But it's hard to imagine this, as there was no one else on the road, and I'm driving a bright orange motorcycle with no helmet, no gloves, nothing. Just a leather jacket and tennis shoes. I'm not even wearing a belt. The knees are gone out of my jeans.

Over dinner, we talk about trips through Central America and South America and the Great American Desert.

She's telling me about some rock-climbing she was doing down in Chile, and how strong the Chilean economy is, and I explain to her that it's because they came to the U.S. and asked for economic advice. We told them what to do, and they did it. As a result, they have the strongest economy in South America.

Not everyone carries these details around about the Chilean economy. But I've been burdened by trivia such as this my entire life.

Finally, she admits to me, clearly, that a) she passed me and b) she was aware that she passed me.

"I passed you and, I probably shouldn't tell you this," she explains, "but I couldn't get you out of my head. I couldn't sort it out. I thought about you for a long time...I was like...why is he out here? Why is he alone? Where is he going? What is he doing? Like, you're on this crazy expensive bike, riding alone, up a dirt road, with no helmet. Holes in your jeans. Tennis shoes. No saddle bags. No tank bag. No backpack. Nothing. I just couldn't put it together. I couldn't make sense of it."

"Where were you going, really?" she asks, as if I have an answer to this riddle.

"I dunno. Nowhere really. I was just driving down a dead end road..."

"That wasn't a dead end road though...."

"Well, Bear Creek is a dead end. I looped back and came up that road you saw me on..."

"But where were you going?"

"I dunno. Nowhere really... just out for a Sunday afternoon ride in July..." I offer.

"Baby...It's August. And it's not Sunday, it's Friday," she continues.

"Oh...yeah...I don't work, so I do sometimes lose track of the days..." I offer. Like, when I was in Central America, I didn't know what day it was. What time it was. What country I was in. What the currency was. Or the exchange rate. I just sort of drove and took pictures, really, like a kid in a candy shoppe.

"You don't work? What do you do?" she asks.

"Not much..." I offer. "Mostly, I spend my time going back and forth between the DMV and the county courthouse, trying to stay out of jail."

"How's that working out for you?"

"Well, it doesn't pay very well, but I'm not in jail," I offer. "I'm going into another beer. You up for another one?" I ask.

She doesn't answer, so I order us two more beers.

"Why aren't you wearing a helmet?" she wants to know.

"I couldn't find one."

"Where's your gloves?"

"I lost them... I lost one in Mexico and the other one in Panama..."

At this point, I should mention that I'm a little gun-shy . I was married for 7 years, but in dog-years it was more like 49. I have a very low tolerance for nagging and malevolent interrogation.

Carrie would scream at me and shout and throw things so that you wished you could just disappear. One time I secretly gathered my things together in her bedroom, snuck out, drove to the airport, and flew two time-zones away without even bothering to say goodbye.

'Fuck Off'? I'll show you what happens when you tell someone to 'Fuck Off'. So about the time she finished preparing a New Year's Day meal for me that she slaved over for hours, I was touching down at SFO. Fuck me? No. Fuck you.

I just got sick of her malevolent nagging. Tired of living in such indescribable squalor. It's one thing to be poor, but to be filthy and mean is a different thing altogether.

I think that the bond between two people can only withstand so much disparity. Only support so much nagging, envy, avarice, and jealousy. Carrie and I were way past the breaking point. I see that now. It was time to let go. This is why I'll never get married again. Marriage gives the woman carte blanch to destroy you with impunity. I'll never volunteer for that nightmare again.

"So, why did you drive a KTM 990 Adventure alone through Central America?" Karen wants to know.

"I dunno. Prolly not the smartest thing I ever did," I offer.

"Oh no...I think it sounds like an amazing adventure!" she replies.

I keep telling her all the fun things about Central America and she's telling me about how hard it was for her to pick up the Spanish in Argentina because it's different down there.

And it's fun to find someone with a brain that's actually been outside of Mississippi before. Not some lice-ridden trailer-whore that's never been outside of Lawrence County.

But we're burning daylight. And she still has to get home. I call for the check and when the bill comes, I point to her and the waiter hands her the bill.

She looks at me.

"I said we should go get dinner," I explained. "I never said I had any money!"

I'm not big on signs. I'm not a big fan of destiny, fate, etc. But this one has me scratching my. I have to sit down and really think about this.

Why was I out there? Why was she out there?
Where was I going? What was I looking for?
Why were Mitch, Robin, Cindy, and Aaron all out of town on a Friday evening?
How many chicks out there are driving dirt bikes solo across Colorado?
What are the odds of me even passing her at all?
And then running into her again in town? When she was lost?
And then recognizing her? I'm not big on signs, but this one gets pretty far out there.

And, it's kind of fun, to meet new people and flirt and act silly. It makes me realize that Carrie was nothing. A immature, cheating, psychotic woman. Inept and inane. Equally incapable of balancing a checkbook or cleaning a house. Just a shiny, loose distraction from all of the beautiful women in this world. A dull cripple in a sea full of healthy fish. I hate to think that I cared for her. That I wasted any time with her. The days are growing shorter. I've got to paint these days out. Got to fill them with excitement and adventure, even as Carrie goes and whores herself out to strangers. I'm moving on. I don't miss her. I don't miss anything about her.

Mostly what I miss is the hours I wasted worrying about her. Trying to help her. Getting her driver's license reinstated. Paying her mortgage. Getting her deadbeat husband put in jail for not paying child support. Getting her child into a hospital to try to control her seizures.

All for naught.

When I left, she started rattling off all the things I'd promised to do for her, but never followed through on.

"You said you'd buy me a new tail light for my Mustang, but you never did. You said you'd take me to Hawaii but you never did. You took your daughter to Cozumel, but never took me to Hawaii."

Reminded me of the time my niece went to stay with her grandmother. Everyone thought the trip went well, until they found her little note. She'd secretly documented every perceived transgression every day of her visit. Only she was 9. Carrie should have known better.

Everything I did for her was in vain. Pearls cast before swine. A completely futile, wasted effort. I wish I could take a piece of sandpaper and erase Carrie's scars from my brain.

My mom always said "If you can't use a comb, don't bring it home." How I wish I'd listened to her. Of course she was right.

Carrie is behind me now. I'm moving on. I've got to get out and meet more girls. And there are others out there. I've just got to keep driving down dead end roads. As bizarre as that sounds, I'm reasonably sure it's the only way out.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 2, 2013 at 8:36 PM


dude we are not moving you are stuck with us sorry

Posted by: treehugger on August 3, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Sweet. Glad to hear it. Bud/Alice and Bob/Vaunne are both talking about moving. But I'm glad to hear y'all aren't. I need my drinking buddies. :)

Posted by: Rob Kiser Author Profile Page on August 3, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Great commentary. Glad your heart is finally mending. You have mourned enough!!! Time to have some fun for the sake if fun!!

Posted by: Mrs. Kiser on August 4, 2013 at 7:07 AM

I enjoy reading your stories! You are quite the writer. Like I actually am right there. Well I was, way back when. Hehe
Women will come and go.... That makes life interesting! See, then you can share all your stories with us! I enjoyed it very much. I just hope you are okay. Take care and talk to you soon! Kay. 💋

Posted by: Kay (Barbie) on August 8, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Thanks, Kay. Good to hear from you. Many thanks for the kind words on my attempts at writing. I obviously live a fairly tortured life. Try to document things as they happen, so that I can capture the zeitgeist, as the passion fades with time. I'm glad that people are able to live vicariously through my posts. It's a lot safer that way. Sic Transit Gloria.

Posted by: Rob Kiser Author Profile Page on August 8, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)