Tucson to San Diego

Fall now ahead, Sylvie’s baseball season over, we drove from Tucson to San Diego, where Sylvie was to attend a three day conference. Not in a hurry, we drove west to Why, then dropped south to the border crossing at Lukeville. Back in old Mexico, we stopped in Sonoyta to eat, dry and hot, folks moving slowly in the heat. After lunch we walked around some, surrounded but ignored by border business as usual. I had drunk a beer with a taco burrito full of red and black steaming beans and hot chilies, and with Sylvie now driving, I fell asleep. When I awoke we were on Mexico Federal Highway 2, driving west along the border. Desert, mesa, flat tan and sandy, rocky hills. We switched seats again and Sylvie slept while I drove and when she awoke she was surprised by crops and greenery reappearing around San Luis Rio Colorado. We crossed the border again at the portmanteau crossing of Mexicali and Calexico, picking up 8 west through chaparral forest to El Cajon and La Mesa, and finally drove into a muted San Diego night, where Sylvie had booked a bungalow near the water in Ocean Beach. We had encountered no gods in the desert, had not felt watched. The desert gods are heavy sleepers, Sylvie said. Now back to the city gods, I said. The beach gods are my favorites, Sylvie said. I should move the team to a beach city next year. You can never be sure about the gods, I said, how they’re going to act, or react. I unpacked the car while Sylvie opened up the bungalow windows to the ocean breeze. We sat out on the front porch facing a narrow road that led down to the beach, and Sylvie poured herself a glass of chardonnay and I drank a beer and then we went to sleep for the night.

“Tucson to San Diego” is episode 61 of Inventories, a Novel in Progress in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads.

Intransitive

Sylvie and I drove southeast and south from Tucson, stayed a couple of nights as tourists in Tombstone, crossing the border at Naco into old Mexico, where we spent a night in Motel Cowboy, and a few nights farther out, in a rough cabin in a shady grove near a dry stream bed. Attempt no profit from your epiphanies, Dr. Lao had said. No worries, since I wasn’t having any, though the desert was lovely in its apparent simplicity. One story trailers, shacks, lean-to structures, adobe and brick block dwellings, old pickup trucks. Little commotion, no one about. No plots brewing that I could see. The prickly pear grows little opportunities, another Dr. Lao ambiguous comment. Life is a mystery only to be enjoyed, he said, not to be grasped mentally. That I got. When the beer and wine and food ran out we drove back north, cutting west after the border crossing to Sierra Vista and north past Fort Huachuca, and on up back to Tucson. Sylvie said what she got from Dr. Lao was motifs, like string theory. Life seemed made up of motifs, but her theory never went much beyond that. Life is made up of moods, I said. Moody. Life is a mood, and mostly a bad one. Very moodily said, Sylvie replied. Yes, an adverb chasing after some runaway verb, now ahead, now behind, a sentence with its noun cut off. And no object. No, and no object. Intransitive. In transit, anyway. Where to now? I don’t know.

“Intransitive” is episode 60 of Inventories, a Novel in Progress in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads.

66 Breaths of Barstow for Babs

talk
desert
deepens day
drifts
west
cool
prose
sand
morn
crossroads
family
1957
trunk
$300 bra-pinned
Route
66
Los Angeles cures
ocean
butterfly
tomato
sunrise
donkey birds emerge
cowboy hat floats salt sweet
evening hills
angel hovers
sky metallic blue
orange
sea falls ten-pound raindrops
children embrace
across country blows highway
tumbleweed
train side
winds
south
distance
silver
water
ardor breeze