Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Warning Sign, Warning Sign, I See It But I Pay It No Mind

A recycled pic of me writing in my journal when I was in the California Conservation Corps. Check out the old fashioned typewriter.

So, reading the novel, Brooklyn has got me thinking about my first night alone in San Francisco. I moved by myself when I was 19 to join the California Conservation Corps. I signed up in Santa Rosa, but I stayed one night in a cheap motel in San Francisco the day my plane landed. It's writing assignment time again. As usual, I'm just writing this out now, and it will be rough, rough, rough:

She wondered how she'd feel if she could look into the future and see that everything was going to be okay...Or not. Would she still be so scared and lonely? Would she still feel like the only thing she had in her motel room was an absence? An absence of friends, familiar surroundings and almost everything she owned. It was more prevalent than anything that she actually had. She worried that it would take over in her sleep. The darkness of everything she had just given up, would overwhelm the room - a kind of black hole of loss that would devour her along with the hideous bedspread, the stained burgundy carpet and the TV chained to a desk.

After she first checked in, she thought it would be nice to go for a walk and check out the neighborhood. She had been too long in Iowa and forgot that in other places, she needed to be more aware of her surroundings. It hadn't occurred to her to check and find out if the area on Van Ness Street where her motel was located was safe. She had stepped out of her room and noticed the proximity of water right away. It must be the bay. She headed toward some docks, thinking it might be relaxing to sit and watch the water and the birds. She was an idiot. About five minutes later a group of guys started towards her. Saying things she didn't want to hear. She stood up and walked quickly away from them and right back to her room.

At first she sat in silence and when that was too much, she turned on the television. On MTV, Cyndi Lauper was getting ready to wrestle Hulk Hogan. Why? She had no idea, but she wasn't at all in the mood to see it and changed the channel to catch the very beginning of a Clint Eastwood movie, Play Misty for Me. It probably wasn't the best thing for her to watch either, but she kept it on while a female stalker chased Clint Eastwood around with a knife. The noise and the lights of it filled the room.

It ended around 10 and she thought it was late enough that she could go to bed without feeling too pathetic on a Friday night. The next day she would take a van up the coast to Santa Rosa and rent a room at the Redwood Motel. She had no idea what would happen from there. She wanted to feel the excitement of a new adventure, but she was too scared. All she could feel was that thing that was filling her room now that the lights and sound were gone and she gathered all that absence around her and fell asleep, without any clue where she would be in a week.


rel said...

And when he saw her on the dock holding tightly to her soul, he knew they were kindred spirits.

Those are frightful times that I compare to being in a dingy adrift at sea.

NoRegrets said...


Ananda girl said...

You were so brave. New starts like that are so huge to manage. Obviously, you did very well.

laura b. said...

Are you astounded anew when you think of it? I would be. You were so young!

Tara said...

I love that photo, that is an image of someone being completely seeped into their writing!

Check this out, I tried giving my electric typewriter to Salvation Army, but the guy wouldn't accept it, that people were only interested in computers. I felt so old....and rejected. Lol.

Churlita said...

Rel, You couldn't pay me enough money to be 19 again. What a crazy time.

Nor, Thanks.

Ananda, I think I was more stupid than anything. I'm sure if I really thought about what I was getting myself into, I would never have gone. Now, I'm glad for that stupidity because I learned so much and had some incredible adventures.

LauraB., Now, I think about how I'd feel if one of my girls put themselves in that position. It would freak me out so much.

Tara, That's a great story. I don't know where electric typewriters even go to die anymore.