Tuesday, July 28, 2009
A Real Slice of Americana
Its Sunday afternoon, the air is hot and the traffic heading south towards the bay is snarled. To avoid the jam we drive off I80 for a beer, into empty gold hills with cows plopped on their asses surrounded by a few trees, as the winding roads descends down into an old wild west style settlement. Port costa is the towns name and we head in. At the end of the main street theres hogs and a dirt road parking lot filled w/ bikers beyond of which is railroad tracks and an inlet channeling the northern rivers from the Sierras south into the Pacific. Everyone is merrily drinking, smoking, talking, pouring out of the saloon, BBQ'n, and having a good ole' time on this hot summer day; weekend warriors who never fully gave in, maybe some not at all. On the patio of the saloon a cheesy ass rock n roll cover band is cranking out the 70's hits; Rick Derringer, ZZ Top, and the Doors. We walk thru the leather and we get eyed out; I guess sizing us up to detect if we are "squares," or cops. If I were them, I would too; cant trust too many strangers these days, can ya? I sense theres gotta be a Vietnam vet in this crowd. Sure enough, 3 steps later we pass by a decorated 1st marine division hoghead with a small patch on his motorcycle jacket depicting this fact. The lady's purse drops off her shoulder as we enter the saloon, snaps, breaks off. Insert the theme of the twilight zone...shall we? Did someone whisper spirits? As we wait to order our delicious beers we realize 8 bucks is not enough to cover full tab. I retreat back to our car to get my last 2 dollars; shame their not greenbacks. Out in the parking lot I smell marijuana wafting as I walk pass 2 teen aged wiggers sitting short haired (almost skinhead) and white shirted, in an El Camino passing the dutchy from side to side. One is bobbin his head to the cover band music while he drags off the spleef. Ah yes, its summer time in America. I return w/ the tip portion of our charge and from the the bar off with a cold beer poured into a masons pint jar we go to the parking lot/ patio to watch the crowd and the mid life crisis project band. Its loud and hot standing in the sun as the aging rockers sing play that funky music white boy w/ a break it down part and 50 yr old white man vocalist lookin like Kid Rock rapping over it while the only black girl in sight is up there dancing in his grill. They were all gettin down, groovin and havin a good ole' time. They're good folk, no bad vibes, living it 'cause they're lifers. Oh the worry of money and good times come into mind. I walk to a rusted junk pile sitting in the dirt and look inside. There I find ten dollars laying in a detritus of leaves, potato chipbags, etc., behind 1930's dilapidated marque sign. This is what is playng at the same time..."keep your eyes on the road and hands upon the wheel / the future is uncertain and the end is always near." We finish our beers and walk the town, head up towards a pirates of the carribean lookin house and up to the church on the hill, pass the one horse fire station and back down and head out. As we leave, the same old eastern European chef that works in the restaurant across the saloon sits on the side of the street, head down and depressed. The lady says, "I feel sorry for him." I think to myself sayin, "there is a ghost in this town." We drive out and head for the bay, and take a back highway as the air cools comin down thru the hills by big mountain. We head to Fosters Freeze and walk around berkeley eating ice cream. I now have 4 dollars left and have to pay for the nite cap....LIVE TO RIDE / RIDE TO LIVE.