Bakersfield

10628382_10152220145775974_118392531280913405_n.jpgWhen I’m alone, and it’s late morning, and it’s Bakersfield, California and I'm sitting there with a coffee and a red, white and black crane truck pulls up across from me and big guys swearing at each other get out and start a job. And I'm alone in a peculiar way, noticing this aloneness quality, in the desolate town of Bakersfield – Oh! -- I realize that here is a moment. 

Here is a moment. Now, do I start from it and move outward living with this moment cloaking me? Should I hold back and ask this moment what its intentions are? 

A sign that reads Buck Owens Boulevard is standing there against the sun. The crane is lowering a Krispy Kreme sign down into an aluminum frame with pre-set fluorescent bulbs on the inside edges. There is my espresso coffee, which steams defiantly there on this stained and gouged table, as the Krispy Kreme seems seconds from it's grand opening. All the haphazardness of this cafe now seems intensely selected. I look around at the others in the place. Three women and a man. They are between their moments, I would say. My moment would not be a welcome thing. I'm standing now. 

I wonder, can I do this? Will I go over to the others and hit my knees before them and shout my uprising? This Krispy Kreme is the sixth blimp-like logo hanging from the sky in a circle around us. Each logo is somehow like a tortured, staring face, with that screaming-but-not-saying intelligence. Six of them. We’re trapped. That's clear. What do I do? If the four people here with their coffees stood up with me and we began the life beyond the circle of those six signs, then… Wouldn't we cut a swath out of here, crossing the interstate like a freak storm, moving west northwest, toward Wasco? 

Meanwhile, is it my job to save, or, even, preserve the idea of -- what do we call it, complexity? …no, eccentric humanity? …no, silly nobility? …no, but THIS MOMENT on this stretch of Buck Owens Boulevard? Yes save this moment. Dusty silence and sunlight just as far as I can see, and the artifacts of stupidity taking their implacable positions. I know that there is a second person here who will signal me. One of you will signal me. I won't do this alone, I know that -- but my aloneness, my lack of consultation, the things I’m seeing that no-one has confirmed, my aloneness is what I have to offer you. "Excuse me? We can do something! The 6th logo is… We can change it all right here!” 

I look up from my kneeling position. The four people are as still as a photograph. I look from face to face. I hear the truck is pulling away and I hear the happy laughter, the guys.