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The Bus Came By and I Got On

November 25, 2013

Petty annoyances littered the weekend.  Bread dough that didn’t rise.  Computer issues.  A car in the shop.  A cold that I can’t shake.  This is all trivial, of course.  Before the heart of the matter, if you will.  Nonetheless, it served as adequate kindling to set me out seeking for a late Sunday escape.

With Kurt Vonnegut ringing in my head, I turned on the second half of the Raiders’ game. (Their opponent escapes me already – a team from the Southeast part of the country.)   Sebastian Janikowski, a reliable veteran kicker who scored from sixty-three yards a couple of years ago, sailed two to the left that were both well within his range.  The Raiders lost in a close score.

The time on the screen was split fairly evenly between football and ads for the holidays.  It’s all orchestrated with the highest of polish, yet still comes across as the most indelicate and crass way.  There was one pitch from the network that promised us the absolute very best Thanksgiving ever if we stay tuned into their TV station all of that day.  For Christmas and other upcoming gift-giving events, it seems that this year everyone is buying an expensive car or SUVthJDKM0UM0, shiny jewelry, the newest and fastest smartphones, lots of alcohol and overpriced pharmaceutical drugs for erectile dysfunction.

All of this kept me looking for relief elsewhere.  I found it.

“Coming, coming, coming around
Coming around, coming around, in a circle

Escaping through the lily fields, I came across an empty space
It trembled and exploded, left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on, that’s when it all began
There was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus to never ever land.”
– Bob Weir
The Other One


The Grateful Dead played brilliantly in England in Spring 1972. Listening to these recordings was an excellent way to end the day.

From → Life, Music

  1. So Bruce, would you rather join Kurt Vonnegut and his romp through the universe or Neal Cassidy and the Mary Pranksters for a romp around America? –Curt


    • Kurt Vonnegut, hands down. Kesey wrote a couple good books, for sure and was an interesting guy. But there’s no way I would have been on the bus or in Kerouac’s cars with Neal Cassidy behind the wheel. BTW, there is a new Kesey biography (out of University of Wisconsin, I think).


      • Did you ever read Tom Wolfe’s book “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test?” Sure you did. I was at Berkeley when Kesey and crew came piling off their bus for Berkeley’s fist big Vietnam discussion. It was quite the show. –Curt


        • Subtle wasn’t really the Pranksters’ way. Add that to the already volatile matter of the war and it sounds like quite the scene.

          Yes, I’ve read the book. I went through most (all?) of Tom Wolfe’s books over a couple years and enjoyed them all.


          • It was quite the scene, Bruce… throw in Dr. Spock, Jerry Rubin, Wayne Morris and a cast of thousands from the Bay Area and its magnitude begins to appear. –Curt


            • It sounds like a Berkeley classic!

              Hey, I want to see your photos from that day, Curt. Make it a new “Wandering” series. Just in time for the holidays!


            • I truly wish I had had a camera to record my years at Berkeley in the mid-60s. But it wasn’t to be. Maybe I could have borrowed some photos from the FBI agents who were always hanging around. (grin) –Curt


  2. Kurt Vonnegut is the BEST (after me, of course.) We enjoyed Galapagos so much, we read it twice, We also love Bob Weir and is that the memorex commercial? we can’t remember, thanks Bruce, LMA


  3. Nice essay, Bruce! I laughed very much out loud at the manufacturer-supplied shopping list: I am running out right now to purchase a luxury SUV and some diamonds! My holiday wouldn’t be complete….Can I get the big red bow on top, too please?

    Thanks for your visit to Songdog Dreaming. Glad to see you like the acrylic and pencil works. They’re some of my favs. Maybe not quite in the same spirit as the Beat writers, but I’m off to go camping for Thanksgiving. Perhaps I’ll emerge re-inspired, in any case, ad-free for the next four days. Cheers!


    • Hello Camilla – thanks for the note. Enjoy your reprieve from the relentless beat of the holiday marketing. Your break will refresh and rejuvenate you and you’ll be ready for more of those lovely paintings. See Ram On 7/29/13 post “Looking for Creativity? Take a Hike.” Your four days will give you a burst.


  4. I haven’t read Tom Wolfe since I was a teenager. I see his books at thrift stores all the time but always pass….


    • Funny you said this Gary. Just last Sunday I came across a short stack in the garage. I remember how much I enjoyed reading them. They were safe from being thrown into the pile that I brought to the bookstore to sell. For now.


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