Note: First published on Blogger on September 19, 2007
Unfolding the Map
Who would have thought we'd be heading back to Bakersfield with Sal. But, here we go. Curious about where we are? Check out the map by clicking on it.
"In the morning we boldly struck out on our new plan. We were going to take a bus to Bakersfield and work picking grapes. After a few weeks of that we were headed for New York in the proper way, by bus....We arrived in Bakersfield in late afternoon....But there were no jobs to be had....We went across the SP tracks to Mexican town. Terry jabbered with her brethren, asking for jobs....I was beginning to despair...so we bought a quart of California port for thirty-five cents and went to the railroad yards to drink. We found a place where hobos had drawn up crates to sit over fires....Ah, it was a fine night, a warm night, a wine-drinking night, a moony night, and a night to hug your girl and talk and spit and be heavengoing. This we did....Occasionally bums passed, Mexican mothers passed with children, and the prowl car came by and the cop got out to leak, but most of the time we were alone and mixing up our souls ever more and ever more till it would be terribly hard to say good-by."
On the Road, Chapter 13
In my first post on Bakersfield, I focused on how Bakersfield is a proverbial end of the road for many Californians, a gate of hell almost. At least it was for this native Northern Californian where all California south of San Francisco was painted with "Here Be Dragons" on my parents' imaginary map. Sal certainly uses it as a gateway to the LA area. But now we see that it is a gateway of sorts again. Sal foreshadows the end of his romance with Terry by alluding to the eventual goodbye. But not yet. They sit and in terms both vulgar and romantic, they have a bit of romance.
We have all passed in and through doors. If we think of Los Angeles as a big room where Sal played for a while, then we see that Sal is leaving by the same Bakersfield door as he came in. A little wizened perhaps, maybe a little chastened. He's thinking about heading back to New York. Not that there isn't any more adventure. He will still have some more experiences in California, as we will see, before he sets his sight to the east. But the point is, we know when it's time to enter a place, and we all know when it's time to exit. I think Sal knows now that he's beginning the end of his trip and that California will be a distant memory (for now). Unlike Orpheus, he won't be looking back as he goes.
I don't have too much more to say since I've already written about Bakersfield.
Even more About Bakersfield? Let's let some bloggers and such point the way
Bake Town, CA
Eye of Bakersfield
One Bakersfield Woman's Blog to Mankind
Next up: Selma, California