When I hear the song “Drifter” by Wild nothing and I look at the album art of the girl whose face is distorted, I get really melancholic and I start to think about time and decay. I think about how the afternoon sun fades into evening when we aren’t finished with our day yet. I think about how 8:30 comes, the sun sets, and we are reminded that another day has past that we can’t have back. I can’t remember a time when I thought about the setting sun and was excited for the nightfall. I think about all of the places I want to see and go, and I know that I will never get to see them all. It is a place that I have no connection with. I’m flushed with thinking about age. I think about how time goes and I am already 23. Pretty soon I’ll be sixty and then… It’s scary to think that no matter how youthful our hearts feel, everyone is at risk of waking up one day and realizing that time is unstoppable.
There are just going to be things in our life that we didn’t do. We are forced to live with the hard truth that we may never do them. I’m 23 and I waste my time on negativity and stagnant naps. I think my loneliness is more deep-rooted than I would allow people to see. I can see into my mind, and I am having a hard time accepting that life isn’t as beautiful as we depict. I’m told to find beauty in tragedy. Yet, I am filled with denial and resentment down to my core. I hold myself with confidence, but I think it is driven by a lack of hope. I have a learned behavior that says that hoping is a waste. That is most likely what stems my cynicism and jaded behavior. I slather on these things as a defense mechanism to hide the fact that I’m not dealing with my issues.
San Franciso has been on my mind more than ever. I think about it all day long. I think about what Kerouac said in “On the Road” about San Francisco. On his last day in San Francisco, Sal climbed up the mountain and overlooked the bay and the Pacific Ocean. “There was the Pacific, a few more foothills away, blue and vast and with a great wall of white advancing from the legendary potato patch where Frisco fogs are born. Another hour it would come streaming through the Golden Gate to shroud the romantic city in white, and a young man would hold his girl by the hand and climb slowly up a long white sidewalk with a bottle of Tokay in his pocket. That was Frisco; and beautiful women standing in white doorways, waiting for their men; and Coit Tower and the Embarcadero, and Market Street, and the eleven teeming hills…. Before me was the great raw bulge and bulk of my American continent; somewhere far across, gloomy, crazy New York was throwing up its cloud of dust and brown steam. There is something brown and holy about the East; and California is white like washlines and empty-headed.”
These words describe the America I know, an America that once was, the America I have grown to love, the America that is no more, but we have built another Wild West on her ashes. These are the words of a man who was shown a new light; a drifter who finds a connection with a place that he may or may not ever see again. This passage reassures me that time will make my insecurities fade. Age will grow me into a stronger man. And I have so many more sunsets to see. Perhaps if life were endless, we would never understand our hearts in a single moment of time. Just maybe time is not a reminder of death, but rather a reassurance of our desires to be youthful.
Kerouac, Jack. On The Road. New York: Penguin Publishing. 1959. Print.