Whither Shall I Wander?



Is that a threat?
Is that a threat?

Simone de Beauvoir said aging is nothing more than an accumulation of things. I was never sure if she meant tangibles or intangibles, probably both. When it comes to the former I would have to wholeheartedly agree.

I’ve always been a good consumer and especially enjoy the acquiring and amassing stages of the process. Once I have things, however, I’m not really possessive or materialistic. I’m always giving things away or boxing them up for another day when I’m tired of them.

Over the past year as I’ve contemplated the unthinkable, moving out of my apartment after 40 years, I’ve been going through stuff and getting organized. I wasn’t prepared for the magnitude. There have been many trips to the Goodwill and some handouts to friends.  But I’m left with a lot of things that are just too good to donate.

Someone suggested I get a booth in an antique store, like down in Palm Springs. If I’m going to do that I must think of the whole iceberg, not just the tip.

In addition to San Francisco, over the decades I’ve transferred many of my prized possessions to my Mother’s 4000 square foot condo in Indiana. For the past year they have been sitting in four storage rooms back there. I’ve decided to rent a U-haul and drive a load to California to start my antique empire (a la Cookie).

As hard as I’ve tried to lure others into that truck, none of my friends thought four days in a U-haul was that appealing. Even with my company. So I’m going it alone

I wanted to get some appropriate reading together to take along on my voyage, like Homer maybe. I think I read The Odyssey in high school but all I can remember is that Odysseus was headed for Ithaca. Probably to study hospitality management.

Then there’s Keuroac which I tried to reread a year ago. Slang just doesn’t age well, if you’re not hearing it in the street it kind of slows you down to interpret it on the page. (See Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind: “You kain show yo’ buzzum befo’ three o’clock an’ dat dress ain’ got no neck an’ no sleeves.”)

Finally I thought of my Journal. In February 1973 I drove from Chicago to Los Angeles with a friend from Bloomington. My only other experience with cross-country driving. We got a drive away car, a Lincoln Mark IV, and embarked on one of the most mind numbing but exciting trips of my life.

The full title was The Journal of Bianca Schwartz’s Pilgrimage to the Golden State as Told Posthumously to Her Sisters Co-Starring the Buxom Buzz. (I was still learning about camp and may have overdone it a bit.) I will try to scour up a copy for my en route pleasure.

So next Monday, with so much great literature in mind, I begin my next adventure. On the Odyssey Road with Bianca Schwartz.

Well, a temporary week-long conversion couldn't hurt. In lieu of insurance.
Well, a temporary week-long conversion couldn’t hurt. In lieu of insurance.


Next: Whitey
Previous: Good Morning Jones Street
The complete saga, From the Beginning

For the complete travelogue see On the Odyssey Road
Contact: ellistoellis@gmail.com

3 thoughts on “Whither Shall I Wander?

  1. This is such an adorable photo of you and one of your funniest posts ever. The line about studying hospitality management in Ithaca is brilliant even if only people who know Cornell would get it.

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