Look Homeward, Angels

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We hold on to the leash for her own good.  There are no internal limits on frolic, unless she learns them the hard way, which we don’t have the stomach for.  Impulsive joy will lead her past a point where she can find her scent home.  There will be freeways and fences between us.  There will be Parvo-ridden pools of stagnant water. There will be anti-freeze lurking in overturned hubcaps. Scorpions. Razor wire. Dognappers. Drainpipes which lead to tight corners in which she can’t turn around.

In the dark recurring dream I have from time to time, I finally find her on the other side of Sepulveda.  Catching sight of me, she bounds forward, ears back, happy and relieved,  into a charnel house of indifferent cars….

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The bonds of restraint we can place on people are not so simple.  Short of incarceration, we rely on an admixture of love, shame and subsidy, in different portions, to guide people away from or toward their worst instincts.

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After the RV, you’re down to the shopping cart.

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After the shopping cart, you’re down to the rolling bucket on wheels.

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When you can’t walk anymore, they call the paramedics to take you away.

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Then one day your Mother can’t find you.  You’re gone.

3 thoughts on “Look Homeward, Angels

  1. I’ve known a lot of hard core alcoholics and stoners in my life, including house wives who took pills and businessmen who dipped in to the bath for a quick line of white powder – all of which were comfortably middle class and able to buffer themselves from the worst effects of their personal foibles. Many of these folks self-corrected as they aged. It was easier to be a drunk or to make poor life decisions in previous decades when the economy had a different structure. You used to be able to find an apartment in the Valley that could be paid for on a minimum wage income. This is where the term “functional alcoholic” used to come in handy. No more. Which is the cause and which is the effect? If I lived in a shopping cart under the freeway I’d drink too…

    • “You used to be able to find an apartment in the Valley that could be paid for on a minimum wage income. This is where the term “functional alcoholic” used to come in handy. No more.”

      This is so insightful, Johnny. You can’t coast in coastal California anymore. There is part of me that feels this is a good thing, as it applies to those whom we used to think of as…slackers. When it’s applied to people who work, that’s a different story. A lot of the beat-up RV people I suspect had apartments, once. The people living under tarps? How many of them used to be in RV’s? I don’t know. A lot of them look pretty cracked out and/or freshly paroled.

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