Sunday, 21 September 2008

21 September 2008

about life’s troubles, how poor my family was, how much I wanted to help Pauline who was also poor and had a daughter. “Troubles, you see, is the generalization-word for what God exists in. The thing is not to get hung up. My head rings!” he cried clasping his head. He rushed out of the car like Groucho Marxto to get cigarettes---that furious ground-hugging walk with the coat tails flying, except he had no coat tails. “Since Denver, Jack a lot of things…Oh, the things…I’ve thought and thought. I used to be in reform school all the time, I was a young punk, asserting myself---stealing cars a psychological expression of my position, hincty to show. All my jail-problems are pretty straight now. As far as I know I shall never be in jail again. The rest is not my fault.” We passed a little kid who was throwing stones at the cars in the road. “Think of it” said Neal. “One day he’ll put a stone through a man’s windshield and the man will crash and die…all on account of that little kid. You see what I mean? God exists without qualms. As we roll along this way I am positive beyond no doubt that everything will be taken care of for us…that even you, as you drive, fearful of the wheel” (I hated to drive and drove carefully) “the thing will go along of itself and you won’t go off the road and I can sleep. Furthermore we know America, we’re at home; I can go anywhere in America and get what I want because it’s the same in every corner, I know the people, I know what they do. We give and take and go in the incredibly complicated sweetness zig-zagging every side.” There was nothing clear about the things he said, but what he meant to say was somehow made pure and clear. He used the word “pure” a great deal. I had never dreamed Neal would become a mystic. These were the first days of his mysticism which would lead to the strange ragged W.C.Fields saintliness of his later days. Even my mother listened to him with a curious half-ear as we roared back north to New York that same night with the furniture in the back. Now that my mother was in the car Neal settled down to talking about his worklife in San Francisco. He went over every single detail of what a brakeman has to do, demonstrating every time we passed railyards and even at one point jumping out of the car to show me how a brakeman makes

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