Being younger then myself I ventured out into the soft light of a snowstorm on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. When I was young I was more apt to adventuring, leaving the familiar without so much as a road map. What happened was my Captain (in the Marine Corps) suggested one day that if anyone was troubled then they should talk to someone and not just up and leave. For the first time, as his words echoed in my mind, I realized I could up and leave. So I set out to procure an automobile and secure my passage through the grey into an unearthly state where I could become less visible then the cylindrical figures that occupied my days. No more marching in unison. No more barking orders to the wind. I would free myself from convention and cast my worries on the highway lines, which separated me from them.
I say all that to say I was depressed. No amount of advice or counsel could assuage my guilt or reboot my will. No. I had to go, I had to venture out. I had old high school friends out there I could stay with and at that point it was better to leave and live then to stay and die a thousand deaths inside. I remember each time I put on the uniform, how my skin crawled, how my mind reeled, how everything inside me resisted the machine. Perhaps I was overly dramatic. I know I was confused but the first faint light of hope came as I gripped the steering wheel of that Ford and drove into the unknown. In the middle of the night with no map and no clue I chain smoked cigarettes and knew that if I survived the storm then God was real and there was some plan for my life.
I drove on through the night. Through Pennsylvania and West Virginia on into the mountains of Virginia with the singular hope of a burgeoning adventure. I rolled into a strange motel in the early dawn knowing that what I had done would upset the balance of all the strong armed and valiant sergeants who barked their orders into the wind hoping someone was listening.
I had a brief sojourn in Charlottesville before tuning north. Without a map and without a plan I went to see my friend Peter in Manhattan.
Here are the first 3 installments of the psuedobiographical sketches in order: