Saturday, December 03, 2005

Baby, I Just Got the Blues

Baby, I Just Got the Blues

I used to drive around all night.

I'd start out in Long Beach and drive west across the first bridge onto Terminal Island, home to shipyards, a federal prison, and, in those days, a strange little warren of crack-in-the-wall neighborhoods, wedged in between railroad right-of-ways and wrecking yards.

Baby, I Just Got the BluesI'd often cross the 'big' bridge, the Vincent-Thomas (which apparently cries out for and often gets a prefix of "Saint" from southbay locals), driving through the darkened streets of San Pedro, past the cliffs at Point Ferman and on along the crumbling, two lane coastal road around the peninsula and up to Torrance or on to Santa Monica or beyond to Malibu, Zuma... and once all the way to Port Hueneme, 85 or 90 miles to the north.

Other times, I'd drive east across Orange County, driving into the then empty hills along the two lane, winding Santiago Canyon Road. There were a few pockets of homes, some ranches. A favorite was a certain tiny canyon community (now all but surrounded surrounded by suburban subdivisions but then isolated and exotic).

In those days, there were lots of ghosts in the hills, with stories of hauntings from the first settlers blending with Indian legends, running together with the fervid urban legends of primitive mid-century media, a time when it could take six months of hard work to determine if a girl ever really did end up with a nest of black widow spiders in her heavily sprayed bouffant hairdo.

There was a semi established tour of old cemeteries. (And, yes, one night I saw something quite odd -- although not in a cemetery... It seemed in every way to be a jaw-droppingly classic shade -- but, trying to be skeptical, it is possible it could have been the way the moonlight played on a bent little old lady in what appeared to be 19th century garb taking a 3 am stroll through a scrub forest 50 yards from an otherwise deserted two lane black top.)

Another memorable night, my long suffering GF and I drove, following my displaced sense of travel longing, up the old Alameda Ave, a way-past-midnight crawl through strange, ghostly, industrial neighborhoods. We ended up in Los Angeles, in the rail yards and warehouse district, watching trucks being loaded and unloaded by an service force of ragtag loaders, paid per job, and openly throwing back hard liquor out of half pint bottles, with harsh laughs that boomed empty loading bays. One night I ended up talking to a few of them for a couple hours, drinking wine with them and smoking cigarettes.

And, a lot of times, my drives would end up at the break of dawn, with a barefoot walk in cold wet sand, fog rolling across some beach, maybe Laguna -- maybe Zuma... but always lost in a swirl of the night's thoughts.

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Baby (I Just Got The Blues)

I drive around all night
looking for nothing to do
I play guitrar til dawn
and every song's about you
if I sleep I might dream
and we all know that dreams don't come true

Ain't nothin wrong with me baby
I just got the blues

walked along the shore
wondering what a smart guy would do
in the Idiot's Guide to Love
I must be listed in the back under "fool"
sure once I had some answers
now I'd settle for some lies that sound true

Ain't nothin wrong with me baby
I just got the blues

It's easy for you sugar but then
everything's easy for you
You know what you want
and you know how to make it come true
But, it's hard for me, doll, to
bid all that we had adieu

Ain't nothin wrong with me baby
I just got the blues
Ain't nothin wrong with me baby
I just got the blues

(C)1998 TK Major

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