|3 june 1999|
sensitivity is all the rage
Men are often accused of being out of touch with their feelings, unable to express the emotions that arise in them for fear of appearing vulnerable. I am happy (see, there's one already) to say both Chuck Atkins and I have evolved to the point where an honest exchange of inner sensibilities is possible.
We spent many hours in a large vehicle, dined out, experienced anticipation and loss, all with only each other as company. That we did this immediately upon first meeting speaks volumes about our willingness to explore the territory of friendship, male bonding, and personal risk.
The story he unveils is compelling. Mr. Atkins did yeomans work on the web pages detailing our voyage to the middle of the Mojave. The telling is fierce in its depiction of the trials we faced, lyrical in its moment and haunting in its imagery.
Its a little over a week since I met the guy and already hes telling me I look old, that the photograph of me here does not truthfully depict my appearance. The swift route to satisfaction, a lawyers letter outlining the consequence of libel, is probably uncalled for here as Mr. Atkins venomous supposition regarding my elderly countenance is most probably attributable to his youthful inexperience, he being a lad of a mere 37 years and thus unexposed to the simple physics of light and shadow.
Or it may be his eyesight. Throughout our trek to the booth and back he reached repeatedly for a small vial of liquid which he would then squirt into his eyes. Given his affection for Hunter Thompson and gonzo journalism, I suspect this may have been a solution of pineal gland extract administered for hallucinatory purposes, an homage, no doubt, to his "hero". Kids these days.
Also, Im 62" tall. Not "tall-ish" as he described. Tall. 62" is tall. Again, this is a slip attributable to a mindset which I have come to learn is common among non-tall people; they need to bring you down to their level. Its okay. I let them. I am not beyond pity on these matters. I can imagine what it must be like to go through life as a short-ish person, so, as a self-actualized authentic nineties guy, I will let the man have his space, however diminutive it may be.
Or, again, maybe it was just the eye drugs.
Despite these minor quirks, the man is a giant among web-inspired adventurers. He was up to the challenge and ready to go at the drop of a hat, which he might want to consider wearing more often given his hairline.
But I wont dwell on it because I know how sensitive todays short young people can be about this sort of thing, and sensitivity is all the rage, dontcha know.
As I said, other than these minor points, Chuck's account was compelling while being almost completely factual, and as such stands as a monument to the bond that can form between two men who have the guts to do what needs to be done and to say what needs to be said.
"Route 66" -- The Manhattan Transfer -- BOP DOO-WOPP
(playing on a never-ending loop, forever and ever, everywhere you go, Chuck)
"I am old enough to tell the truth. It is one of the privileges of age."
- Georges Clemenceau