In the Men’s room at The Cannery there is a mirror over the urinal. On the wall behind is a sign, positioned so it is right over your head in the mirror, that says. “ENOLA GNIVAEL ER’UOY REDNOW ON”
I spent my last evening at the Ale Works tonight. I invited Kristen out on the road with me, but she turned down the offer. Just as well; If I ditched Winnebaggo there would be room for her, but she didn’t look like the kind of girl to travel light. I could be wrong about that. I think she wanted to give me a hug when I said goodbye but I got all stiff and awkward before she could even think about it much.
Right now I’m back at John’s, and Sal is on a beer run. Sal is short for Salvatore Vaspolli, and he has a book out called Montana. It’s a photo book, and it’s funny now how many of the images on those pages made me say, “I tried to take that picture!” But the images he has captured are really friggin incredible. He drives around, trying to sell his posters to retailers, and scouting new photos.
What I really want to do is show him my shots, and get his critique. I want to learn from him. Instead I chipped in for the next beer run. He doesn’t want to see my amateur shit. John gave him the opening – “Jerry’s taken some really nice pictures.” Sal did not say “Really? Let’s see.” And seriously, can you blame him for that? The dude’s trying to relax and enjoy a ballgame.
Tomorrow I go. I’ve had a great time here, but the road is out there, a jilted lover jealous of my straying ways. Or staying ways. She wants me back. She calls to me with a whisper that no one else can hear, an enticing sound that promises that I am the only one. I will be the only one once I get out there. My seductive mistress is a fiction that comes from inside my own head, and her promises are emptiness. Sweet emptiness.
So tomorrow I return to the road, to the simplicity that implies, and to my life of solitude. I leave behind a place where I had become a regular, and perhaps even a borderline fly. I was a known stranger. I had not been around enough to lose my exotic veneer (telling a bartender that your bar crawl has gone over 6,000 miles gets you points), but long enough to allow my simple charms to begin to work. It’s a sweet spot that, like the perfect buzz, cannot be sustained. Eventually I have to move on. At this moment in Bozeman, I’m all promise, all potential. I can dance out now and leave a good aftertaste.