Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rope Bridge part 1/4

Alright. So here we go. Blog promised, blog delivered. So what's the topic? Well, I have no idea. I am pretty much just entertaining myself at this point going all stream-of-conscious. It's fitting, though. The person who asked me to post is my old Beatnik friend named Ryan. He and I went to the same schools until we graduated senior high, but never hung out until afterward. During childhood I was anti-social, arrogant, and generally not fun to be around. But all of that changed with the freedom of post-high school. Thank God for drugs.

In 1995, and in the spirit of all things too-young-to-know-better, Ryan and I set out to convince ourselves that we were the reincarnations of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. (It was never formally agreed which of us got to be Jack. I think we avoided the topic so we could both believe as we would prefer. But in hindsight I can say with the utmost clarity that Ryan was the poet slash artist and I was the drug-addled hanger-on.) Our experience On The Road was nothing like the non-stop trip to Mexico that it should have been. Instead we would get high with no real sense of adventure on any old night of the week and drive in circles around Salt Lake City until one of us passed out. With luck that was usually the one in the passenger seat.

So one night Ryan and I were driving past a particularly treacherous part of the Jordan River. Not many people outside of the Wasatch Valley are familiar with this wormy landmark, and even fewer the part Ryan and I found. We saw fires blazing from the other side of the river, but couldn't discern the source. Seeing fires while driving around Salt Lake all night turns out to be a not unusual experience. But normally one can see where it's coming from. This one looked controlled, and by the sounds of drums and voices one would imagine that a good time was being had on the other side.

Ryan parked the car and we got out to inspect the scene. I had heard something about this geography-defying tropical island on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, but I had never actually seen it. What you hear growing up is that it's rife with danger and turmoil and one should avoid it at all costs. But it didn't sound tumultuous at all to us. It just sounded fun. So off we went.

Now, accessing this jungle island meant crossing a nasty little bridge that hung limp from the Interstate-5 Looking Point side and the No Mans Land side. It was one of those rope numbers with the wooden slats just like you see in all the fantasy movies right near the climax where some dwarf has to run across and he slips and almost falls but a previously unfriendly troll has a sudden change of heart and comes along and to save him. It was that kind of bridge.

Certainly we were nervous, but we were also young and horny and, as mentioned earlier, high. Much too high, in fact. And on a daily basis. But we didn't know anything about partying until we got onto that island. The people there were outrageous. They were half-naked and dancing around and screaming and screwing and eating and drinking and just taking any notion of propriety I'd ever been taught and sacrificing it on the altar of lust. Just amazing. Someone gave me something to drink out of a coconut and that was it. I don't remember much until about 9 months later.


  1. Sounds like also an island in time. And I damn near remember the time, too.

  2. So many insights, Dave... :-)

    Are you sure you haven't been up late reading Ray Bradbury?

  3. I like Vivi's "Rebirth". I was thinking there were probably a few real births around the time you woke up.

    That was maybe the original bridge to nowhere, pal.


So what do you think?