by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Grapevine : March 2011
ing man in his mid-30s who seemed absolutely straight. He looked just like Bobby Darin. People who looked like him didn't stop for hippies. "Hop in!" he said. I surveyed the front seat and saw three thermoses of coffee, sand- wiches and two cartons of my brand of cigarettes. Freeloader heaven. He was headed for Albuquerque. I could hitch due north to Aspen from there. As we drove through the California and Arizona desert, outrunning a thunderstorm, he be- gan to tell me his story. He handed something to me. He was, literally, a card-carrying member of Alcohol- ics Anonymous. He told me of years of stumbling around downtown Los Angeles, years of white port wine, endless degradations, and a final total hopelessness. One morning in some back alley as he lay on his piece of cardboard, clothing filthy, unshaven and unwashed, shaking inside and out, a man had leaned down over him and handed him a card. He said it was a card just like the one he had handed to me. On it was a name, a telephone number and the words "Alcoholics Anony- mous." That had been eight years earlier and now, he said, he had a life beyond imagination. So did I, I thought, as I bummed smokes and politely listened, the ar- rogant ignorance of free spirit youth casually dismissing his story and his sincerity. But he was friendly and generous with the smokes, and the desert miles sped by until nearly sundown. Then he pulled to the side of the road, whipped some sort of directory from under the front seat and said, "Let's see what's going on around here tonight." I looked around through the darkening world we had stopped in. Rattlesnakes, sa- guaro cactus, sagebrush and coyotes were what I could see going on. He glanced at the road sign at this crossroad, punched the book with his finger, and said "OK." Then he turned right onto a dirt road and zoomed off into the twilight desert, the same desert that Geronimo had ridden across some 90 years earlier. After 15 or 20 increasingly nervous minutes, and miles from my only hitchiking escape, he paused on a rise and then slowly drove down toward an adobe hut that had no telephone or electricity wires lead- ing to its roof. There was a battered jeep, a new pickup truck, a VW Bug with what appeared to be surfboard racks on the roof, and now "Bob- by's" dusty red convertible parked at the hitching rail. He hopped out and yelled, "Come on!" as he bounded up to the adobe, a blanket hanging in the doorway. Before he could knock on the blanket, a barely five-foot-tall ancient Indian woman appeared and motioned us inside. An equally ancient slight-statured Indian man stood there smiling and said, "I am Grapevine 35