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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
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Regel

The Summer of 1975

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While the two of us where born two weeks apart Domenic was the smaller of the two of us by easily fifteen pounds. His older brother Frank was two years our senior and at least twenty pounds heavier than me. Our relationship was first off friends, secondly family, close family. The intimacy we had with each other tended to breed contempt. While we were in Domenic's car I was always playing the role of visiting team. The problem was my nature. Generally easy going, a bit of a joker I often clashed with Domenic on many fundamental beliefs about life and people. What neither of realized is how this trip would ultimately define us both. Domenic was a very serious pessimist with an uncanny ability to read the negative in people quickly. Myself I was the optimist with a serious blind spot to people with an alternative agenda. Our collective strength was the balance we brought to each other. The problem that was developing was Domenic's estimation of how far I could be pushed. I was rapidly coming to the end of my rope. Fifteen hours into the day we still found ourselves eight hours outside San Francisco. The West coast's beauty was cloaked in darkness now and we shared the road with truckers and very few others. The midnight shift came up and I told Domenic to just pull over and we will both get some sleep. His rant was unbelievable, questioning my manhood and berating me until I reacted and said "Fine! I drive but if I decided that I can go any further I will pull over." A few more expletives and challenges came but the fatigue was enough that Domenic eventually fell asleep. One hour turned into two and the only thing holding me together was the music. One brief second I faded and the wheels of the fiat crossed over the center line causing the raised dividers to awake me. My heart and my eyes wide open my adrenal gland kicked in and I drove down road another hour. Now close to three in the morning I started to fade again and once again the tires made the noise that told me I was crossing the center line. I mentally and possibly verbally screamed the word "Fuck!" corrected my drift and slowly pulled the vehicle over to the shoulder. My cousin slept and I turn the ignition off. We stayed there for about ninety minutes. At first light I awoke, started the car and began again. The short nap had refreshed me and as the day brightened so did I. Around six am Domenic awoke an asked me where we were. The sign we passed suggested Redding was still in front of us. "We should be on the outskirts of San Francesco by now. At the least we should have been to Chico." I left a small space in my reply. I gave it a moment to collect myself and get myself calm. "We could also be dead by the side of the road between Eugene and Grants Pass but we are not. I pulled over after I crossed the center line for a second time. You got a problem with that?" I could tell that the calm in my voice must have unnerved him. He sat slack jawed without further comment. The most beautiful sunrise greeted that silence and we slowly drove towards the outskirts of San Francesco.

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Looking back at this part of my life makes me outright laugh. What a period piece this was in San Francesco weird and wonderful looking people with Afros and flared bell bottom pants tinted funky glasses ornamentation and beading on jackets and jeans. This was a cultural mecca in the 1970's popularized by groups like the village people and the song "YMCA". The more experienced traveller was of course my cousin and as this leg had been littered with petty bickering about one thing or another he decided it was my turn to find us a place to stay. I looked at him and before words could escape my gaping mouth he lit into me, "Fuck you! I have found us the last five places to stay, you do it!" I am not really sure why but his tirade made me giggle. I want to believe my difficulties in finding a place was a result of driving through the night and being overly tired, and not just being stupid and inexperienced. Standing in a phone booth I felt nothing like Clark Kent ready to emerge us Superman. I flip through the Yellow Pages looking under Youth Hostiles (nothing) and then Hostiles only (nothing) Camp grounds (nothing of course in the city) and then started looking at motels and hotels none of which we could afford. Five minutes passed and then ten, I continued to flip through pages getting confused and side tracked under the glare of my hooked nosed cousin. Fifteen minutes had passed and the Fiat door opened and a pissed off Domenic squeezed into the phone booth after yanking me out. "You're useless." In a matter of seconds he found a number called and then said "Get in the car."

Literately we drove around the corner and there was The Young Men's Christian Association. We parked and then went into the buildings front door.

Edited by Regel

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As I recall this YMCA in the center of San Francisco was a busy place.There were four wickets where people were signing in or out settling their bill or checking in. Once again we were forced to line up and wait which I was more then pleased to do. Tired as I was I knew the wait would absolutely infuriate my cousin Don and that was a sight I never grew tired of. While we waited we people watched. Weirdness lived here. I pointed out a very tight pair of jeans standing in stiletto heels with big blonde hairdo and a pink scarf about five people up and two lines over. I nudged Domenic with an elbow and gave a head nod in the right direction. His spirits brightened and as luck would have it our line moved up faster until soon we were almost even with the tightly packaged blue jeans. About this time the object of our admiration turned to her left, looked at us and smiled. The heart shaped glasses etch hearts in the corner the frame caught my eye first, a half second later I realized we had both been staring for ten minutes at a guy's ass. We both turned away dumbfounded and shook our heads."That's fucked up." whispered my cousin. I just smiled. The YMCA had served as a cheap alternative to a camp ground and in the absence of a youth hostile it was heaven sent at ten dollars a night. We got checked in and walked over the the elevator with our bags and pressed the button. The doors opened and as we walked in I asked "What floor" Domenic answered "We are on the third floor 310." As I pressed the button for the third floor and waited for the door to close I was staring at the the sign the said "Women's floor are even numbers and Men's floor odd". They segregated men and women on different floors to prevent anything untoward. This might have made sense in the 50's but this was the 1970's baby! The satire and irony of the rule was best enjoyed later after we both got some much needed sleep.

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We settled into our room and crashed into our two singles. The room was surprisingly clean and the large windows and high ceilings made the room extremely bright. It made sleeping rather difficult inspite of the fatigue. I am not sure why but all attempts I made to sleep failed. So I decided to rattle a coat hanger I had brought from home on the night stand between the two beds. Rattle rattle rattle...an eye opened on Dominic's once sleeping face and then it quickly closed. Rattle rattle rattle...it commenced again, Domenic opened both eyes this time and giggled. The goofiness was brought on by road fatigue but the bright room was equally to blame. "Your a child." Domenic said to me matter of factly, rattle rattle rattle, I responded with the wire coat hanger. We looked at each laughed out loud at the insanity and decided to fine someplace to eat breakfast.

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