Friday, August 04, 2006

Archive of the Day

This comes from "In Defense of Alcohol," an essay by Michael Ventura. I discovered Ventura in college -- I think he was writing a regular column for The Austin Chronicle at the time. I recently, for the first time in years, picked up the collection of his I had bought back then, and a lot of it clearly appeals to the young, Romantic-but-inexperienced, pseudo-spiritual person I was back then. (As opposed to me now -- actually, I'm older, but the rest is pretty much the same. I'm not crazy about Ventura's type of style anymore, or his vague hippie-ish notions of cosmic connections, but I can't lie and disown the entire aesthetic.) Anyway, some of it holds up, including this:
Didn't drink much in my twenties. Except when I was twenty-four -- I even drank in the morning that year. Otherwise it wasn't unusual to go weeks or months without a beer. Then one morning I was twenty-six, driving into the West for the first time. If you've grown up in the East, your vision usually stops about twenty yards from where you stand. Some wall, some tree. Space back there feels cramped. Driving 200 miles is a big occasion. But in the West, with its endless, beckoning vistas, I've driven 70 miles for a pizza, 500 for a party, 1,000 for a girl. This is not unusual behavior in Texas and New Mexico.


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