12/10 heading to l.a.
I leave the bay area by way of 880 south cause I’m not allowed on 580 until we get thru Oakland. I get onto 580 east at Hayward and continue until I can pick up 5 to L.A. – the most boring route in all of California but the quickest way to get to the big city.
Even though it is well past dawn when I leave, the air is as ugly sootie and steel white as early morning fog that's molded. Driving out of the bay area makes me feel like how I used to feel driving into L.A. 20 years ago – how the hell can people breathe? Our air is so filthy – but keep buying those hummers. I actually see 3 hummers going to L.A. – I’m pissed at each one – I hold up my “greedy, greedy, greedy” sign as they pass. I’ve lost my “nothin’ dummer than a hummer” sign – too much for them to read anyway as they’re flying by.
The mold dissipates but the steel white curtain surrounding the landscape doesn’t lift practically the whole way to L.A. – even tho most of the land 5 goes thru is not heavily populated – in fact, the gas stations & rest stops are the most peopled for hundreds of miles. Bakersfield is far off in the distance & probably the largest city within 50 mile radius of the freeway.
So why all the air pollution? I should be surprised – not! We should be 99% solar with all the sun we have in this state – and 50% non-emitting vehicles. We were supposed to have 35% non-emitting vehicles by 2005 – a Davis bill – but dear bush nixed that his first few weeks in office, saying it was too strenuous a standard for the auto industry. Grrrrr. Now we have like a 5% non-emitting vehicle standard. People are nuts - don't we want to breathe?
I only stop once for diesel – I’m sad there is no biodiesel along 5, with so many truckers & me needing diesel - speaking of emitting vehicles. I must make it a priority to get a second tank at the very least - and the conversion to straight veggie oil next! I have a brief conversation with a trucker who realizes quickly I cannot speak Spanish, smiles broadly and says I think, ‘mujeres de la paz’ as he nods vigorously & jabs his thumb into the air toward the truck several times. ‘Gracious’ I murmur. “no” he says several times, ‘gracious’ pointing to himself.
I’m getting mostly positives of course, as I drive thru this flat farm land surrounded in the distance by the coastal mountain range. Even as I approach the Grape Vine, the smog has continued to follow. Not until I am at the peak, 4000 feet!, does the sky turn azure blue, for a moment, with big white fluffy clouds. I’ve collected 22 yeahs, claps, and peace signs including one biker on a harley that zoomed in behind the truck for a few minutes, crept up along the side and then hovered close to my window so he could wave & give me the thumbs up! Bikers are always 50/50. There are hardly any truckers on the road today, Saturday, and none of the ones that drive by respond either way.
Shockingly enough, three people have given me the thumbs down – one white womon, the passenger in a car that drives slowly past, sticks her thumb down as they drive past. I shake my head, give her a smile & the peace symbol. She yanks around in her seat & juts out another finger, the middle one this time. I’m flabbergasted. I grab my ‘another rich white male – shame’ sign that I reserve for ‘fuck you’s’ and hold it up for her to see. I can see her turning her energy to the driver, who speeds off.
I pass a lovely-painted sign in the middle of the valley that reads: a bold “CHOOSE” in big block letters, while underneath a flowery "LIFE" in pink script flows. I envision coming back in the cover of dark, and painting in bright fresh blood red “end war” under the life.
It is the only anti-abortion sign on 5 in California that I see, thank goodness. The religious signs abound thru the mid-west like the winter-brown sage bushes dot the horizon on 5. Neither are there any anti-war signs, or signs for peace. Other than signs for selling land and owning orchards, there are few billboards not advertising the businesses coming up at the next exit.
I get three fuck you’s – two from perfect ritzy women in Livermore, older white women who stick their middle fingers up as casually as they might a wave to an acquaintance. The third is from a young white man riding a supped-up trans-am type car. I hold up my ‘why aren’t you in Iraq’ sign to his finger. He noisily accelerates into the horizon.
I’m thinking I need a sign for the older white women dripping money in their luxury vehicles and/or suv’s as they go by giving me the finger. ‘Jesus loves you’ maybe. I thought about ‘oh another nice white person’ sign or just ‘nice’.
We're just about to loose light when I pull into West Hollywood to deliver. The sunset has been awesome, dark black clouds reflecting intense red until it fades into the last dim light. It is intense only a few minutes, not long enough for me to share it with the folks who will unload the truck. One of the young women says to me, after everyone finishes admiring & reading all the words on my truck, ‘you are really pro-active.’ And extends her hand. I give her a hug & urge her to join codepink. She promises to look into it. We’ll see. Peace, sam