WordBowl Word of the Day LAWLESSNESS courtesy of Hogan Gorman

Actor. Activist. Author.

Kicking off this "lawlessness" adventure with BATHROOM LAUGHTER at Mother's Ruin

Kicking off this “lawlessness” adventure with BATHROOM LAUGHTER at Mother’s Ruin

New Orleans, point of origin, cross-country road trip, three Southern chicks, U-Haul jammed: inherited furniture, dashed familial expectations, historical baggage. Westward Ho! Adventuring to, or escaping from. Early twenties, confident in the uniqueness of our private pains.

Night before, toasting, one of us toppled off a barstool, broken wrist. Lost a day: hospital, sympathy cocktails, final family fights, farewells.

First days, road-thrill, sloping scenery, states slipping past. Speeding ticket, hilarious, stopped by a cop, did not recognize us or our last names. Revel in anonymity, assume — still— our parents would fix it with the presiding judge, as was custom. Roadside motels, novelty, tacit understanding one of us lacked unlimited funds.

Vistas flattened, air staled, radio stations dissolved to static. Truck cab squeezed by thoughts not voiced and road trip accoutrements acquired. An ex-but-still-friends stop, local concert, return to a vehicle too tight to accommodate our accompanying hangovers and lingering resentment, petty grievances.

Hauled through Colorado, up to Aspen without benefit of snow gear, it was summer where we started. Missed connection, misplaced address. Costume change in the back of U-Haul, taking turns, naked among reminders of what we chose to leave. Drinks, to facilitate the Figuring Out of What to Do. New friends, the kind who Day Drink their way into the night. Our kind of folk. We stand on barstools, buy rounds of shots for the natives, to prove we come in peace.

Mezcal-based TERRIBLE LOVE at Death & Co.

Mezcal-based TERRIBLE LOVE at Death & Co.

Party swells, fast friends commandeering pool tables, cigarettes, recreational party favors on our behalf. The friends-of-friends, Southern trust fund ski bums who agreed to accommodate us for the night, finally found, join the fray.

Night speeds, accelerates, swerves. Flirtations ignited, flamed out. Cards and cash tossed like cocktail napkins. Cotton shoved up a nose, no more hospitals this trip, soldier on. Hunter S. Thompson jokes, comparisons, we wore our Fear and Loathing with pride. We did not know we had gone too far until we arrived, wild-eyed, to the point of no return.

Morning, murderous, miraculous. Rode road, veered towards Utah, roadside emergency pee, another car, soldier returning from a war we watched on television, sly smoke offer, turns taking puffs. Drove through Moab, gaped at red rocks, slack-jawed, cotton-mouthed, questing for beer in a dry county. Squeaked through Nevada City, hit hotel slots, won twenty bucks.

COCKPIT OF PEACE at The Beagle (originally found in the classic 1947 tome "Barflies & Cocktails"

COCKPIT OF PEACE at The Beagle (originally found in the classic 1947 tome “Barflies & Cocktails”

Conversation deserted. Desperate for fresh clothes, fresh audiences, we high-tailed, two of us taking turns at the wheel, the cramped middle, not glaring at the one relieved of responsibility, sleeping against window, blond hair fanning her cast.

Abandoned U-Haul illegal, clinging to a hill, tickets tossed, we did not yet possess California licenses. Furniture and luggage left to languish as we danced, dove, drank. Tow-threatened, truck emptied at last, possessions scrambled, never rectified.

Told tales of this trip to strangers, never with each other.

We scattered. One scrabbled the globe, self-discovery, marriage, children. Another catapulted to career heights. Only one of us hit jail, momentary, before settling. All returned to respectability.

But underneath, lurking, reckless possibility.

As you might surmise, the writing of “lawlessness” required a cocktail road trip of sorts:

 BATHROOM LAUGHTER at Mother’s Ruin (nolita, nyc)

TERRIBLE LOVE at Death & Co. (east village, nyc)

THE COCKPIT OF PEACE at The Beagle (east village, nyc)

Do you have a favorite word? Send it along!


WordBowl Word-of-the-Day provided by Jenny B

   children’s literature advocate, writer, reviewer, educator, chanteuse


1994, Los Angeles — A friendly freelance writer/IT consultant (and future dotcom entrepreneur) offered to show me his computer lab, introduce me to Mosaic the thing that could change everything.

We weaved through Malibu on his bike, my thighs gripping his, ocean crashing to one side, craggy cliffs on the other, words whipped away by wind. Arrived at UCLA, walked through hushed halls, crossed the threshold to humming terminals, sat before a massive monitor. He clicked keys like a conjurer invoking spells, I peered over his shoulder, breathless. He grasped my hand, cautioned patience. We waited, bantered, debated, the mechanical whir of computer equipment morphed into music. We waited. The screen swirled.

aptly-monikered SOCIAL SMOKER cocktail (with smoked mescal float) at Ella's

aptly-monikered SOCIAL SMOKER cocktail (topped with a smoked Mezcal float) at Ella’s

We waited. I shivered, he pulled me onto his lap, wrapped arms around me, we nuzzled as the day’s surf reports appeared onscreen. I attempted to wrap my head around this as we wrapped ourselves around each other, wrap my head around the concept of any necessary or useful or desired information called forth with a few key strokes, and said, well if this thing speeds up, there might be something cool here, and he laughed, and we kissed again, so to me, the Internet was, is, a little sexy.

We West Coast media denizens, entranced by publishing and broadcasting possibilities, embraced the Internet Age. Our Brave New World.

We digital pioneers reveled in our e.mail addresses and 1200 baud modems and the dial-up screech in the background of our calls to the other coast. We evangelized, staked web turf claims, lugged laptops.

And then, Netscape IPO’d. Wall Street awoke, roared.

Ella's jazz-meets-hiphop-meets-piano bar, east village

Ella Lounge, east village, nyc

We attended meeting after meeting, meetings run by fresh-faced guys sporting khakis and not-quite button-downs a particular shade of blue between baby and royal, or presided over by former hippies who caught the tech wave early and rode it to excessive success. They pronounced, with the all-knowingness of prophets, “Portals are the new television networks,” espoused “paradigm shifts”, asserted “first mover status”.

“Game Changer” became as standard an opening salvo as “Hello”.

“Information wants to be free” they cried, dancing for money, venture capitalists. We media-makers did not yet know to do more than shudder.  “The totality of human expression at our fingertips”, and we did not yet know to fear for our jobs.

CLARK GABLE cocktail at east village jazz joint Ella's

CLARK GABLE cocktail at east village jazz joint Ella

The Bay Area teemed. From all over the country they came — the newly-graduated, the disenfranchised traditional media folks, mid-level management types casting for future financial independence, Baby Boomer executives making one last leap for career glory — people headed West, a late 20th century Gold Rush of bits and bytes and options.

The Internet steamrolled, indiscriminate. E.mail smashed USPS to governmental rubble. Long distance phone call pricing evaporated.  Periodicals and newspapers trumped by perpetual publishing. Music retailing gutted, television viewing fractured. Books priced less than paper. Engineering casual wear trounced corporate dress. Culture reduced to “content”. Roadkill along the Information Superhighway.

“Content is King!”, but the Internet Rules All.

“juggernaut” scribbled at the “Heyday of Hollywood”-evoking piano bar & jazz club  Ella Lounge     east village, nyc

caffeinated assist from west village staplesNice (which it is!)

'sNice, west village, nyc

‘sNice, west village, nyc