Daily Archives: 8 October 2011

Getting The Itch

“Under the big oak trees of my place at Sag Harbor sat Rocinante, handsome and self-contained, and neighbors came to visit, some neighbors we didn’t even know we had. I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation – a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from Here. They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go someday, to move about, free and unanchored, not toward something but away from something. I saw this look and heard this yearning everywhere in every state I visited. Nearly every American hungers to move. One small boy about thirteen years old came back every day. He stood apart shyly and looked at Rocinante; he peered in the door, even lay on the ground and studied the heavy-duty springs. He was a silent, ubiquitous small boy. He even came at night to stare at Rocinante. After a week he could stand it no longer. His words wrestled their way hellbent through his shyness. He said, ‘If you’ll take me with you, why, I’ll do anything. I’ll cook, I’ll wash all the dishes, and do all the work and I’ll take care of you.’

Unfortunately for me I knew his longing. ‘I wish I could,’ I said. ‘But the school board and your parents and lots of others say I can’t.’

‘I’ll do anything,’ he said. And I believe he would. I don’t think he ever gave up until I drove away without him. He had the dream I’ve had all my life, and there is no cure.”

—John Steinbeck
“Travels With Charley”

That way lies madness.