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I Travel Not To Go Anywhere but To Go
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
“Money doesn’t buy happiness. But happiness isn’t everything.” A beautiful actress in Godard’s À bout de souffle made that comment, and then eventually she killed herself in a parked car in Paris. Of course, she was hunted down by the FBI for donating some of her Hollywood and European dole to the Black Panther cause. The FBI hated that. They hunted her down, followed her around, till she killed herself. You’re given the tools and the means to move a certain way, and you follow that path. I think that could be regarded as murder, but alas, the perception is perhaps stronger than the truth.
Nevertheless, I seem to have a lot of her pictures on my wall. Not due to her death or her politics, but she represents something new and fresh to me. I only saw one of her films, and that was À bout de souffle. I always wanted a girlfriend like Jean Seberg, someone slightly mad yet fun. My guess is the fun part wasn’t that prominent, and her sadness at the world was a cup overflowing.
Another beauty of that period was Oskar Werner, who starred in François Truffaut’s Jules et Jim and Fahrenheit 451. He had the facial glance of a lost sheep in a harsh, cruel world. If you look at him, he seems to melt in front of you. I never felt he was alive. I have an active imagination, and I just presumed that I thought him up. Indeed a creature such as Oskar could exist? In my mind, I think Oskar and Jean would have made an attractive couple. Some people live by chance, but I feel that Oskar and Jean’s fate was made - not only by the cruel mechanics of the Hollywood machinery but due to their fragile state of consciousness. These two sad characters (but beautiful) made me aware that I need to take my life into my own hands and not depend on others. For many years now, I have declined to work or even leave my house.
If I do travel, it is through films and books. First-hand experience is not all that important to me. I logically feel that having an experienced traveler writing about ‘their’ experiences is a much better situation for me. Why go out and get yourself burned when someone else can do that leap into the unknown. “I travel not to go anywhere but to go.” In many ways, I can be that pinball stuck in a machine, and I’m just endlessly bouncing off the side rail. Therefore I entirely trust the experienced traveler to lead me to hope, or if nothing else, a different world. But it is always a battle between a planned life and those who follow their desires.
The one-story that comes back to me is when the late 19th-century actor Edwin Booth saved Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert, from falling between the train and platform. As the train moved away from the platform, Robert started to fall between the crack, feet first. A hand came upon his coat collar and pulled him up onto the train. Robert recognized Edwin Booth due to his fame at the time. He thanked him. Two or three months later, Edwin’s brother John kills President Lincoln. When I came upon this story, I always wanted to know how Robert felt saved by his father’s assassin? It is like when I know someone died in a car accident, and knowing it was just an issue of seconds, that the person driving behind that driver didn’t die instead. Is that chance or a fate being played out? I try to pinpoint people who have consistent back luck, and I avoid them at all costs. I lost friends, but that’s nothing compared to having their lousy luck rubbing off on you. Putting images of those with bad luck on my wall somehow makes me feel safer. An illusion, perhaps, but if I’m going to throw my life to chance, I slightly beat the odds in any fashion or manner that is in my power to do so. I have to remember to “keep my fears to myself, but do share my courage with others.” Right now, fear is standing up proudly.