Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saddle Bags and Passage Ways

Growing up on Afternoon TV movie matinees, heavily loaded with old mysteries, there was one element that always fascinated me: the hidden passageways. The scenario: by moving a certain book on a shelf or a candlestick on a wall, the bookcase or the fireplace slides away and opens to reveal a hallway or staircase leading godknowswhere.
This was delightfully spoofed in “Young Frankenstein”:

Recently, I came across several websites for companies that will design and install hidden rooms, hallways and stairs for your house, for whatever purpose (to the wine cellar, or maybe the cannabis solarium?)

Needless to say, this would be an ultra- fantasy come true for me. By sticking my fingers in the eyeholes of a portrait of Dick Cheney, a wall would slide away, leading perhaps to my library, or music studio, or even my secret laboratory with Abby Normal’s brain in a jar.

Or maybe to an alternative world. (There was a “Twilight Zone” where the wall behind the bed was porous and the little daughter ran through but couldn’t get back out and could be heard screaming “Daddy! Help me, Daddy!”-----but I digress.)
I think that probably a lot of us have that desire for the hidden door to a secret world. We’re wired to feel homesick for a place we’ve never been, and to search for some hidden way out of here.

Probably that wish leads us to drug and alcohol use and abuse, as well as obsessions with any number of creative outlets. Passion and escapism are twin infants. Imagination is their red wagon.
[The rock band, “The Doors”, took their name from Aldous Huxley’s book on hallucinogenics , “The Doors of Perception”.]

When I lived by the Mojave Desert, I had a buddy who was a creative, hard-livin’ dude; whether building bridges or sculpture he was all-consumed. One day, after we killed several bottles of Spanish champagne, he pointed to a pair of saddle bags under the stairs of the back porch.
“That’s got everything I need to disappear.”
He said that in the bags he had some clean clothes, some tools, some cash, and a different set of I.D.’s, thanks to the social security number of a friend who had died in ‘Nam.
“Tomorrow, I can drop out of sight like a rock in the lake, and nobody will ever be able to find me.”
[Isn’t that the Great American Cowboy Image ----Clint Eastwood wearing a poncho?}
A while back, I was informed my buddy had died after a bout with cancer, and I’ve got no reason to doubt it. One way or the other he found the way that was hidden.

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