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Davis, California

Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Column: Drifting along

It was almost a year ago to the day last Sunday (possibly untrue) when I was startled from a booze-induced bout of hibernation by four hoodlums crawling through my bedroom window.

I’ve been worried about serial killers and organ-thieves coming through my bedroom window ever since I was young, so I’ve taken precautions. My first move was to scramble for the hunting knife I keep under my mattress for just such occasions, but I was barely conscious so I growled and rolled over.

It was a good thing I didn’t knife anyone, because the people crawling through my window were my friends coming to remind me of the conversation I had had the night prior:

Buddy: “Hey, Will. We’re gonna go floating down Cache Creek tomorrow, and you’re coming with us.”

Me: “Okay, how great.”

Buddy: “Sweet. It’s gonna be a blast. I’ll call you around nine and we’ll swing by and pick you up.”

Me: “Okay, how great.”

Buddy: “What the fuck, man? Are you wasted?”

Me: “Okay, how great.”

That was all in the past. This year for our Cache Creek float, I managed to wake up on my own accord without even a single thought about knives.

Anyway, if you’ve never been to Cache Creek (not the casino), it’s a very impressive place to wake up to after a late Saturday night.

We passed under old concrete bridges and watched the swallows flit about their tiny mud condominiums. We floated for hours without seeing a single telephone wire. We drank beer in the sunlight as it reflected off canyon walls. We even saw a raccoon, the most majestic of Earth’s mammals, as it came down a hill of toppled stone to wring its tiny hands in the water.

I called out to the raccoon to join us, but it didn’t. Which is good, because it was probably rabid and would have drank all the beer. (I’m pretty sure I’ve written about drinking beer with a wild raccoon before.)

After a long drift, we dried out at a farm and kicked it with some really huge swine before driving home. It was a mind-opening drive, listening to Eagle 96.9 and watching the sculpted California hills roll on by. A Mongol once asked Conan the Barbarian, “What is best in life?” Conan said something about crushing enemies and hearing the lamentation of women, but I think I’d say something more along the lines of spending a Sunday on a river.

Now, I’m not a religious man, and Saint Peter and the pearly gates sounds more like a porno to me than anything else, but floating down Cache Creek got me in my spiritual zone. Not to be morbid or anything, but I’ve often thought about death and what might be beyond death. I assume only worms, but there’s an unfounded theory I like to maintain that your consciousness will live on in whatever type of afterlife you train yourself to believe in. So if you live your life according to all that Buddy Christ said, maybe your mind/ghost will end up in heaven. If you’re some fiend who trips all the time about going to hell, then you’ll get your wish and suffer eternally with the old goat.

Cosmic truths aren’t handed out cheap, but it’s a theory I’ll stick to considering I’ll probably go to hell for all those deadly sins I commit. (I’m great at lust and gluttony).

Who knows. I’ve been right about a few things before. If I’m right about this one, expect to find me floating down a lazy river with a cooler of beer and a raccoon co-pilot until the sun burns out and my mind/ghost has to figure out something else do.

WILL LONG hopes you make the best of the Whole Earth Festival. You can catch him on campus this weekend or electronically at wclong@ucdavis.edu. Just make sure you don’t let the hippies con you into buying a $300 piece of wood.


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