harry hits the road



Between New Year's Day and May Day 2010, I write a book about my cross country road trip in the Smart Car. It’s meant to be both a coming of age at late middle age story and a modern day romance told from a man’s point of view.

While I’m at my desk, there’s a series of headlines news events that resonate with many of the people I met and the places I visited on the road: a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an attempted bombing of Times Square in New York City, the passage of a stringent anti-immigration law in Arizona, and an SEC lawsuit against Goldman Sachs for manipulating trades in the subprime mortgage market.

There’s also a casualty on the automotive front: the Long Island dealership where I bought my Smart Car is out of business, closed, kaput.

Intercourse sign

I finish the first draft of my book just before Muse flies off to Austria to visit her ailing mother. She promises to read it on the plane and give me her considered critique. But two days pass with no word. When I call Muse on the phone, I get her answering message. I text her. I send her emails. She does not reply. A week passes. It’s the same routine every day. I call. I text. I email. No reply.

Finally, I get an international FedEx package that’s thick as a phone book. It contains my book manuscript, which is now dog eared and smeared with food and beverage stains. On top of the manuscript, there’s a small white envelope with the word “Screiber” printed across the front.

I rip open the envelope. Inside, there’s a 1930s vintage picture postcard from Tyrol. The photograph shows an anonymous young man in lederhosen and a plumed hat standing in a meadow of edelweiss beside an anonymous young woman in a dirndl and a white headscarf. The hand scribbled note on the back of the postcard says:

“I read book. Truth hurts. Love hurts. You live in your World of Hurt. I stay here in the Alps with Alfie. Maybe you conquer Goblins, Witches, and Demons inside you. For us, this is THE END and NOT TO BE CONTINUED. I don’t text. I don’t email. I don’t call. I give it to you the old fashioned way, in writing -- Auf Wiedersehen, Muse.”


Photograph Captions and Credits: 1. Tyrolean couple (stock)