By Andrew Laws
As I stare down the perfectly straight road towards the grey blue collapse of the horizon I find myself replaying a familiar inner monologue to reassure myself I am doing the right thing. We all have these inner voices, of reassurance or doubt. Nobody can living through the same topics of self cancelling self doubt and reassurance that come to me on these endless car journeys. But then we all like to feel unique.
It’s the very nature of long distance driving in America that draws me back to this land, as if I were connected by a cerebral elastic band. While most people dread the long hours of solitude on these featureless roads I savour them, they are the serene ying to the maddening yang of my life back in England. Here I am anonymous, another corpse in waiting, hurtling through the countryside in a mass produced godless tin can. Nobody here will judge me based on my family name, a name that brings so much prejudice and unwanted attention at home. In fact the very word home has become a shallow lingual token to me. My family’s money affords me the cash to own several homes, but I haven’t had a fixed address for many years now, I saw each place I lived as nothing more than a brick box in which to accumulate material objects I had no love or need for. But what is a curse for me in England fuels and funds my time spent wallowing in anonymity elsewhere in the world. My inner monologue assures me that I’m doing the right thing, I didn’t choose my name, it was thrust upon me and I refuse to allow any external public pressures to guide my path through life, and so here I find myself.
Born to what I hesitate to call ‘lower classes’ my path would have been brutally clear; school, study, work, die. Being born of old money creates a challenge that most people lusting after wealth are utterly oblivious to. If you have no money then you need to work to buy food and pay the bills, your job becomes you and your path is clear. If you have no need to work for money then what defines you? After a shallow and destructive younger life I decided to make my own private mark on the world in a way that few are afforded the luxury to do so. I follow rumours, heresy, urban myths and dare I say it, ‘hype’. However I am not some crusader for truth (and certainly not for justice), I desire no fame from my life, I have no need for the money and searching for the reality behind rumour for my own purposes affords me what I consider to be the most perfect way of life. I have no deadlines, no responsibility to an employer or agency. I certainly have no loyalty or responsibility to my family, all now long dead, leaving as a hereditary curse this damned name.
I have been in America for nearly four months on this trip, idly cruising from state to state, staying in (what I must admit) are rather nice hotels. I sit in crowded bars, I sit on the periphery of large groups of people in parks, next to intimate tables in restaurants and I listen. I listen for feint whispers of maybes, the hushed tones of rumour and conjecture. Armed with the slightest of truths I set off to track down the possibility of truth behind wild rumour. Often truth is unyielding in it’s pursuit of obscurity, which is probably why I feel such a kinship with it. I am alone, my pursuits unrecorded, my presence unremarkable, my very being inconsequential. I am at peace.