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Old 03-28-2006, 06:11 AM
Siddhartha's Avatar
Siddhartha Siddhartha is offline
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Default Chapter 1, O Sad Arthur, you are some punkins!

(A work in progress)

The Origin of Sad Arthur


I asked my wife if I could get another motorcycle when I retired and she said yes. Then she said I'd also have to get another place to live, because she was sick and tired of picking my broken butt up off the side of the road.

So I looked around for the closest thing to my bike (before I wrecked it) but with 4 wheels. I narrowed it down to a Boxster, an Elise and a MINI Cooper. The first on ramp I took in the Boxster, I got on it a little and the damn thing started around on me. At 35 mph! Fahhh! Too little. The Elise requires putting on like a racing suit. It's stable and fast but really rough inside with no niceties in the cockpit. Its reworked Celica motor comes up on the cam at 6500 arpies and the redlight warning starts flashing at 7000. It takes a set of earplugs and a very sensitive foot to keep it on a rolling boil. And then I could hardly get out of the damn thing! Too much. The first onramp I took in the MINI, it just whispered "Let's go!" and so I put the boot in and we went, supercharger screaming all the way to 7K. Then I backed off, turned on the ac, some toonz, settled into the nice sport seats and we motored in style and comfort. Just right.

The only problem was getting one. Every dealer but two in California wanted a $3-5K premium. The two had a waiting list of more than a year. Screw it. I found Bill Jacobs MINI in Naperville, IL, ordered a Works MCS, and 8 weeks later was flying in to Midway where my MA picked me up, did the paperwork and got us on the road in a couple of hours.

This is Sad Arthur I in Iowa on the way home to Berkeley.

Click the image to open in full size.


All of us Lit majors are convinced that everything contains multiple layers of meaning and that every meaning points in a different direction to new meanings so that in the end, everything is everything, and it is all one thing. So to fully grasp the significance of my screen name and car's name, I'm assigning you who have not already done so to read Hermann Hesse's short novel Siddhartha. Seriously. It is an illuminating tale of a journey, not unlike the one we are all on. Sure, you can use Cliff, because you'll only need the storyline and the cast of characters in order to appreciate phase two - the story of Sad Arthur. But the book is short and an easy read. Just think of the props you'll get for actually reading a classic.

OK. OK. I can hear the groans from here. So here's a synopsis with a little interpretation thrown in for free.

Cast:
Siddhartha
Govinda - his friend
Gautama - The Buddha
Kamala - his sweetie.

Story & interpretation:
Buddhist texts tell us that Siddhartha Gautama was born to King Suddhodana and his wife, Maya in 563 BC in the valley of the Ganges River. He later became the Buddha or The Enlightened One and developed the Four Noble Truths that are the foundation of Buddhism.

Hesse tells us that his character, Siddhartha, along with his companion, Govinda, met the Buddah in the sacred grove and joined his band of devotees. When this Siddhartha had reflected on the Buddah's teachings, he decided that this was not his way and left. Govinda remained with the Buddah as a devotee. Hesse's protagonist experiences many things and finally finds his peace, joy, fulfillment, knowledge, nirvana, enlightenment, samadhi, whatever you like to call it, on the banks of a river. I think Hesse is telling his readers that each of us must find our own path to enlightenment, that we can never become our teachers, that teachers cannot teach enlightenment, but only indicate the path to it and illustrate enlightenment by their own being. More recently, Krishnamurti said much the same in his teachings.

I think a quick reading of Hesse's Siddhartha could lead one to the conclusion that he is talking about Gautama, the Buddah. But I think further study reveals that Hesse believes that we are each of us Siddhartha and we all must find our own way to the river bank.

Sad Arthur I in the heartland

Click the image to open in full size.

A Love Poem
My MINI is ever so cute
Its performance one cannot refute.
Is that a rattle I hear
Coming from the rear?
It must be the clowns in the boot!

People keep asking me the significance of Sad Arthur's name, wanting to know if it's a play on my screen name, "Siddhartha". Well, yes, of course, but it's more than that. Hermann Hesse wrote a short novel called "Siddhartha" about an Indian prince, a Brahmin's son, who sought Knowledge on his own terms, trying and rejecting various disciplines including the teachings of Gautama, the Buddha, before finding it at last on the bank of a river. Roger Angell wrote a parody of this novel in the New Yorker back in the 70's and it's from this parody that Sad Arthur takes his name.

SAD ARTHUR

(Go Hesse, Young Man)

by Roger Angell
for The New Yorker

One morning, Sad Arthur, the banker’s son, rose and garbed himself. Softly and lovingly the bedroom mazdas bathed him as, supple-limbed, he drew on the new costume of his decision. Over his baggy BVD gaiters Sad Arthur put on his resplendent Belstaff Riding Suit with its storm-proof pockets, storm-cuff sleeves, heavy-duty zipper, snap-down pockets and buckled mandarin-style collar. Sad Arthur bent and stepped into his Beau Geste Rough Rider boots with full-zippered backs, adjustable heel and instep straps, and imbedded front-and-back steel friction plates. Sad Arthur pulled on his Leathertogs genuine-leather jacket with transverse zipper and heavy-duty wrist snaps, and strapped on his stud wristbands and seven-inch stud belt. Delicately Sad Arthur balanced his mirrored Oakleys above his lofty brow and then picked up his flocked fuchsia Fury Helmet. Sad Arthur’s mirror, which loved him unquenchably, watched in sad surprise as Sad Arthur left the bedroom forever. Then the mirror fell into a reflective mood, wondering once again how it had ever lost Altman’s.
Sad Arthur entered the veranda and stood behind the chair where his father, the banker, was catching a few Z’s. The good banker, who that week had taken a bath in Leasco, was having a troubled dream about unholy ablutions. In time, he awoke, aware of the presence of leather. “Is that you, Sad Arthur?” he said.
Sad Arthur remained silent, his arms folded. Long ago, he had learned the lesson of the closed yap, the magic of the monosyllable. In the sullen downward-hanging head, the lidded eye, the unheeding ear, there lay invulnerable peace. There was strange power in this youthful demeanor that willed nothing. Faced with it, the others—the teachers and talkers—became irritated, then flustered, then enraged, then placating, then suppliant. Like a flock of bees, they gave up their golden treasure to him who merely seemed to doze by the hive. So Sad Arthur stood unmoving. Sunbeams meditated in the unshorn locks on his neck.
“What is it, already?” the banker demanded. “Come around here where I can see you.” He sighed. “No—on second thought, don’t.”
“You know what is in my mind,” Sad Arthur said at last. “I would leave home and like join the Holy Terrors. Like.”
“I don’t get it,” confessed the good banker. “My son, the biker.”
“With the Holy Terrors I will make Vegas,” Sad Arthur said. “I wish to attain Nevada.”
The banker fell silent. In his secret heart, he too had seen himself joyful at Vegas, strolling The Sands. Several hours passed in silence, like skipped pages in a meaty volume. In time, the banker gave a start, opened his eyes, yawned, and rose from his chair. “Let me know if you attain Nevada,” he said to his son. “Call us collect.” He could deny nothing to this young man. Like the mazdas and the mirror and the sunbeams, like everything and everybody he loved Sad Arthur, though it was hard to know why.
Sad Arthur left his home. Near the garage, his faithful companion, Irving, was waiting with the bikes.
“You have come,” Irving said.
“I have come,” said Sad Arthur, smiling.
“He was freaked out,” Irving said.
“He was freaked out,” said Sad Arthur.
“We can split,” Irving said.
“We can split,” said Sad Arthur.
They split.

Wandering westward, Sad Arthur and Irving found the Holy Terrors in a blighted grove near Leonia, NJ. They recognized the leader of the band, the fabled Guttheimer, and drew near. This good buddy was known for his teachings and his freaky vibe. His arms and torso were encrusted with many a graffitic virtu and many a mottoed malediction, now all faded by wind and dust, that depicted the pain and suffering of the pilgrim’s way. The Illustrated One, at ease astride his Harley Fat Boy, listened to Sad Arthur’s and Irving’s joyful plea to get their heads together as novitiates in the Holy Terrors, heard their deep desire to attain Nevada. He subjected them to certain rites and then, well pleased, grunted the wished-for grant. Sad Arthur and Irving were Holy Terrors at last!
Happy among brothers, boot to boot with these heavy footed disciples and their Old Ladies, Sad Arthur wandered westward (and sometimes eastward and ditchward) on the ancient paths of Jersey. Together, the Holy Terrors bombed Bogota, deafened Dumont, horrified Hoboken, outraged Oradell, paralyzed Palisades Park, piqued Parsippany, ravaged Rahway, and were busted in Boonton. Here, within a rustic slammer, Sad Arthur drew near Guttheimer and spoke what was in his mind.
Sad Arthur said: “Hear me, O Illustrated One, for I am, you know, like troubled. I have heard your teachings and learned much. You show the world unbroken like the drive belt on your Harley. From you I have learned the Eightfold Path to pump up a new MINI to a sassy quarter in the twelves with a Works kit, cold air induction, stainless steel free flow exhaust, sticky rubber and a tweaked ECM. From you I have learned the Fivefold Path to slam a lame import with cut springs, hydraulics, Ben Hur rims, Nitrous, an aero body kit and a take no prisoners paintjob. From you I have learned the Fourteenfold Path to cowboy-roll a joint while drafting a downhill Greyhound at 80 per. All this have I learned, O Good Buddy, yet what do I see? I see this band still mucking about here in North Jersey, no nearer Vegas than the day I fell in. So what are teachings, what is knowledge, what are dead eardrums and dropped kidneys if they do not take me to Nevada? Are you not, then, the same as my father the good banker, a mere workahubby?”
The Illustrated One’s eyes were lowered, his furred mouth set in an unfathomable half smile of understanding. He was stoned. “You are some punkins, O Sad Arthur,” he said. “You are a real smart-ass. I would enlighten you with still another lesson, the Onefold Path to a bust in the mouth, only right now I gotta crash.”
The next morning, Sad Arthur took his leave of the pokey. He bade farewell to the Holy Terrors. He bade farewell to the faithful Irving, who was crying. Alone he wandered westward on his Hardtail. He saw many things. He saw a small boy at a Carvel stand who had dripped chocolate ripple all over his mother’s handbag. He saw a man in Banana Republic shorts who had just been bilked by a used-lawnmower salesman. He saw a young opossum that had just been mashed by a teenager in a magenta Corvette. He saw a drunken housewife weeping in front of her Sony home theatre. He saw an elderly pastor playing miniature golf in a bad hairpiece. He saw a Fruehauf 16 wheeler lying on its side, its cargo of disposable diapers scattered across the highway. The world was beautiful when seen this way—alone and without questions or meaning. It was beautiful to go through the world like this in childlike wonder. The Illustrated One was right, Sad Arthur thought. Sad Arthur, you are some punkins.

In a sun-dappled Laundromat in Nutley, NJ, but a short distance from the ruins of the Nutley Velodrome, Sad Arthur encountered the fair Lambie, whose lips were like unto a melting Tootsie Roll. At one sight of her, he plugged in his Fender Stratocaster and, without thought or further ado, sang this song:

“For love of the fair Lambie,
The pilgrim Sad Arthur,
Sad Arthur the erstwhile Terror,
The fabled rubber-layer,
Would forget Nevada
And stay
Here in Nutley, Enn Jayyy!”

“O Sad Arthur, how cool!” cried the entranced Lambie.
“Yes,” said Sad Arthur without unbecoming modesty. “Please note the rhyme.”
“O Sad Arthur, c’mere.” She drew him to her, placing one heel on his instep and one hand on his ear in the position of love known as “Opening the Lawn Chair.” Then she kissed him with her lips that were like unto a melting Tootsie Roll.
Thus it was that Sad Arthur put away his boots and helmet, put away Nevada, put away his dreams and his Harley Hardtail to stay in Nutley and hang with the fair Lambie. He cut his hair and went to work for Lambie’s father, a merchant, the owner of the Nutley Kwik Kleen Dry Cleaners. He went among the people and took on the people’s ways. With Lambie he bought six-packs of Bud and an electric backyard rotisserie grill. He wore His-‘n’-Her flowered at-home jammies, he joined the Thursday Evening Young Couples League at the Nutley Bowlmor Lanes. Lambie’s father was pleased with him and said, “You have learned much from me, Sad Arthur.”
“No,” said Sad Arthur. “All that I have learned I have taught myself. I have learned to deliver a suit on Friday that was promised for Wednesday. I have learned to deliver size forty-two pants to the size thirty-four next door. I have learned to mislay ladies’ dress belts, to anneal zippers, and to loosen buttons so that they will pop off upon being buttoned. I have learned to starch alpaca sweaters and imprint indelible rust stains on evening dress shirts. Most of all, I have learned the imperious Brahmin’s manner that elicits abject thanks and excessive tips. Thus do I add injury and interest to the lives of these sad schnooks. It is you, rather, who have learned from me.”
Lambie’s father looked on Sad Arthur with admiration and surprise.
“The mouth, O Sad Arthur,” he said.
“That mouth will get busted wide open one of these days.”
Sad Arthur saw that it was time for him to resume his questing. The merchant’s message, so like the parting words of Guttheimer, told him that he had come full circle. He had learned the peoples’ ways, their business and their pleasures, and now his soul was sickened, as the soul of one who has played thrice at tictactoe. He went to the fair Lambie and imparted unto her what he had decided.
“O no, Sad Arthur!” cried the fair Lambie. She placed her elbow in his abdomen and her knee against his back, in the position that is known as “Putting Away the Ironing Board”, but he pushed her rudely aside.
“Tough darts, Lambie,” said Sad Arthur. “It’s Nevada for me. ‘Bye now.”
Why did her lips, curved in sorrow, remind him of a Cat’s Paw heel?

Sad Arthur turned westward once more. On foot now, he wandered with thumb lifted, riding with any who heeded his disdainful summons. Riding silent in a high cab beside some trusting trucker, Sad Arthur smiled and commended himself for having put aside still more knowledge, more habits, more mere humans. Within his stomach he felt the tiny gerbil of his Self stirring once again, heard it remount its squeaky little wheel.
Closer to Vegas at last, Sad Arthur alighted on the north bank of the great Pennsylvania Pike, and there took employment as night pumper in a modest Amoco station. Wearing the plain blue coveralls and friendly smile of his humble calling, he dispensed the golden fluid, wiped clean the insect-speckled windshield, kept track of the ladies room key with its giant tag. At night, between customers, he tilted back in his chair and listened to the highway. He knew he should resume his journey, should seek Nevada, yet it seemed to him that this highway had something to tell him. He felt a deep love for these broad humming lanes with their upping and downing, their easting and westing, their freight of fumes and destinations, and he sat and stayed and listened.
Years passed, and so it was at last that an ochre Cadillac stopped at Sad Arthur’s modest Amoco station and yielded up a bald old gent with low back pains and a large cigar. Sad Arthur looked on him and smiled.
“Sad Arthur!” cried the old gent. “Is that you? Are you here, only here? And all this time I imagined you at Nevada!”
“Yes,” said Sad Arthur. “It is I, my old friend. Only I.”
“What a gas!” cried the faithful Irving (for it was he), and then he laughed at his own foolish wit. ”So neither of us made it to Vegas, eh? What a pair of losers!”
“Listen, my friend,” said Sad Arthur, and he took Irving by the arm and led him closer to the highway’s edge. “Listen to me, for I have learned the secret. The highway has taught me all. At one end of this highway, back beyond its beginning, is my father, the good banker. There too are the Illustrated One, the fair Lambie, the overturned diaper truck, my rusted old Harley, and the lost size forty-two pants. At the other, beyond its ending and yet a part of it as well, lies Nevada. At the same time, right now, they are all part of this highway, all one. This highway is everywhere at the same moment—the toll-taker and the toll-payer, the patient concrete and the headlong tire, the descendant swallow-dropping and the approaching open convertible, the totaled Pontiac and the greedy wrecker, the full box of Goobers on the dashboard and the emptied box of Goobers in the weeds by the roadside. This highway is the beginning and the ending, the cool and the uncool, learning and forgetting, the book revered and the book flung halfway across the room. There is no truth, no knowing, no wisdom, no Nevada, no nothing except, uh—well, simultanuity, like. So relax.”
“Gosh, Sad Arthur,” said Irving, “I never thought of it that way.” He looked at his watch.
“Well, Artie,” he said hastily, “this has been real. Any time you’re near Hasbrouck Heights—“
But again Sad Arthur drew him closer to the highway’s edge. “Listen, faithful Irving,” Sad Arthur said. “Listen to the highway. What does it say to you?”
“Well,” said Irving after a while, “it sort of says ‘Zoom!’”
“Yes,” said Sad Arthur. He lifted his head in wonder. “Zoom!” he repeated. “Zoom-zoom!”


Sad Arthur I at Chimney Rock, like so many other pilgrims.



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Adventures on the road



Sad Arthur wants to try the flats.

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If you were lazy, you could stay here. The wind is blowing. It always blows in Wyoming.

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From my journal
10/25/03
Sleep has become impossible so I rise at 5 am. It takes about an hour to pack my gear and check out. By 6:15 I’m on I-88 headed west, bound only by my MA's final admonition to take it easy. This break in period (or run in, as our Brit friends have it) could become tedious . . . if it weren’t so darned much fun. I’m supposed to keep it below 4500 rpm and under 95 miles an hour for the first 1250 miles. After that, “spin ‘er up”, he said. I choose that to mean that I keep it between 3000 and 4500 rpm in all the gears except 6th because at 4000 rpm there, we’re making 155 klicks per, close enough to 95 as to make no difference. So here we are, blasting through the heartland, me playing the loud pedal like some student of the organ trying to keep up with Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, while the supercharger and exhaust sing a soprano/tenor duet in perfect harmony. I’ve turned off the HK sound (which is very nice), to hear them better. Sad Arthur is more like one of my bikes than one of my cars. He pulls like a train in every gear and sings while he does it. He wants to run. He wants to get into the power band and just haul ass, but I restrain him like Red Pollard to Seabiscuit, “Easy boy, take it easy boy, not yet, not yet.” Finally we ease into the Flanagan front yard in Bentley, outside Council Bluffs, Iowa, our first overnight stop. Gracie starts barking and the door flies open emitting five or six motorheads who swarm around Sad Arthur like he was some rock star. There is much ooing and ahing, much sitting in and looking under of hood. Rennie even grabs a rag and starts cleaning the brake dust off the wheels as the old man and I discuss the merits of various car finish protectants and the specifications of synthetic lubricants. I bed Sad Arthur down beneath his cover, thereby eliminating his possible molestation by the various felines who hang about the property, and soon after supper, hit the sack myself.


What'll she do??

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Big as a bale o' hay

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Sad Arthur checks out our lodging for the night

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Almost home, Sad Arthur fuels up. He prefers gas stations that match his ensemble
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Are you my father?

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The day after we get back, we're at Sears Point for the High Performance Driving Class

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To be continued . . .
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Last edited by Siddhartha; 04-01-2006 at 07:08 AM..
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  #2  
Old 03-28-2006, 07:41 AM
melissa melissa is offline
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oooooo.... i cant wait for the next chapter!!
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:30 PM
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punkins???
haha
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:53 PM
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good stuff
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Old 03-28-2006, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky13
punkins???
haha
That's one of my cat's names... Punkin... O_o
-G
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Old 03-28-2006, 06:13 PM
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i might have to pick that one up =)
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Old 03-31-2006, 03:21 AM
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Have to bump this.

I can't really respond as the story is unfolding.
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Old 03-31-2006, 05:04 PM
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hahahahaha
it all makes sense now...
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Old 03-31-2006, 05:27 PM
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oo ooo Whats next?
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Old 03-31-2006, 05:45 PM
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most important nut in the car is the one behind the wheel!
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:44 PM
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great pics !

thanks for the content!
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seriousrrry
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:55 PM
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** nudge **
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:57 PM
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you seem awesome
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:59 PM
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like totally! the best is yet to come. we haven't even gotten to the m|u bitches yet. stay tuned.
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:31 PM
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bitches???
esplain yourself
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