For Simon , it's what you might call a parenthetical experience . Parentheses are like boomerangs , he thinks . They even look alike . They enter your life suddenly , cutting off your past from the present with one sharp , clean blow .
You're left drifting , alert but frozen with fear . Instead of taking action , you wait .
You wait for the boomerang to return and finish what it initiated so effortlessly .
In the end , you're waiting for a sign which you'll use to rationalize ...
Everything here seems exaggerated , immense , and the sun burns down and dries you up even when you're in the shade .
It's a land for fearless people , people who aren't frightened by geography and passion far beyond the human scale .
The first thing Simon did when he approached the southern edge of the Grand Canyon was vomit .
When he thinks of the Grand Canyon , Simon thinks of vertigo .
When he thinks of his failed marriage , too
Simon thinks to himself:
YOU'RE NOBODY IN THE US WITHOUT A CAR
LUCKILY YOU'RE ALL RIGHT FOR MONEY .
THAT'S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN , TO LOSE EVERYTHING AND NOT EVEN HAVE A PENNY TO YOUR NAME .
IT'S WRONG TO STEAL FROM YOUR JOB . YOU DON'T DO THAT , ASSHOLE .
But he did . His corporate card had already been canceled .
Simon stole from his company -- from his family . He said he'd be back and he didn't return .
He knows that eventually he'll go home .
He's not that brave , that crazy , that hippie .
He's not Gaspar .
His uncle Gaspar left to go to an agricultural convention in Portland , Oregon , and never returned .
Sign: BAGDAD CAFE
No one ever heard from him again . If you're going to disappear , you should disappear completely . Make people suffer ...
Simon is a coward because he is afraid of suffering , and he's even more afraid of causing others to suffer . Simon would not have been able to do what Natalia , his wife , did to him .
Or would he ?
He thinks that throughout his life he's always been a good guy . He is a good guy .
When he got cancer and they removed one of his testicles , he didn't have a breakdown . He kept it together .
He didn't even waste any money on a psychologist . His parents can't complain . All his brothers and sisters have caused them much more trouble than he has .
This is all a sort of parenthesis . A parenthesis that will cost him dearly . But in the end they'11 forgive him . Or so he hopes . He has a good reason : his wife left him .
She had a relationship with another man . She slept with another man .
With Luke Skywalker , his former best friend . Friend of the whole family .
The wind blows horizontally and moves slowly , like the Foreign Legion . In the distance the blacktop becomes quicksilver which looks utterly real . The wind carries no sound , only sand .
Simon has been driving in circles , from state to state and back ...
... Guided only by the names of the towns he visits ....
He stops at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley , the lowest point in America .
A small wooden plaque tells how many feet below sea level they are ....
Sign: Days Inn
Sigh: Route 6
Simon thinks the United States has permeated his subconscious .
In his travels throughout the west , Simon often feels like he's been here before
Simon studied cartography at a small university no one respects .
He still doesn't have his degree . He did sit the exam . He can't understand why he's in a completely different business .
Sign: SPEED 65 MPH
Or why he works for his father .
(Twentynine Palms ?singborey?)
Sign: WELLCOME TO THE CITY OF Twentynine Palms
Barber: A STANDARD CUT , SIR ?
Twentynine Palms is a military base .