10 Jan 2012

Ill-Fated Journeys (Part 3)

When you get caught in crossed-wire situations and control - otherwise described as the grasp one has over their life and destiny to an extent - escapes you like a spagghetti down the plughole, things start playing on your mind. Things you wouldn't normally give a second thought to, as the mind has the power to cloud your judgement and make you start believing in the unbelievable. In my case, not only did I rightfully feel totally powerless, I also started to believe my mate and his posse had conspired to ditch me for whatever reason so they could enjoy the party - and not my company (of course!). Miaoww, get those claws out pussycat!

Edward Hopper, 'Nighthawks' (1942), via The Artchive

So then, in the face of adversity what was I supposed to do? Brave the deserted streets in search of the bars, ask around, wait around, stomp around, ring back my mate and leave pointless voicemails? Or lock myself in the car and keep schtum until I get a sign about the party coming magically from somewhere anywhere? Have a sob, wish the night away and take forty winks while I was at it? What would you have done?

There were no two ways about it as far as I was concerned and I had to make a decision pronto as I had no intention to spend a solitary night in Corte. I wasn't going to track the bars and traipse down them lonely streets in search of a birthday party whose very existence I was seriously questioning by then... I wasn't going to play a game of bravery, stretch my patience any further or wait for a miracle. I regained control, took destiny into my own hands, only after I had weighed the pros and the cons and sighed some more and shaken my head some more. In the rear view mirror I checked some sinister shadow gliding past me and that sealed the deal for me.

Ikko Narahara, 'Engraved Arrow, Arizona' (1972), via Galerie Priska Pasquer

I fastened back my seatbelt, turned on the car key, manoeuvred off my parking space and drove off into the cold Corte night. A few hundred yards down the road I spotted a petrol station with a caff, all lit up, with a bit of life coming from within, and half a dozen 4x4s parked outside. I stepped in, asked for a coffee and one of those packaged madeleine cakes, while I was being inquisitively eyed up and down by half a dozen country folks in hunting gear drinking beer and playing cards.

Something made me think about Edward Hopper's atmospheric 'Nighthawk' painting and I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I necked down the gritty inky coffee, stepped back outside, braved the night and embarked upon my two-hour journey home across the mountains, down the sprawling plains and up the more familiar coastline. In the middle of the night my phone bipped and this somehow woke me up but I felt neither the need nor the temptation to check the message.

By then it didn't matter to me anymore what the reason might have been - if a reason there indeed was. Some journeys are simply meant to be a driven introspection that puts you in touch with your higher self.

19-May-2016 Update: Let your exploration of Edward Hopper's creations be the start to a fabulous journey into the world of Fine Art, thanks to Artsy, the leading online resource in art collection and education. Artsy showcases a comprehensive compilation of Edward Hopper's art, including his biography, selection of his works, exclusive articles and up-to-date exhibition listings, in a visually-enticing form. Enjoy the journey!


  1. Corte looks so beautiful. I think I would have been tempted to stay. Your friend owes you dinner, a nice one.

  2. Thanks for your kind comment. Corte is indeed a lovely market town, and the dinner is a fair suggestion!