The first couple hours were a hellish slog through blinding rain. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open and the nose of the car pointed south; every time I passed a semi my windshield was pummeled by a curtain of water and for a few long seconds I was sure I was going to die.
But I didn’t, and just as “Cry Baby Cry” started for the second time, I came out of the rain. It was the first moment of real peace I’d had in ages. Before long the sky was completely clear, and some last reserve of energy that I didn’t know I had kicked in. The rest of the drive was effortless, and I found my way without even having to think about it, although I couldn’t have explained how to get to Lee’s place if my life depended on it.
Later, a crescent moon climbed over the horizon to my left as I listened to “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” I’d always been dubious about that song—”I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping,” is that really the best rhyme you could come up with, George? But at that moment, I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I decided I could forgive Eric Clapton all his many sins for these few minutes of transcendence.
Driving through the desert with “Helter Skelter” blasting, I remembered that the Manson Family had once lived not far from here. I’ve always thought it was one of life’s great ironies that a Paul song became the theme song for Charlie and company’s murderous rampage. Must have made John furious.
I was heading into the home stretch, doing my best to sing along with “Long Long Long,” when the fuel light went on. I wasn’t worried, though; I felt totally confident that I would get where I was going.
The light went off for a while, then came back on again, and was glowing bright orange as I pulled into the gas station. I was reaching to turn off the engine when it sputtered and died of its own accord, just as the last notes of “Good Night” were fading out. And then I fell asleep.