Roger has been living in Bombay Beach for many years. I met him last week when I was walking past his trailer and his two small dogs started barking at me. He came out to see what all the fuss was about and before I knew it, he had told me half his life story. He seemed like a really friendly guy, so a couple of days later I went to see him again, and when I was complaining about not being able to buy fresh groceries in Bombay Beach, he offered to take me to a real supermarket in Indio, about a 50 minute drive north. I gladly took him up on the offer and so the next day I hopped in his pick-up truck and off we went. Roger is a bit lonely. He used to come to the area with his dad when he was a lot younger and remembers catching the most delicious tasting Corvino in the Salton Sea. He grew up in poverty, left school more or less illiterate and married young. His job as a truck driver brought in some good money and they lived very comfortably. But the marriage broke down, the kids didn't want anything to do with him, so he sold the house and ended up coming back to the area he knew from the visits from his dad and ended up settling in a trailer in Bombay Beach. When asked how he felt about living here, there was resignation in his sigh. The loneliness was the worst, he said, he did have a few friends, but there was very little to do around here, so boredom was hard to cope with. He would drive to the beach and sit in the same spot, pondering his fate. Or work in his yard, weeding and trying to get the trailer next door renovated to get it rented out. Depression seems to be holding him back from doing all the things he still wants to do, and that's such a shame for a guy who at 54 and single could enjoy life so much more. I've met up with him a few more times and been getting out my best pep-talk to get him going again. Yesterday he showed me his trailer, all brown and rustic inside, with a real fireplace, two en-suite bedrooms and a full kitchen. He takes good care of it, pride showing in his voice when he talks about how he keeps it clean and tidy. I discovered he also has a washing machine and dryer, so guess who is going to do some laundry today?
Here's a polaroid of Roger's trailer, as always on my favourite expired polaroid 669 film.