My grandfather is in the hospital right now. He just had a few quarts of fluid pumped out of his lungs. I've just discovered this after a 6 hour drive down the length of California. He went in for an angioplasty, last week. But his artery popped, and he was in critical condition for several days. Then he went home. I was coming home to Los Angeles to visit him, as he was making his recovery. But something happened, and he's in the hospital again.

My grandfather shares a lot of things with me. First of all, we have the same name. But more than that, we have that strange urge, the need to wander and know everything, that very few other people in my family do. He's really the only person who understands that in me. 4 years ago we spent a month wandering around the western US. We are very different, obviously.. he grew up in the Depression in South Dakoda, and i grew up 60 years later in LA. And just like me, i guess, he is always open to change. He was on the internet before I was. And i still am amazed by how he reacted when i brought my girlfriend out to the desert to meet him. My girlfriend is Asian, and so far as i know no one in my family has gone out with anyone who isn't white. Also, she has green hair. And she is a vegan, which is something someone who grew up in the depression couldnt possibly understand. So, i expected it to be weird. It already was weird, because we weren't actually going out yet, although we were in love. we had other stuff to deal with. Anyway, i climbed up on a rock across the road to think. While my girlfriend was still in camp, my grandfather started talking to her... and he immediately told her that he could tell we made a good team. Nothing weird, nothing pushy... I feel like shit for expecting anything else from him. He's a good guy.

He's a really good guy.. and I'm really worried about him. That's why i made it a point to come down to LA so fast. He's 79, and although our family is healthy, 79 is pretty old. I know that even after he's gone I'll be able to feel his presence, when the thunderstorms are rolling across the desert on a hot August night. And I hope wherever he ends up, he'll be free, the way I know he needs to be. And I hope my grandmother and him end their journey together, many years from now, because they have done everything together since they got married over 60 years ago. And lastly, I hope when I'm 80, i can say I've been as many places and improved as many lives as he has. If so, I'll be happy to release my spirit to the desert too.