Wednesday, May 5, 2010
A Rainy Day In Idaho
It’s a rainy day in Idaho and I’m on the road again. Still looking for that real world out there in that big, vast somewhere. Disappearing down this lost highway, underneath that purple-gray bruise of a sky, I can breath. Smells like wet, and dirt, like one of the juicy sausages of a caterpillar unearthed from beneath Mom’s terra cotta pots. Country is on the radio again and it keeps interrupting my otherwise profound musing on the metaphysical being of life. It’s all pure America. It’s all heartbreak and hope, healing and moving. It’s never easy to say goodbye. I’m gonna drive to Atlanta, and live out this fantasy.
It’s nice to sleep again. Woke up early this morning around 4 AM. Thoughts of us kept keeping me awake. Not passed out drunk from too many bottles of Fat Bastard sleep. Not return to the crypt from taking four Tylenol PM’s sleep. Not I’ve cried so hard that snot dripped from places I didn’t know it could drip and now my body is cooked sleep (footnote: thanks for dealing with that one D). But good old-fashioned sleep. The kind you get when the rain is sliding down the windowpanes on a summer night as seductive as Miles Davis’ Blue Is Green. It’s what seeps into your body when you’ve finally put everything else to bed. But that’s ok, there’s nothing left to say. But you’ll think of me.
Clayton, Idaho. Population 26. I note the irony of the name. My family’s name is Clayton. Sweet somewhere far away someone’s name is Clayton. But we can be assured we’ll meet again by and by. If not here then somewhere up above. The place is lump-in-your-throat beautiful. It must be how parents feel looking at their babies, or how art connoisseurs feel looking at a Caravaggio. I am neither so I can only imagine. The Salmon curls up and wraps around my mind like the ribbons of smoke that used to twist and wind up from my old lover’s midnight cigarettes. It’s seductive and sort of frightening. Like any good lover should be. Most are neither.
I really like to know things. That’s deep I know. But bear with me. Not knowing what we could have been, what we should have been. However, it’s this desire to “know things” that provided the jet fuel for American expansion. It’s also our collective, national ADHD. Once we know one thing we want to know another because our attention has already deviated from the original thing that we discovered.
The lure of the open road lies in its promise of freedom and hope and new beginning and forgotten sorrows. The logic is as follows. If Point A is bad, and Point B is unlike Point A, then Point B must be better. This has drawn road warriors from the pioneers to Kerouac, Lewis and Clark to Thelma and Louise. The problem lies once again in the fact that human behavior is inherently illogical. Generally humans arrive at Point B only to realize it has it’s own set of problems and that they should either go on ahead to Point C, or cut their losses and head home to Point A. And so we as Americans move. As Stevenson said, the great affair is to move. That’s what we do as Americans. We pack our worldly belongings into the big, American-made land barge (or small Japanese vehicle in my case) and head out in search of meaning and answers, new beginnings and buried problems. The problem is we don’t find them. But then again, I guess that’s life. Take your records. Take your freedom. Take your space and take you freedom. But you’ll think of me.
And it’s a good thing we’ve got problems, and highways, and cars, and hope. Because if we didn’t we would never move. And if we didn’t move we wouldn’t have the America we know today. And maybe that would be good. But maybe, like the weird uncle everyone has, you have to love America warts and all. Because maybe that’s how life is.
It’s never easy lettin’ go of the ones we love.
Author’s Note: Cut me some slack. Thanks for listening to me wax poetic about life and the open road and it’s effects of the interpersonal relationships to individual problems that define the dichotomy of American life today. I’m a bottle of cheap red wine in and it seemed appropriate. Tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled programming.