Sunday, April 8, 2007

long commute

I drove from north-central Pennsylvania to Virginia the other day. Looked like about 3-1/2 to 4 hours. I was too jazzed initially to want the radio talking to me. I turned it on after maybe 30 minutes, having already left my rural radio stations behind. I had no expectations, and was disappointed even then.

I hit scan. I actually heard a clown horn. Scan. “… live remote with the Easter Bunny …” Scan. “So, you going to do that child molestation public-service announcement?” Sigh. Scan.

Fleetwood Mac, The Chain. That’s 30 years old! I saw those aged hippies on that tour in Philadelphia. Thought Mick Fleetwood was an obnoxious egomaniac, and I was on the 30- or 40-yard line! Why do they continue to play this stuff? It just isn’t that good. Scan.

Rod Stewart. Throat cancer with a mic. I wonder how many set musicians over the years have run from the studio vomiting as Rod the Mod coughed up yet another chunk of lung. Scan.

End of music. Male and female DJs discussing … discussing … wait for it … discussing American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Seems some girl, in real life, has gone on a hunger strike until some person gets voted out of Idol. Wow. A hunger strike? Get some balls, girl! Commit to not eating until your body fat drops to single digits. Loser. The “Dancing” discussion is whether Paul McCartney’s one-legged soon-to-be-ex-Mrs.-Paul will start dancing with, um, two legs and end with, um, one. Now I am the one vomiting. Scan.

Eagles. Peaceful Easy Feeling. 1977 again. WTF?!? Scan.

Fleetwood Mac? Again? Am I in some sort of time warp? My colon is starting to percolate. Scan.

Hank, Jr. “ … they get on me wanna know Hank / why do you drink? / (Hank) why do you roll smoke? / Why must you live out the songs that you wrote? / over and over everybody made my prediction / so if i get stoned / I'm just carryin' on an old family tradition.” I do remember that song. I always liked Hank, Jr. I listened to his dad like it was my religion when I was very young. Then Hank, Jr., sang a “Country Boy Can Survive.” That song gave me permission to be apart from others; a permission I still have not relinquished. Alas, it is still a country station. Scan.

The muthaf—king BEE GEES! How Deep is Your Love?!? Oh, the tasteless replies are flowing. I cannot fathom this music is still being played. Stand back – SCAN!

Peter Frampton Live! Why is everything I am hearing from my high-school years? At least this album was during a period of intense solitude for me. I remember countless hours in the woods with this album playing in my head. Yeah, I grew up when you had to have a really long extension cord to listen to an album in the woods. I decided to listen for a while.

I just passed the connection with Interstate 78 (oh yeah, I am traveling on I-81 South). Harrisburg is in front of me. The trucks from New Jersey have joined us now and the level of aggression is markedly increased. They change lanes like teenagers, with the added bonus of a trailer sashaying behind.

The sign reads, “Shiremantown.” Isn’t a “shire” a town? So, townman town. Everybody from here be from a town. Was that before they moved there? Is it like a rule? “Only experienced townspeople need apply”? Or is this some drugged-out hippie enclave? “Where you from?” “Town, man, town.” Hmm, got anymore of what you need smoking, Mr. Fleetwood? “Um, I don’t have any I can give you, but I can sell you some.”

US Route 15 South, 40 miles from Maryland. A pink baby stroller on the side of the road. Yahoo Dad probably strapped his fishing rods in real good. “Oh, baby girl, it’ll be fine. Dolly wanted to be carried around all the time anyway. Hey, Darlene Sue! Get the f—k over here and comfort this pisspot! Darlene! ‘N get me a couple, two, tree Buds on your way!”

I cross into Maryland, and see the first leaves, flowers, and those yellow bushes. Pretty. South the Mason-Dixon Line. What is that calmness that just washed over me? I can see her. She just flashed through my mind.

Hey, JMG 1140 (Virginia plate)! You got a really big head. Really. I thought you were in the back seat.

Some of my favorite lyrics: Davis Bowie, “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues / under the moonlight / the serious moonlight.”

The Edge, that odd-looking lead guitarist from U2, is auctioning a guitar for charity. Bad move. Who will get it? One of the beautiful people. And the money raised will be LESS than if he … if he … wait for it … if he invested a little organization and sold raffle tickets for $5 each. Do it through MTV or some such mindless outlet. Do you think 100,000 tickets is out of reach? Is some smuck gonna grease a half-million for a guitar? Raffles are the common man’s way to contribute to society.

Maryland plate: L8R GTR. Audi convertible. Blonde with a high-set ponytail in the passenger seat. Must be an “i” on the end of her name – Muffi, Brandi, Kimmi. Hey, Muff! Did you know that your dad blew his brains out in direct response to your announcement that you and Reginald were getting married? He created that Rube Goldberg machine in the garage, set it to be noise-activated, then strapped himself in. When Reggi (!!) open the garage door, and said, “Dad, Mr. Muffi’s Dad, I mean, is that a rubber ball in your mouth? Why are you wearing those leather straps?” As Reg was processing the smell of vinegar used by Dad to tightened the straps, and tears began to flow over Reg’s quivering upper lip, he failed to notice the series of marbles rolling down the series of alleys and the boot that kicked the cage and freed the mouse who ate the cheese and tipped the water from one glass into another and changed the marbles from rolling away to accumulating to the cup that weighed more and pulled the string a little and weighed even more and pulled a little more until … until … wait for it … {BANG!}

And little bits of Mr. Muffi’s Dad went all over the back wall. Yes, Reginald, he was staring at you the entire time. Yes, it was a sense of relief you saw as the mouse ate enough cheese to set in motion the last cycle.

Now I am 20 or 30 minutes outside of WDC. A car with diplomatic plates passes me doing at least 90 MPH and crosses three lanes of traffic to exit. Tell me, my fake emergency-laden person, do you feel pretty or dirty?

Two miles from the Inner Beltway. “Cabin John” Parkway? Is that a tribute to a toilet?

End of recollection.

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