Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sensing Too Well When the Journey is Done

Here's the update I promised you last week. I can't believe I forgot to tell you all this, but they found the creepy professor. He was dead in Hickory Hill park. I'm sorry for his family, I guess he had a 4 month old baby and a wife in her thirties. I hope he planned well enough so that they're taken care of.

Well, it looks like all of that alone time has paid off. I think I'm finally able to process the trip and the lack of money and the ensuing car problems a little better than last week or the week before. What that means for you poor people, is that I'm going to get all annoyingly reflective in this post and write what it's like to be in my brain when I'm driving. Make sure you tie a rope to something heavy on the outside. Believe me, the last place you want to get stuck is in my head.

When the Robert Plant version of "Big Log" came on your playlist you were driving through Wyoming. You thought that it was exactly what you wanted to hear right then. It was haunting and sad and lonely and all the things you felt when your daughters were asleep and the sun was setting and you still had hours of highway ahead of you. That was it. That fantasy you always kept with you when you were little. The one where you imagined yourself as an adult and you would have five kids and a big old station wagon and you would drive from place to place and see all there was to see in the world. But when you were a kid, you didn't know about the other stuff. You didn't know that you would be responsible. You would have to make sure all those kids were fed and that your car kept working and that you didn't get lost or hurt or robbed.

When Elvis Costello's "Accidents Will Happen" came on, you remembered a time when you were eighteen. You and your middle sister, and brother drove down to Arizona in your brother's '75 Caprice Classic to visit your oldest sister during Winter break. In Texas you were able to pick up the Doctor Demento Show on your radio, but by New Mexico, you couldn't get any decent stations, so you popped in the Costello tape. Your brother was driving and he calmly told you that while you were in the mountains, he had that urge just to let go and drive over a cliff. It wasn't real. He wouldn't have actually done it, but for a split second it was there. It would have been so easy, and you looked at your brother a little differently then. You had no idea he entertained those thoughts every once in a while too - for a split second.

Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" brought you back to a Greyhound ride when you were nineteen, going from Santa Rosa to Phoenix where you were eating too many of those fake white cross pills that you thought made you so much more aware. You had your Walkman headphones permanently attached to your ears, which you thought was the universal sign that you didn't want to talk. They didn't stop the poor, pregnant Mormon girl. She wouldn't quit telling you all the things you didn't want to know - like how her boyfriend got her pregnant and because they weren't married, she was ex-communicated from the church. Her boyfriend, who wasn't Mormon was able to join the church because she said, the pregnancy was her fault. What? The pills made you annoyed in general, but hearing all that unfair bullshit almost put you over the edge. You felt bad, but you purposely lost her when the bus stopped in a town somewhere outside of L.A. and you made sure you were the last one back on, so you didn't have to sit by her anymore and hear all of her sad, silly stories.

You were dangerously close to Nebraska when Nada Surf's, "Always Love" came on and it was so hopeful, that you almost let yourself feel that way too. Almost. The lack of finances, the strange burning smell coming from your engine and your boy quandaries kept you from being completely stupidly optimistic. Since it was more interesting to think about boys than your dwindling funds and you needed to stay awake, you wondered about them. Well, one especially, and mostly you questioned why you were still wondering about him. You thought that the last time you talked to him, you forgot to ask him the right question. You asked him why he kept flaking out on you, but after he said he was like that with everyone, even his friends; you forgot to ask him why he pretended that he would call or show up then. Why didn't he just say, all he was capable of was calling and texting from time to time? Did he want to be the kind of person who actually followed through, so he promised things he couldn't really deliver?

Then you stopped right there, because you realized something. The next roadtrip you took, you might hear Nada Surf, and remember being in a quandary about that boy. If it was years from now, you would most definitely still remember his name, but would you be able to recall what all the fuss was about - even for a split second?

20 comments:

-RM said...

I wouldn't mind taking a vacation from my head and going to yours. At least you have a great soundtrack to listen to. = )

Remiman said...

Churlita,
I love how music enables us to relive past lives.
Now combine tones with aromas and poof like magic your back there totally.
Long drives on desolate highways can unseat old memories, or put you to sleep.
rel

evilesb138 said...

The road trip called life is long. The soundtrack is there for the ride through good times and bad.

Great post, thanks for the peek inside your head.

Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

Sometimes songs from the past really makes remember things from when were younger.. I have done the same when a song comces on.. My brain goes into some kind of twilight zone.I do like the music in your head..

dmarks said...

"Big Log" has a Wyoming sound to it, really.

Minyo said...

Cool nostalgic post. It's cool how certain songs trigger certain memories and thoughts.

Is there more to the story about the hot, smelly engine?

Tara said...

Where was that one photo taken of the tunnel through the mountain? Was that Arizona?

Poptart said...

Your memory never seases to amaze me, even though I know what it's capable of. What a beautiful post - and I love the pictures!

I sometimes have the same thought about being a grown up - why didn't anyone tell us that 90% of adult life is worrying about money and love?

matt said...

uhmmm - fake white cross, baggies full of them...

I had some real ones once. They're much better.

Susan said...

This is a great post. Music is associated with everything in my life, which is obvious from 3/4s of my blog entry titles being whatever song is in my head. To this day if the song "What Might Have Been" comes on I think of one night four years ago, sitting in a car and sobbing. I think you might remember what the fuss was about down the road. Like the song says...the song remembers when.

Churlita said...

RM,

Yeah, but unfortunately, that was coming from my iPod. The soundtrack in my head is filled with commercial jingles from the 70's.

Rel,

Oh yeah. I'm crazy about smell nostalgia, if you added music to it, I'd probably actually be transported back in time.

Evil-E,

Did you recover from the peek inside my head, or do I have to give you a little money for therapy?

Mrs.,

My brain is definitely in The Twilight Zone most of the time.

DMArks,

I think so too. It's that strange and stark landscape and the endless highway.

Minyo.

I'm afraid that right now the hot smelly engine story is never ending, until I can scrape up enough money to get it checked out.

Tara,

That was in Wyoming too. My daughter said she had never seen a tunnel like that except in the video game we play called Burnout.

Poptart.

Maybe they did tell, us but we didn't believe them or we were too busy rolling our eyes to really listen.

matt,

I'm sure you're right. I can't imagine doing either kind right now, though. Caffeine's going to have to suffice. Lots and lots of caffeine.

Susan,

I know. I'm just wishing I'd get over the fuss one of these days very soon here.

booda baby said...

I don't know. I kind of liked swimming around in there. It felt very familiar and was pretty, too. It could have used a little more snack food, that's true, but I wasn't in any rush to come up for air.

MrManuel said...

It's funny how songs bring back memories like that. That was fun to read. That pciture going through the tunnel is fun.

stepping over the junk said...

I need a road trip. I stay home too much

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

I used to have to go on long road trips by myself for work - if you've got the right music it's amazing where it can take you. What a fantastic post Churlita - I loved it.

Chance said...

Very vivid thought stream; I love it.

As a young person, you also don't ever consider that the one you marry or have kids with will leave one day.

aliencg said...

It's amazing how music allow memories to flow back into our minds. This was a very interesting and insightful post. Thank you for sharing.

Churlita said...

Booda Baby,

Thanks. You are very kind. Some days in there are better than others, that's for sure.

MrManuel,

I think that's why I'm so obsessed with music. It's what it brings up for me.

Stepping,

I love roadtrips. I just wish I could afford to take more and better ones.

Lady,

Thanks. I'm trying to write a little more thoughtful posts here and there. It's just easier to talk shit, so that's usually what I end up serving up on here.

Chance,

Exactly. I don't think I ever imagined that I would still be single at this age.

AlienCG,

Music is really powerful that way, isn't it?

evilesb138 said...

no money needed, this one's on the house....I am used to it. People like to vent to me.

NoRegrets said...

I read this yesterday and loved it and wasn't sure what to comment. Still not sure, but I'm glad that last question to yourself came into your head. Music triggers so much.