When I was little, we had some leftover cake after a birthday celebration. My dad offered me the last slice and I said I didn’t want it. I went downstairs for a while, but then just a few tragic hours later I decided that I did in fact want that piece of cake. I came back upstairs and found out that it was gone. I was upset. How could this happen?
That’s sort of how I feel near the end of a trip home.
"Nobody sees what we see they’re just hopelessly gazing…
I’ll search through the crowd your face is all that I see I’ll give you everything”
For instance, oil trains are required to have an empty boxcar between the engines and the tankers. And there’s a key difference between a census designated place and a municipality involving governmental representation. And did you know that sugar beets were once a prime eastern Colorado export? And that Sugar City takes its name from that industry? Because I do.
But I do not know my father’s favorite song or what albums he listened to when he was my age. I’m not sure if he has a favorite color, or a place that brings him peace. And I will never know why he won’t, even today, even just for a second, consider moving away from here.
I don’t know these things because he doesn’t know these things, and I feel like as long as he is compelled to teach me random minutia, I will always be learning the wrong things.
I had visions of a windows down, Neil Young tinged, come-what-may trip from DC to Colorado, but my dad has been super anxious to get home, so we’ve more or less been blazing across the country.
The compromise was this: we stay on US Highway 50 for the duration of the trip. US 50 runs from Ocean City in Maryland to Sacramento, and actually the road ends up bordering my dad’s neighborhood in Colorado. So that’s what we’ve been doing.
It’s slow going in patches because 50 turns into the main through street for so many of the small towns we’ve hit in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas, but I think it’s better than straight up major interstate driving. You actually experience the landscape of each state; you wind through West Virginia’s tight mountain curves, rise and fall through Ohio’s green valleys, and then skirt the endless pastures of the midwest.
It hasn’t all been butterflies and sunshine. I’ve seen more animal carcasses in the past three days than I have in my entire life. After seeing so many you can kind of tell by the size of the dark stain on the pavement what the impact was like and how much suffering was involved. And it’s painful to see some towns collapsing inward and dying like shipwrecks. There’s a lot of stagnancy and isolation in the middle of the country that I never understood until I left.
But the best moments have been courtesy of the stack of CDs I forgot to move out of the car before we left. They’ve made something that has turned out to be fairly predictable feel a little bit more spontaneous. And out here, where you can actually see the sun set from the sky all the way down to the horizon, dusk is really something.
I’m in the homestretch from KC to Emporia, curving south-southwest. I bring the wheel around, this song comes on, I turn the volume up, straighten out with the sun in my face, remind myself that I’m here with someone I love, and click repeat.
"Now there’s something here before me, I figure, I think / Isn’t there a warning? Or something to drink? / My God, oh my God…”
If you live in a city (or really anywhere) you’ll sometimes see transients who talk to themselves. Sometimes they just mumble, but sometimes they can be a little more aggressively conversational. I always wonder how aware they are; maybe by making sounds they’re asserting their own existence when most people tend to ignore them.
I sometimes do the same thing. I like to sing to myself right when a Metro is slowing down beside me because I can be pretty loud without actually being heard. For like 10 seconds I’m just a tiny, somewhat harmonious part of the noisy machinery of the world. And only I will ever know.
"Lately I feel like a blown out birthday candle One look in the mirror and I know the party’s over And yeah I want a big house with a swimming pool Fuck it baby, I’ve got you”
My relationship with 80’s music/what I think 80’s music sounds like/indie pop that I guess is nostalgic for the 80’s goes like this: I hated it, oh God I hated it, I kind of liked it, oh my God I really like this, I want this to be all new and synthesizer-y like this song.
This song just sums some things up in a clappy sort of way.
So many times I feel like I just need to know something so I stop doing whatever I’m doing no matter how important it is and I look up that thing because shit, I need to know. And then when I find out that Pandora wasn’t playing Rogue Wave — it was Zach Rogue’s side project “Release the Sunbird” — and I have youtube’d it and decided that “Always Like the Son” is a good song to listen to, I forget what I was doing that was so important in the first place and I realize that I have the attention span of an overstimulated child.
But this morning when I was out walking I had to stop to look at the shape of the needles on this bush. So I did. And then I knew. And somehow the world is simpler when I’m outside.
The way it emerges from ambient murmurs into something glorious. The way the chords cascade down into harmony. The way he wants to “ride off into the darkness.” It all reminds me of that dark, hot night at the Black Cat when this drew me in for the first time.
Don’t care if I can’t understand 1/3 of what he says. I just love this band.
No. No no no no no no no. Because then you wouldn’t be a collegiate student-athlete. You’d be a money-making, professional athlete. The whole point of collegiate athletics, for me, is that you are a kid who is learning and gets to play sports at the same time (maybe as a way of earning the privilege of learning).
I don’t care if your program made 163 million or 350 gazillion, why do you need to place even more emphasis on the fact that your student-athletes are different? Why should they be paid to earn the same degree everyone else has to pay for? I could go all slippery slope here but I don’t have to. This is wrong.