notes from the road part I
At 2am and after 36 hours of being in a car, it is not wise to try and figure out whether the lyrics to Prince’s purple rain have a deeper meaning. But I kind of wish you all had been in the car with me to witness it, because as I was driving by prisons and flight test facilities in the “Land of Enchantment” (aka – New Mexico – who knew?) I realized that I have a lot of soul. So much soul in fact that I was crooning at the top of my lungs, driving 80 mph under a blanket of the brightest stars and the most barren landscape wondering why it is moments like these in which you really feel in touch with yourself. Incredibly stupid moments where guttural exclamations like, “I never wanted to be your weekend lover” resonate with unbelievable depth and sincerity.
Also, Trent Reznor still hasn’t managed to convince me that he wants to “fuck me like an animal” much less, “feel me from the inside.”
Eddie Van Halen is still… god.
This is what happens when you have only 5 cd’s to listen to and over 3000 miles to drive.
I got stopped at a border patrol checkpoint and the officer asked me what my nationality was and I actually had to think about it for a second. I decided now was probably not the right time to own up to being Pakistani though the thought did cross my mind. He also noticed my license plates and asked me why I was leaving New York and moving to California and I just said, “Because I’m tired.” It’s weird how moments of total honesty sometimes occur with total strangers.
In the bible belt there are one of two options on the radio. Prayer hymns and sermons. Apparently once you leave any major city npr doesn’t exist and this might explain the intellectual blackout that coastal people claim plagues our country. So I decided to walk with (or rather drive with) Jesus for awhile. The sermon wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. I spent about a millisecond contemplating what God means to people. After abandoning that, I decided to replace the word Jesus with the word Love, and then I listened with a begrudging open mind. I learned that I have to commune with love daily. That love will show me the way. That love is the answer to any question that I might have. And that love in the end, will always be there for me. Aside from Prince, Jesus apparently, is a pretty deep guy.
If you ever happen to find yourself driving along interstate 20W and you see a road sign that has two towns named “Peyote” and “Kermit” on it, and then an exit sign…. just take the damn exit. I am still kicking myself for missing the opportunity for a shamanistic experience with a muppet.
People in the South are truly polite. They say thank you a lot and hold the door open for you. Which is at odds with the fact that they all carry guns. They never shoot anybody though, apparently this is a cultural thing, but they all have handguns with names like “Kimber” which strikes me more as a moniker for a coke addled, ex-cheerleader that stores razor blades in her bangs and keeps a back-up pregnancy test in her purse rather than a lethal weapon. Incidentally I worked with a woman named Kimber who fit that description at a Hallmark store in the mall when I was 15. We didn’t get along.
If you didn’t know anything other than what is off the side of an American highway, you would think that the US is solely comprised of neon signs touting fast food chains, firework outlets, gleaming white crosses and huge mall like complexes entitled “Adult World.” I kind of wanted to pull over and enter adult world. Do they make you pay bills when you walk in? Do you have to fight with traffic cops over parking tickets? Are there divorce licenses to sign and is there credit card debt to contend with? Do they hand you heartbreak in a plastic super-size 40 ounce cup and reward you with great life insurance from a vending machine? Something tells me that adult world is not so fun after all. It reminded me of “Pretend City”, a new amusement complex for toddlers that proliferates suburbia. Children go there to have fun by pretending to punch a time clock, work as a postal worker, baker, stockbroker or ceo and are rewarded with money that they can spend in their new found freedom as burgeoning capitalists. It’s strange that kids want to play at being adults, and yet adults want to play at being kids by fulfilling their erotic desires via simulated sex. Neither option sounds very gratifying to me. If Pretend City and Adult World were combined I think you get Los Angeles so it looks like I will get my chance to experience both anyway.
Texas really should secede from the nation. It’s just too fucking big.
The Quality Inn and America’s Choice Motel are total misnomers and entirely false advertising. There is nothing “choice” about putrid olive carpeting that feels like brillo underneath your feet, or shower stalls that are so dirty that the soap you’re using is mainly a protective barrier between you and the wall, or rings of soot clinging to the ceiling, peeling wallpaper or furniture excavated from a funeral home. They should just advertise “Pay $60 a night to feel as if you are in a horror film” because that would be more apt. I swear to god the fear of rape is in me every time I pull up to one of these places. It doesn’t help that I am driving a benz and have to sandwich myself between big rigs with license plates that read “I-heart-momma” and “Bad Boyz.”
I quickly learned that I never wanted to work at said motels or a gas station for that matter. Because if I did it would mean one of two things. I would be either: a) A portly 35 year old male with thinning hair and adult acne who watched the matrix too many times Or b) a meth head teenage girl wearing coral eyeshadow with a stutter.
All of my friends said, well, it will be so great for you to drive cross country by yourself because you’ll have time to “process” this big change in your life. And I’ve thought about that but really, I think the inverse happens when you make big changes. You just kind of pick up and go, and because there is so much at stake you just black out the fact that every decision is important and pretend nothing is happening at all. I wouldn’t recommend doing that all the time though, because then you’ll end up at a Holiday Inn in Deming New Mexico, toothless, chain smoking, working the graveyard shift, with little hair and lots of makeup checking someone like me into room #153 all the way around the back of the motel, near the big rig, and off the radar.