Somewhere Outside Tomah, Wisconsin
Written March 12th, 2004
Once again in the car between the Twin Cities and Chicago, once again trying to write a blog about it. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins is in a frenzy but Wisconsin is still and dark, all campgrounds, truck stops, farms, and churches off of I-94. Weird orange lights show up in the distance, suggesting a parking lot, a utility building, a chain-link fence. Then the dark cuts in again and there’s nothing out the window but the reflection of me typing. Just as suddenly, it’s truck stops and Holiday Inn again, floodlights and tractor-trailers lined up alone like huge headless slugs.
This repeating pattern goes for hours from one end of Wisconsin to the other, punctuated by Madison in the middle like the label at the center of a vinyl record. From here it’s 94 miles to the capitol, then an hour to Beloit and an hour and a half to Chicago. That’s four or five CDs, maybe, but probably more. Weezer is lively enough to keep us awake in the end stretch, but only 40 minutes long. In CDs, though, the trip doesn’t seem so bad.
Without sound, the trip is like a coma. Sleepiness presses down like gravity. The outside world grows smaller as you grow more tired. It closes in like an image with the contrast turned down, blacks expanding and absorbing everything. Eventually telemetry comes into the brain in spurts like snapshots, like a webcam–the data received between blinks is all there is. Until the next transmission, until your head snaps back up and gulps down another eyeful of the live world, that sample is what you go on. Hold it in your head like a breath and stay under, asleep, for the precious black moment you can before you come up for amber air again.
Noise: Nick Cave, “Red Right Hand”
Ides of March
Hey, this past Monday was my seventh anniversary with Sara. We celebrated with a trip to the zoo in winter to see some aminals and a nice meal out at Christo’s Greek restaraunt in the old St. Paul train station. All around, a pretty wonderful day.