I’m used to reading about other people having to drive for at least an hour or more in the mornings to get to work. I’m not used to actually doing it until today, and goddamn I do not recommend it. It wasn’t the coffee A. sent me off with, or the bearable reverse-commute vibe along the first few miles. It was that horrifying stretch of Interstate 880. The only two things that made it bearable were Machinedrum’s “Vapor City” all the way down and Yuna’s “Rouge” coming back up, and the two uncanny little mapping alerts along the way about route shortcuts. Yes, I’ll gladly shave fifteen minutes off my arrival time, and no, I don’t want to continue playing dodge ’em with wide-load big-rigs and high-end luxury cars with single-entendre custom license plates, thank you very much.
The day’s highlight was dropping off the fluff-and-fold, setting up the sheets to wash, and strolling out just as A. came along the sidewalk and onto the parking lot. At least, that was until we crossed the street to the local bar and we each had a beverage while she let me explain the sportsball on the big screens in front of us. All the while, the jukebox was on sort of an automatic uptempo bottle-popping club-hits-for-radio groove before somebody swiped their card and threw on a little Hank Williams, some 1950s rock and ballad chestnuts. Out of the blue, I asked A. if she wanted to hear something else. The jukebox didn’t want to take my dollar bills, so the bartender used her phone to give me some credits. I found “Chura Liya Hai Tumne Jo Dil Ko” and “Dum Maro Dum” off a Bollywood greatest-hits CD, then the Moody Blues’ “Nights In White Satin” and finally B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone.” Back at my barstool, I made the obvious jokes about how cowboy music needed some Indian music counterprogramming, as well as how this was country music of a sort, just a different country. And we sipped and smiled, and the other bar patrons didn’t seem to mind much at all.
Is the outlook optimistic? Is everybody on? Can we come to an agreement over the next thirty to forty-five minutes? Is anyone going to be happy? Is there a critical mass to weigh in on the six dimensions or so everyone’s going to have to occupy to game this thing out? Are all the phones successfully muted? Are you taking notes with pen and paper instead of a keyboard so you can diagram your thoughts, not just noising touch-type as you recognize voices and discern sentiments underneath the actual spoken words? When will everyone get to bring whatever develops back to the people that matter, on whose behalf all of this may yet come to pass? To be continued!
Some days I worry. Yes, I was looking at some fancy minimal wallet this morning, but only because it caught A.’s eye. (And sure, RFID shielding looks like a nice-to-have feature, but that might be me overreacting to this month’s book-club choice.) I’ve got an ordinary, perfectly serviceable, anonymous, slightly larger than useful wallet. I’ve a wristwatch for the half-dozen times a day I’m not touching my phone. Maybe this is the weekend I hunt down an actually comfortable replacement wristband for it. Hey, it could happen. I’ve got a generic multi blade pocket knife for everything my wit can’t cut, but I don’t put it through its paces for anything more strenuous than a package. It’s basically a glorified beer-bottle opener. As for cameras, well, nobody’s handing out Leicas on the street, so that itch only comes up once or twice a month if someone like Om or Sean mentions it in a newsletter. Then it’s off to comb listlessly through the used listings of a shop one town over, or to hunt make-and-model reviews. Groooaaaannnn!
Weird feeling, a little odd and numb and empty to hear about the latest in a recent run of musicians moving on. I remember looking up a long list of bands who released albums in 1982 and thinking to include “Special Beat Service.” I ought to dust it off this week. Part of it is seeing how clearly he was who he was so young, and that the clarity lasted and can still be seen by so many. Part of it is marveling at the band going by two names, and then its leads forming a completely different project, and then its leads forming versions of the original band: nobody does anything like that anymore, do they?