February 29, 2004


I went for a drive yesterday, south on 5, in early afternoon. The hill on my right blocked the sun, and the fields to my left were bright, the roadside trees dappled with unseasonable sun. So begins the Vermont spring. Had some trouble keeping my eyes on the road.

Tommy blasts. "Sparks" and the beautiful day whooshing by are too much: I have to feel the air, and I roll the window down.

With the rolled-down window comes a cigarette: in my fit of rage, I snagged them just before I left, and as I lit the first on that beautiful day, sharing the moment with the late John Entwhistle, I knew, with little regret, that I would always be a smoker.

Stopped at a Cumby's in Bellows Falls for more smokes and a root beer. As I drove away, I became curious about the time, and began scanning the buildings for a clock. What if I just kept going? How long could I last?

Heading out of town, the road became shitty, the pavement wracked by frost heaves, melt draining from field to field. Desolate fences marked odd lots with trailers, broken cars, rusted farm equipment. Up a hill, round a corner...and suddenly the forest to my left drops off, and an astonishing view of the mountains beckons. My neck twists to see, and I look for a place to pull over, even a wide shoulder...but there is nothing, and then the view is gone.

I ponder the reasons for my dissatisfactions, my aggravations. Why can't I finish anything I start? Why do my accomplishments sap my confidence? Have I known the essential futility of life since my youngest days, trying and failing to express what I didn't fully understand? And why must I dwell on it? Maybe that's the whole problem. I think in circles and don't come up with anything...and on I drive.

I near a bridge and slow down, picturing a black spring river far below, slicing through the last of the ice, coming alive. My gaze is drawn down, down...to an 18-wheeler on the Interstate. And that seems to say something to me, but I'm not sure what, and on I drive, no longer seeing or listening or thinking about anything except the disappointment of seeing an Interstate where I expected a river.

By the time I snap out of it, Tommy's about to become aware, and I've hit Putney. Seems like a good time to take the Interstate back north. There's a big Do Not Enter sign on the road that leads to the on-ramp. How can this be? Too late, at 60 mph, I see the second road. Turn around, drive back. Get on 91N. Luck out at speed trap.

The sun is out in full force now: no trees between, and it's almost too much for me.

Posted by Chris at February 29, 2004 09:35 PM | TrackBack

nice post. very salinger-ish in that it hints at circumstance prior without getting into it (see nice day for a bananafish).

Posted by: Dana at March 1, 2004 07:46 AM

Very Refreshing, nice...

Posted by: Adam at March 1, 2004 04:37 PM

I remember days like that. When I was 17-18 I drove to the edge and quickly realized that I was going to proceed beyond the boundary and quickly made a decision to run back home because I needed my guitar before the plunge. No reason really, I had a 300 dollar car living in Atlanta and decided WTF….I can read about these places, hear people speak of them, or have others tell the tall tale. Or, I could become it. I became it. I left with my Mom crying in the driveway and my Dad slipping me a couple Hundred as if knowing this was something I needed to do or was going to do. California here I come. Truth of the matter was if it wasn’t for the extra couple bills my Dad gave me I would have prolly made it to about Tulsa. God, Oklahoma. So I loaded the Tempest with a bottle of 50 Blacks, a couple pounds of Oranges, an ounce of Columbian gold, some clothes and my Yamaha. Headed to hell, or Glory. With the bottle of Blacks It was just like the movie Vanishing Point. I didn’t stop till I hit Barstow California and the car over-heated on the freeway. Just at the sign that said “Next exit, 100 miles”. I was wasted and could have slept till October. Along comes the ChiP. Believe it or not he pushed me off the freeway to the nearest Gas station and wished me well. Ah, Hi Mom, it’s Greg, I just got busted and am going to be in Chino for a few years. Shit, that was close! My journey did not stop for I drove across the country three times in the next decade. Sometimes I wonder
what would have happened if I would have stopped and gotta a root beer and said, Na!
But the thing is I wouldn’t trade all those experiences for nothing. Everybody makes decisions they live with. That was mine. I’ve been back home for like 6 weeks in the last 18-20 twenty years. It’s funny how you call it home, even though you lived much of your life away from it. O I could tell ya some tales one night Christopher. Some you may not believe. Ask me sometime when the room is quiet and you just might decide that the pack of smokes was a good thing! Ha….

Posted by: SeaDog at March 1, 2004 07:27 PM

...and of course that probably should be 'perfect day for a bananafish'....

...and I certainly don't doubt that seadog has got some tales to tell....

Posted by: Dana at March 2, 2004 07:16 AM

Ho ho ho!

Merry muthafucking March, bitches!

The air is warming up, and the days are getting longer.

My mood is lifting steadily with each passing day, and soon I'll be an unstoppable force to contend with.

Fear my l337 skillz! w00t!

Posted by: Snack Master at March 4, 2004 10:43 PM

woot??!! as in Woot! Thar it is! ?

Posted by: Dana at March 6, 2004 10:20 AM

Woot is like a hoot or cheer, it's an onomatopoeia. :)

Trees are already blossoming here in Seattle, and it's supposed to be upper 50s lower 60s all week. Merry March indeed!

So... when are well collectively going to start posting again? E, who slacked longer than any of us, has been posting multiple times a day, while we sit here with week(s) old entries. I miss having things to read from my friends, damnit.

Posted by: Nabil at March 8, 2004 12:07 PM

Well, I know I'm still a Vermonter, with my random contractions built into my writing. "So... when are WE ALL going to start posting again?"

Posted by: Nabil at March 8, 2004 12:09 PM

Hey I've been fairly on top of my blog... kind of. Last week was an exception but I was moving so I have an excuse!

I love driving like the drive mentioned above. Something about just finding a road and taking it for an hour or more at a time for no apparent reason and with no real destination in mind. Helps me clear my head in those times when it really needs it.

Long hot showers tend to do the same for me. I also like sitting on lonely hilltops in the middle of the night. There's something very peaceful about the world when it sleeps.

I also like long walks on the beach, and candlelit dinners, and....

Riiight. Well I might as well get all that shit out of my system before it's unconstitutional. And how did this turn into a gay reference? Good question. Anyway enough of being random. Got shit to do. Paz. ~t

Posted by: Tim at March 9, 2004 04:36 PM


I seem to have a habit of turning those hour long drives 6 to 12 hour long drives. I find that driving is really great for meditation. The act of driving occupies part of the brain (maintaining control of the vehicle, navigating, everything), much in the same way that people use mandala or other focal points for meditation.

I miss going out in the evenings with everyone. We've kind of dispersed, and moved on to other things that occupy our time, and I suppose that's just a natural part of life. I still miss it, though.

Posted by: Nabil at March 10, 2004 01:19 AM
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