Travel Notes, Part C

Technically speaking, what I write here is no longer travel notes, but notes to end out the “series.” It has so far been two full days for us in Houston, and as the clock strikes midnight, strikes my wife’s birthday.

These are days of unpacking and organizing, cleaning, and so on. Exhausting. Can you say U-Haul? What a terrible, terrible company. They are at the top of the shit heap, and I told them so. More precisely—”If you pass me around to five more ‘specialists’ to ask my name and address—who do little else—I’m going to come down there and burn the place to the ground,” said I. Everything is extremely difficult with them and you get the idea that they do just about anything to get by.

In the beginning, they did not hold true to my reservation. The truck from three weeks back was not there, and so they made me get on the 1-800 number myself and fix up what they had broken. Finally, after an hour of waiting on hold and some serious bitching, they relented to giving me a 17′ truck at the price of the 14′. When I went to pick it up the next morning, however, the price was hiked up an extra one hundred dollars, which I of course objected to and they brought back down.

The truck drove fine on the road, and we were glad for it. As we neared Houston, our excitement rose. Thirty miles from our destination we heard a clanging and sure enough, the back inside tire blew out. They told us over the phone that they would come out the next morning, to leave the truck there and go home. Even though it was only eight in the evening, they gave us the serious run-around. We decided to take the truck back out on the highway for a slow crawl into Pearland.

Yesterday, they sent a guy out to put on a new tire. Today, we took it in. It was becoming an eyesore.

In the midst of unpacking, we took a break for lunch, headed out to the bank and the local Indian restaurant. As we were stopped there at the light, we heard some kind of noise under the car. Turns out a cat from the neighborhood was under there. He had latched on, but was now loose, sitting on the pavement underneath and crying its head off. We backed up rows and rows of traffic as it switched from car to car. Mam, Sir, Please roll your window down so I can tell you there’s a cat under your goddamn vehicle. Do NOT move. We had to catch the poor thing two times as he managed to escape and create more havoc. So Theron and I set into the restaurant with dirt and grease on our hands and, hungry as bandits, overate.

Travel Notes, Part B

Slept all the way through Nashville, TN. Theron has us cruising right along. The way he feels about it is if he’s got the energy, he might as well use it now. The more we travel today, the less tomorrow. Yeah, we should make it into Houston sometime tomorrow evening, at this point.

. . .

We’ve pulled into a hotel. Free wi-fi. Awesome. We’ve got about 10-11 hours left of driving… The iPod/iTrip is working fabulously. Camera was buried in the shuffle and I’m in bad need of a shave. But really, not bad. We’re making good time and both parties should make it into Houston relatively in the same time.

It will be beautiful to see the cats again and to have them settle into the new place, more relaxed. More later…

Travel Notes, Part A

My alarm is gonna go off in a few minutes. Maybe I’ve had 30 minutes sleep through the night, due to the asthma and from being stuffed up beyond belief. So I’m back up again, sitting in the rocking chair, the lights out in this dusty old apartment, fan oscillating, constantly blowing my nose. And I’m worrying about how I’m going to swing this one today, pack the U-Haul with so little sleep. Well, we don’t leave till tomorrow morning, but if I go through another similar night, I won’t be much for competent driving. Our friends Theron and Jane came in yesterday and have been of tremendous help with packing. Jane is right saying it’s easier to pack other people’s stuff. You get tired of packing your own after awhile.

More later on the U-Haul details, and some pics to add on Flickr. When I get settled in – later in the week – I’ll sit down and write my friends some emails…

It’s funny how people I don’t know – like say, bank tellers – try to offer me encouragement about my move, as if their little bit is going to be the deal closer for me, and their stamp of approval is something I actually need. And I understand them being cordial, too. I guess it’s just a little awkward, and I trip out on it. It’s this pebble rattling around up in my brain.

A whole new world is opening up to us. This little one here, this sidewalk I’m looking out on – rained on, cleared off of goth kids – will soon be a memory. I’ve come down here pretty much every day since last September, since I lost that rotten old job. This is where I got into all kinds of cool shit, reading books, comics, writing notes, talking out a few ideas here and there… In four days it will be all gone. The countdown continues.

Or will it be waiting for me, on holidays, the mandatory return visits? Will I even care. God knows I don’t miss DC. Maybe only 5% of me.

I feel enlivened, hopeful, freaked out, on edge. We human beings can be so afraid of change. We don’t like to be jolted.

And yet stagnation is worse. Stagnation! Ugh. Accumulation. Baggage.

This little town has its pros and cons. Mostly cons, but still, you make a home for yourself, not easy getting up and out without a little bloodletting. Especially when it’s so far away.

I’ve been a lot overwhelmed by the packing and slowly crossing everything off my list. The high pollen count and dust scattered from shifting of books and clothes has nearly sent me to the morgue.

Finally got around to seeing Once Upon a Time in the West – a kick ass film from ’68. Go see it! Then write me here. I talked about it as much as possible with my mom and grandmother today at lunch to keep them from the incessant interrogations of my moving affairs. Who was that again? Ah, Charles Bronson. Yeah, from Death Wish.

Yesterday, we took what we thought was our last trip over, only to be guilt-tripped into lunch for the next day. So today, afterwards, we were outside and my mom starts to put on this big sobbing theatrical production. I couldn’t handle that shit. Not from her. I got out fast. Now she writes that she wants me to call her before I go, so she can do it all over again on the phone. Not happening.

. . .

Grant Morrison is putting some good energy into the Seven Soldiers series. I’m psyched. I mean, he puts out Issue #0 as an introductory or set-up, then gives each of the seven characters (soldiers) four issues of their own comic. When those finish up, sometime next spring, Seven Soldiers Issue #1 will be released as a sort of epilogue, or as he’s calling it, a bookend. Brilliant!

Global Frequency is also one of my faves; re-reading these during the late night asthma sessions. Also the confusing Illuminati Trilogy. We were talking the other day how Chris Carter’s shows all started going down hill. My god, that last season of X-files really cleared out the room. Joss Whedon, on the other hand, keeps himself twice as busy working a number of shows, but still maintains top notch storytelling. It can be argued Buffy’s last season suffered a bit, but I dug it. And the new Serenity trailer is fantastic. When this shit comes out in late September, it’s going to mash all the current sci-fi stuff (Star Wars included) into a fine paste. That’s right, I won’t be rolling out my sleeping bag to see Star Wars. What’s the use?

As I write this, I should add that guys tomorrow are coming to buy the TV… I’ve wavered over the years its value in my life as I once thought it conflicted with my creativity and I don’t know, hindered independent thought… I say, mute that shit come time for commercials, watch selectively, pick out your favorite shows, flick off the politicians when they jump on, laugh like hell at the square heads on CNN (who take themselves so fucking seriously), and you’ll be alright. Also, from what I can tell, especially with HBO programming over the past few years, television has just become… better. I mean, when Millennium went off the air in ’99, I remember thinking there was never going to be anything that was going to top it. Then came along Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Carnivalle, etc. So yeah, I’m gonna miss my big ol’ 27″ TV, though back in the day I might’ve been one of those kids who wore a Kill Your TV t-shirt with such prideful indignation.

If I don’t write any more for a few days, wish us well on our voyage one thousand plus miles.

The Pile That Falls To The Floor

Wow, it is 4 am already! I’ve been up late like this because of my bouts with asthma coming on from packing up here in the apartment. Just two weeks left before the move and here I am getting broken down from all the dust rising. When we escape into the fresh air, I find after an hour or so that I’ve gradually made a full recovery. At night when I throw myself down into bed, I start wheezing and coughing and my breathing becomes constricted.

Tonight I grabbed my headphones and threw on some podcasts while sitting up in the chair, one light on over in the corner like a little star. Why sit in the pitch blackness, especially when there’s all these boxes in the room that I could trip over? Kalika has plopped down on her side, her little head resting on the edge of the Wacom tablet. A woman is doing a sound-seeing tour of a Marilyn Monroe convention. Not incredibly exciting. It’s the kind of thing you listen to at 4 in the morning, or wind up fast forwarding through. Let’s see here… there’s supposed to be some Marilyn impersonators here tonight… Yawn.

Last night we went to a little dinner party at Hollins. I felt completely out of place, underdressed, awkward. Everyone raising their wine glasses… I kept thinking, this is so high society. I hope I’m not making them cringe. I’m not against wine, really. It’s just not my thing. I haven’t developed a taste for it. They must’ve thought I was a total creep when someone made another toast and my glass was completely empty. Cling! Oh what the hell. It wasn’t long before everyone was drunk, full of laughter, and shamelessly mesmerized by the philosophy professor’s shaky home video of us all standing around from the hour before.

. . .

belt out
notes at a table
and when I go
to the venue
shout out these
as poetry
and someone
I like your energy
or delivery
and I know
what they mean
because it
surprises me
some kids
deliver like
they’re about
to fall asleep
and here I get
up and picture
lightning in my head
and try to
strike as
that will split
stone benches
on a hill in Towaco

my friend drives up
we pack my stuff
in his car
and we’re out
never to return again

I left the movement
in jagged steps
no one could
ever say
after 10+ years
I didn’t
give it the
ol’ college try

I will not be
“bhakti yoga”
on my resume
a deception

the movement and
its mafia
please O please
don’t send
one of your
after me

if I get in
the center
of this
bible belt
I shall
be protected

spirit filled

I was young and susceptible
and coerced into
a brainwashed pyramid scam
they needed workers
book distributers
pot washers

at the end of the day
as in 4 am
they would
announce the scores
you are the best
book distributor they
would say to me
I mean, to the
guy next to me
and everyone
would throw garlands
around him
a “front-line” man

“it’s okay,”
they would say
“everyone has a place
in this movement…
here’s a garland
for you, too…”

know your place

“what is one life given in service?”
no BFD, right?

a whole lot of wreckage

no longer do I fear
being wrong

no more shelter tours
to go on

if you stage dive now
will your bones
break up
over the crowd

will you feel ashamed?

Contemplating Mortality (aka freaking out)

My counter is spitting the days out at me. 16 left. Then we move to Houston. The big move. Some nights I sit quiet with this. A very surreal feeling when you’re about to move off somewhere far away – makes you reflect on life, how you’re traveling through it, and one day it’s gonna end. What else of your belongings has deteriorated? You say you’re ready to start over… when you go into that garage or attic and rummage through your old things, just how much are you really willing to part with?

Today I think I’ll pack up all or most of the books. First, set aside some main books that I’m currently reading like The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Book of Lies, Liber Null & Psychonaut, Prometheus Rising, Punk Planet, etc.

I guess this is why I haven’t been writing all that much here lately. I’ve been distracted. In many ways, I really am starting anew with this move. Listening to new albums by NIN, The Evens, The Decemberists… Concentration/focus is way off lately. Sat in the coffee shop last night, couldn’t write, read, anything. Very noisy in there sometimes.