Monday, September 20, 2010
Wishing Lord that I was Home
She didn't think she would become the type of person who took pictures of broken and abandoned structures across America to make some point about nothingness and existence, but she did. At every gas station across the great plains, as she wiped the windshield free of insect bodies and butterfly innards, she spotted another desolate something to aim her lens at, an old hotel or restaurant, their signs toothless with missing letters, right angled against the brown and bronze striped landscape. The fact that three years ago this type of grotesquely open, unfamiliar landscape would have left her feeling empty, and more than slightly nauseous with homesickness, made the flat calm she felt today contrast with such defiance that she smiled to herself in victory. Her softy-soft summer was over and done and she had developed at least some semblance of inner coarseness, or aloofness, a light but effective callous over the parts of her she used to pick at until they oozed.
The fact that this sort realization, a realization of one's own inability to be so thoroughly defeated as to never stand up again, is a hallmark of anyone in their twenties who bothers to do even an inch of self reflection- that this sort of watered down self-epiphany has been the catalyst for countless tattoo artists to ink countless butterflies and Chinese characters into the ankles the lower backs of girls who will later pull down the waistline of their jeans to expose their branded skin while using terms 'road trip' and 'metamorphosis' interchangeably- this didn't bother her one bit. Nor did it dampen her enthusiasm to know (and she did know, somewhere in the tightly wound coil in her brain that every now and then grew hot with cynicism and annoyance for herself and everyone else she knew) that this type of solo motor trip, from the painfully bleached motel towels that can be thrown on the floor for someone else to pick up, to the wandering and often erotic thoughts that the mind churns out after being alone for 26 hours- was not anything new, by any standards, or unique, and didn't hold enough profundity to keep a candle flame glowing.
That's the thing about being all by yourself, you can think whatever you want without letting the unoriginality of your thoughts become a bother.
The very impracticality and social irresponsibility of driving yourself alone across 3,ooo miles and the notion that people like her- those who knew better but did it anyway- were the very reason the world was going to such hell, had very little impact at the moment. Every mile of her trip was selfish and solely for the purposes of her benefit. It was perfect, dangerous in the generic sort of way, and indulgent, and felt unreasonably earned.