Dispatch from the Road

UPDATE: In a hotel outside of St. Louis. In Rollins fashion, here's a dispatch from the road:

Monday, July 17th, 2006. 1:30 p.m.

Ben Lee is on the radio.

Kara is driving.

I'm not feeling well. I'm sitting in the passenger seat for the second or third time. Third time. Maybe the fourth. Fuck it. Who knows, really? Lets just say I'm riding shotgun in my car, which, as anyone will tell you, is weird in and amongst itself. And its a really hard to be a passenger for me most of the time. Not with Kara. As long as we don't get stuck in crazy accident traffic again. I told her, jokingly, if that happens again she's done behind the wheel. I know it wasn't her fault, or anything that could have been prevented. That's why its a joke.

She knows when I say things like that I'm joking. She's figured me out.

But my inability to ride, normally, is the reason I'm typing. Thankfully Mrs. Archer taught me how to type without looking back in tenth grade so I don't have to worry about car sickness or anything like that.

Typos ... yes.

But the funny thing about Mrs. Archer she totally looked like Olive Oil from the Popeye cartoons.

The funny thing about motion sickness its the same neural pathways that epilepsy travels on. That's why its not a true sickness, per se, that allows you to feel better after you vomit. Its a mental thing from your brain trying to compensate for the movements that your eye is making to keep things on a level playing field. That's why some people can sit in the front and not get sick, while others have troubles in all directions. Me, I can ride or fly and read, write, etc. without much of an issue, but I cant go around in circles.

Anyway as you can probably guess, this is a stream of thought blog from Eric.

Wisconsin is flat. And then very very hilly. And then flat again. And always green. And populated with farms, silos and cell towers. With the occasional roadside attraction Apple Pie backed in a Paper Bag. Big giant plastic cows that highlight the famous Wisconsin cheese. And Hi-Lo Drive. That's interesting.

Kara is driving and I'm sitting here thinking about how sometimes I feel things aren't going anywhere with her because there's no set destination in the plans. We have discussed the future in the extent that she's going to be in grad school for the next five to seven years ... and for me, really, I'm up in the air. I love Columbus. I want to stay in Columbus. And she's a big reason why ... because Columbus is the only place I've felt like home . and I question what we're going to do in our future together when she's in grad school.

Then I wonder about things ... and realize I have no idea where things are supposed to be after six months, or go after six months. I look at my past relationships and realize that they aren't the place to look for answers.

I never know.

I love her. I do know that. And isn't that enough, really? So many things are going to change in the next two months ... we're going out west to spend 3 weeks together in the car ... then she starts school and I start the job hunt. All three of those are huge unknowns ... and therefore so many things are unknown. So why wonder? Why worry?

Because there are so many things that I think I handle wrong.

Imagine that. Me, fucking something up. Yeah, its a stretch, but go with it for a minute.

I do make mistakes.

Often times huge ugly ones.

But in the past six weeks, there have been two big things that still don't sit right with me. Two big issues where I don't think I did anything wrong yet hurt her in the process.

Yeah, there are a couple of things that were absolutely wrong, and I have no problem owning up to them, discussing them, and moving forward. And we've done that.

Yet with these two situations, I'm made out to look like the asshole by others involved, and I still don't think I did anything wrong, at all.

And me being me, the introspective one, I spend a lot of time in my head going over these things and in both situations, I still don't think I did anything wrong.

And both issues where blown way out of proportion by the other parties involved yet it hurt Kara, which wasn't the intent, and that makes me feel like an asshole for even being involved in a situation that could be taken the wrong way.

I do know I cant imagine not being with her. She's wonderful, whether were just hanging out or flying down the highway. And she's fun. I don't have to worry about what I say to her because she knows what I mean in the way that I mean it. That's rare with me. And like me, she's spontaneous. She's always up for whatever crazy road trip I can dream up. Hey, lets drive 9 hours to see a band we've seen dozens of times play in a different city. Her response: OK. And we do.

Or this trip: lets go see Aaron from Swig Tooth do his solo acoustic show in Columbus. Hey, that rocked. Lets go to Morgantown the next night. Hey, that was awesome. So lets keep going Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis. And we do. And when its over on Tuesday we will have seen all five shows on this mini-tour. That's pretty fucking cool. And some other cool shit. Like at the Guitar Bar in Milwaukee on Sunday, when were the only people there other than his roommate and his roommates parents and four or five drunks at the bar. Three of whom left during the show.

Oh, yeah, and an old man with a cooler. And when he left, Aaron said, I hope that cooler works out for you.

But Aaron played. Maybe just for us, maybe for Justin, maybe for Justin's parents. Probably, just for himself, because that's what he does.

It reminded me a lot of a great Harry Chapin song called "There Only Was One Choice."

There Only Was One Choice
by Harry Chapin

There's a kid out on my corner, hear him strumming like a fool
Shivering in his dungarees, but still he's going to school
His cheeks are made of peach fuzz, his hopes may be the same
But he's signed up as a soldier out to play the music game

There are fake patches on his jacket, he's used bleach to fade his jeans
With a brand new stay pressed shirt and some creased and wrinkled dreams
His face a blemish garden, but his eyes are virgin clear
His voice is Chicken Little's but he's hearing Paul Revere

When he catches himself giggling he forces up a sneer
Though he'd rather have a milk shake he keeps forcing down the beer
Just another folkie late in coming down the pike
Riding his guitar he left kid brother with his bike

And he's got Guthrie running in his bones
He's the hobo kid who's left his home
And his Beatles records and the Rolling Stones
This boy is staying acoustic.
There's Seeger singing in his heart
He hopes his songs will somehow start
To heal the cracks that split apart
America gone plastic

And now there's Dylan dripping from his mouth
He's hitching himself way down south
To learn a little black and blues
From old street men who paid their dues
'Cause they knew they had nothing to lose
They knew it
So they just got to it

With cracked old Gibsons and red clay shoes
Playing 1-4-5 chords like good news
And cursed with skin that calls for blood
They put their face and feet in mud
But oh they learned the music from way down there
The real ones learn it somewhere

Strum your guitar -- sing it kid
Just write about your feelings -- not the things you never did
Inexperience -- it once had cursed me
But your youth is no handicap -- it's what makes you thirsty

You know you can hear your footsteps as you're kicking up the dust
And the rustling in the shadows tells you secrets you can trust
The capturing of whispers is the way to write a song
It's when you get to microphones the music can go wrong

You can't see the audience with spotlights in your eyes
Your feet can't feel the highway from where the Lear jet flies
When you glide in silent splendor in your padded limousines
Only you are crying there behind the silver screen
Now you battle dragons -- but they'll all turn into frogs
When you grab the wheel of fortune -- you get caught up in the cog

First your art turns into craft -- then the yahoos start to laugh
Then you'll hear the jackals howl 'cause they love to watch the fall
They're the lost ones out there feeding on the wounded and the bleeding
They always are the first to see the cracks upon the walls

Yes I read it in the New York Times
That was on the stands today
It said that dreams were out of fashion
We'll hear no more empty promises
There'll be no more wasted passions
To clutter up our play

It really was a good sign
The words went on to say
It shows that we are growing up
In oh so many healthy ways
And I told myself this is
Exactly where I'm at
But I don't much like thinking about that

Good dreams don't come cheap
You've got to pay for them
If you just dream when you're asleep
There is no way for them
to come alive
to survive

It's not enough to listen -- it's not enough to see
When the hurricane is coming on it's not enough to flee
It's not enough to be in love -- we hide behind that word
It's not enough to be alive when your future's been deferred

What I've run through my body, what I've run through my mind
My breath's the only rhythm -- and the tempo is my time
My enemy is hopelessness -- my ally honest doubt
The answer is a question that I never will find out

Is music propaganda -- should I boogie, Rock and Roll
Or just an early warning system hitched up to my soul
Am I observer or participant or huckster of belief
Making too much of a life so mercifully brief?

So I stride down sunny streets and the band plays back my song
They're applauding at my shadow long after I am gone
Should I hold this wistful notion that the journey is worthwhile
Or tiptoe cross the chasm with a song and a smile

Well I got up this morning -- I don't need to know no more
It evaporated nightmares that had boiled the night before
With every new day's dawning my kid climbs in my bed
And tells the cynics of the board room your language is dead

And as I wander with my music through the jungles of despair
My kid will learn guitar and find his street corner somewhere
There he'll make the silence listen to the dream behind the voice
And show his minstrel Hamlet daddy that there only was one choice

Strum your guitar -- sing it kid
Just write about your feelings -- not the things you never did
Inexperience -- it once had cursed me
But your youth is no handicap -- it's what makes you thirsty, hey kid

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