Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sunday Pancakes and Sacramento Flights…

The flight this evening is particularly, to this point uneventful, I can see the Mississippi River out the left side of the plane, am aware that there are some pretty vicious storms up through Nebraska and Colorado, and have seen the movie about four times this month – probably a good reason to put in one of those conveniently hip Starbucks CD’s and listen to music that I would otherwise ignore – for the most part anyway. It was funny at the Sasquatch Festival, the music that I thought I would enjoy most was simply a few highlights off those collections – the rest of the music sounded absolutely different than I expected – but hell, that is sort of like that cap gun you got when you were eight and you realized that after you burned through the first three thousand paper caps, you had to find a way to get more caps – and so the gun went into the bin with the rest of those things that lost their shine when the moving parts needed a little maintenance.
I went for one reason, that was to see the Kings of Leon, and was not disappointed – I was tired, there is nothing comparable to sitting in the sun for 14 hours waiting for a band, ingesting bad things into the body at a pace similar to a redneck at a NASCAR event, and then staying up a few hours longer after the concert wound up from the excitement. Music that sounds exactly the same live as it does on the CD is impressive to me – there were several bands that came out and did that canned background crap, doubled with their own voice tracks, and had more technology than talent – that may be art, but it is not much like music. When you see a guy holding a guitar – you really should not hear Tuba – or when you see a lady holding a Tuba, you really should ask yourself why in the hell she is holding a Tuba. Jane’s Addiction played, and in usual Perry fashion, it was almost like a coming out party – that guitarist guy looked like he had been hosed down by tan in a can, had a few more temporary tattoos, and posed shirtless all night long, Perry fell out of a GQ clothing add as he sucked down bottles of white wine – and mumbled some incoherent wisdom that I am sure he found very important – and played a best of collective that could be reminiscent of the “Rock 107.9 – All of your favorite hits from the 80’s and 90’s all the time” – still it was a good show, and after suffering through NIN singing Animal over and over again (I say that because I can’t tell the difference between any of his stuff with the exception of Hurt – and I think Johnny Cash stole the “good version “ of that one) it was a little bit of welcome relief.
Concerts at the Gorge are an experience – and I would recommend anyone at least once in their life, go there, get a campsite, and go to a show. The amphitheatre overlooks the Columbia River, it is dry and dusty, and hot, but as the sun starts to set, it cools quickly, and there is enough room to be a part of the music or just be listening to the music. Hell, this year, there was enough room for a couple of kids to decide the mood was right, and they proceeded to have what we can call “intercourse” in front of 65,000 of their nearest and dearest friends whilst The Decemberists were playing (I was peacefully sleeping off the mornings twelve pack and cape cods) when I was awakened by those same 65,000 standing, applauding, pointing, and laughing – you should check it out, it’s on YouTube – hell, maybe I will throw that in as the link for this post. Well – that’s enough about Sasquatch – I will go again next year, no matter who plays, and am sure that it will be as exciting as this year and as last year –
Sacramento – I really have not seen much of Sacramento, even though I have spent a great deal of time there – it does not seem like much to see – it sort of reminds me of Kansas City or St. Louis, except the people wear Birkenstocks instead of cowboy boots and sneakers. It is dusty and dry, and has the constant California look to it – the image of mountains in the background, dirty highways, and In and Out Burgers and Carls Jr Joints in just about every strip mall. The Indian Casino is about thirty four minutes away from the hotel, and of course I have been there to get my ritualistic fill of shitty feelings and dumping my hard earned cash into a machine or throwing it at a few cards, but it is like everything else that I have run across out there – a little rough around the edges, a little removed – I mean you have to want to go to Sacramento to get there, or be on your way to a weekend bender in Reno, but then again, you could bypass the place and just fly direct. They say there is a River there, I have not seen it – maybe that will be my goal this year, to go see the river, and figure out what the hell it is called. Most towns, you can get a pretty good indication from the airport what you are going to run into, and Sacramento is no exception – a mini-California with an oddly Republican twist of farmers and folk – a retirement community and government supported city with traffic and tall buildings. Like I said earlier, that image of a California town – always mountains in the distance – at least a pretty backdrop to an otherwise normal place.
Sunday mornings, of course, you know all about my Sunday mornings – I think they are a pretty recurring theme in these blogs, (by the way, the pilot is now over that nasty weather and is flying this 737-800 like a kid at a go cart track – unless the autopilot just likes to see at what angle it can fly to spill my diet coke on my computer) – I had the kids this weekend, and Saturday I felt like pigeon shit on frogs ass crackers (I arrived home Friday night at seven from the West Coast, was jet lagged, could not sleep, and woke up around 10:00 AM – with my daughter smiling at me saying “we had oatmeal cookies for breakfast”) – it was almost cheating them of their time, but I made up for it as best I could with the busy afternoon and the trip to the Grandparents (for them, not much fun, but they ended up with five bucks and a stomach full of fried chicken) and then a promise of Sunday morning pancakes. And I kept that promise – amazing how fulfilling one promise makes up for a world of mistakes – their smiling faces and syrup shiny lips eating bite after bite, happy that Dad kept his promise, happy to wake up at the same time, and happy to have a morning eating breakfast together. I did not even go through the Sunday morning chores routine – I figured after they had been patient with my inability to wake up and spend Saturday morning with them, that they did not deserve any vacuum duties or laundry assignments or emptying the dishwasher. They deserved pancakes and butter and syrup smiles, and that is what they got.
The travel has been harder lately, you know, when you don’t take 48 hours off on the weekends, and you shuffle all of your belongings in and out of a carry on, and you spend you resting time just catching up on laundry and bills, it gets a little demeaning to try and have a relationship with anything that may require more than a glance and a smile. You don’t give everything to it – particularly on the East Coast to West Coast travel – you go 9 hours – at least I do, from one ocean to the other, and then back 9 hours to the other ocean – to do it again in 38 hours – that’s what you live. When you are in one place or the other, you spend 24 hours as a zombie, and then the rest, well that is yours. With the help of a good family practitioner, you can take something to ease the flight, and perhaps something to ease the guilt of being an absent parent, husband, and friend, but you really can’t do much about the reality that the road becomes your veins, and it is what keeps you moving. It becomes all that you know. Sure, it does not have to; there are a million books out there about breaking free from the mold of Corporate America and pushing the envelope, and getting life coach, and etc, etc, etc…and unless you are writing those books, odds are, you are not the one who broke through to the other side – odds are, I will see you in Hartsfield one day, just passing through.
What is the incentive to break that mold – and what decisions do you have to make to get out of that place? I am not the one to ask – and I probably read more about it than I should (if you ever want to feel like your accomplishments pale in the face of others – than read just about every business book out there that touts self-realization as the key to reality and the doors of success) I would like to know that answer. The probability of finding a good idea, at the right place, at the right time, with the right backing – well that’s slim – and if you measure yourself in swimming pools , cars, and vacations – you need all of those things to fall into place. I believe as much as the next person that there is opportunity to work hard – I just don’t believe in Horatio Algiers anymore –
Maybe the book thing will help – maybe that is what I was meant to do – so when you see this book, make sure to tell a friend, I need the money, and to stop over sleeping on Saturday mornings….


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