Monday, May 31, 2010

I Am Here

Ann Arbor, MI

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Am Here

Chicago, IL

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tie Me up, Tie Me Down

I've got seven hours of work remaining before I leap off the cliff of gainful employment into miles of virgin time. The middle of a recession probably isn't the best moment to do this, but it's kind of tough to keep your job when you are moving 10 hours and 14 minutes away.

I'll meander through those last seven hours, and a month or two later my lease will be up, and then there will be nothing much tethering me to earth beyond a passel of relationships and a one third of a musical career.

You'd think this would be freeing. In fact, I'm scurrying around as fast as I can trying to tie myself down again. I'm trolling Craigslist to find a place to stash my Kitchen Aid and my wind chimes, pinpointing library branch locations, firing off query letters in search of a new job to long for the end of.

It's like I've escaped from prison, clawing my way through the dirt behind a poster of Sophia Loren a la The Shawshank Redemption, only, when I finally break into sweet air, to turn around and crawl back home.

Stockholm Syndrome? Or an acknowledgement that, despite the earnest yodelings of the Founding Fathers, Steppenwolf, and other advocates for (non-lawyerly) disbarment, freedom ain't all that? Maybe we're not born to be wild; maybe good fences do make good neighbors; maybe on the road is just another word for lost.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


At most recent count, there are 39 things on my list of things I need to do before I move. Some entries:

-Name of movers (Ryan)
-Notarize & send
-New teachers for students
-Weed accordion folders
-Resign > gym

I've forgotten what half of this stuff is already! Curb what? My anxiety? My spending? My burning desire to pitch EVERYTHING that won't fit in the back of an economy hatchback?

Goodwill? God I hope I find some. Do I even own accordion folders? And what's this about resigning from the gym? It's not like I'm a certified Zumba instructor, so it's going to be pretty tough to march in there and declare, eyes flashing, hair flailing, that I quit.

Though it might be mildly amusing to try.

Still, for all the list's shortcomings, I feel massively better after making it. Before, I had all of these things buzzing around in my brain like a nest of yellow jackets. One task would sting me as I was pouring my morning tea; another would ambush me as I squirted the last of the shampoo. I have to do that...oh, wait, that...and that...and that...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the knowledge that there are 39 things to do, weighty as it is, is not as big a burden as not quite knowing. Better the hephalump pit you know than the half-imagined hephalump pit in the dim flatlands of the future. Lists don't so much grant you control as inure you to your lack thereof. En garde, moving!

Friday, May 14, 2010


Folks, you heard it here first: We're moving to VA.

I'm not too happy about this. The Midwest is my place. This is my landscape; this is my sky. These are my (polite, bacon-interested, community-minded) people. We're leaving in mid-July and I am already bereft.

These are the situations in which it doesn't really pay to be married. Also when you're picking a whole bunch of dirty socks up off the floor.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Keep Out

Is privacy the new status symbol?

Because grammar sure as heck isn't; no one bothers to take you down a mental notch or two anymore merely because you've misplaced your apostrophe's, have chosen to carelessly split your infinitives, or have left your prepositions to waggle their desperate little legs off a cliff they can't crawl up from.

(GOD. That HURT, people. Drawing from

Even stretch limos have lost a little of their luster these days, and women are buying slightly less designer-looking designer handbags, if they are buying handbags at all, as opposed to resenting the fact that you're required to carry around a whole bunch of crap -in an asymmetrical manner!- in order to be considered a functioning member of society. Not that I have any feelings on this matter. No way. No how.

But privacy? I suppose it makes sense. Privacy has become a scarce resource, and scarcity (this is possibly the only lesson I learned in high school economics, other than how to sleep with your eyes open) drives demand. It's not that maintaining your privacy is impossible; it's just that, in the Internet Age, keeping stuff to yourself has become a whole lot more difficult.

Sure, you could opt out of Facebook. You could move to the mountains of West Virginia and live off the grid and raise sheep, too, but I suspect your address and the (erroneous) value of your home would still be visible on Spokeo, and possibly also the information that you enjoy mutton and the occasional farm implement. Fortunately or unfortunately, if you're trying to run a business, get work as an artist, or maintain any kind of network of acquaintances, Facebook has become something close to a must.

So there sits the date of your birth, out there for everyone to see, prompting reams of sincere and half-sincere congratulations come your natal day -far more than you ever would have received without cybernetic assistance. (Let's be honest; the average person can remember only about three birthdays, and two of those are your best friends' birthdays circa age five.)

I admit to playing this game. I check the sidebar, and if I've spoken to you in the last couple of years, or if I remember you fondly or think you might someday supply me with information on the mating habits of emperor penguins, I'll post something on your wall.

May 9th happens to be the birthday of two good friends. And so, hunched over the keyboard this morning, I began to type a public message and stopped. Then I hesitated. I backspaced. I opened up a private message window.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, I wrote. And then few more lines. The message was almost exactly what I would have written for public consumption, but it would only be seen by one person, the intended recipient, rather than by 400 of his friends, acquaintances, and people he'd met on the bus. I pressed send. It was, in that moment, the most valuable thing I had to give.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Here she is, disguised as a waitress, interviewing John Lennon for the Minneapolis Tribune. Every now and again it's salutary to recognize that your parents have done some cool shit.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I'm sipping green tea with coconut in some Barnes and Noble in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This is not where I belong.

I'm supposed to be practicing in a sun-ridden second-story room at home, or driving past the prostitutes at 10th and Rural on my way to work, or at the very least boarding a 737 (or, God Forbid, a CRJ) on my way to a gig. Instead I've crossed over into nowheresville.

Not that Charlottesville is nowhere to everyone. Thousands of people live here, and thousands more have graduated from its flagship institution. It's just nowhere to me, right now. I don't know anyone who lives here. I'm not here to do anything in particular. I was dropped off in the parking lot 40 minutes ago by an L.L Bean Subaru Outback. In 50 minutes, if all goes well, I will be picked up in the parking lot by a grey Honda Civic. I will have spent a total of 90 minutes in Charlottesville. Right now, no one can reach me by phone.

So infrequently do we go astray from trajectory of our lives. It's both disorienting and centering, like relinquishing, at the very last moment, our bodies into sleep.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Am Here

Princeton, WV