The air smells like hot dogs and chlorine. Holiday weekend. The end of summer, the beginning of the rest. Red wine and wind burn. Townes Van Zandt and wanting to run.
The Byrds’ “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” plays from my car stereo. One of the only things that works right in this damn machine. Coolant and oil seep from their tanks, I’ve gotta be twenty left turns from the wheel falling off, and the back door doesn’t shut right ever since someone tried to break in back in February. The sun’s setting quick and I’m three valleys from home. Let me tell you, it sure is a thrill tearing ass on poorly paved, unlit country roads with no headlights. Something cinematic about it, something a little Dukes of Hazzard.
I make it home, unscathed and without hassle from law enforcement. I take the card out of my camera and pour myself a glass of whiskey. I think about how I haven’t driven much at all in six months. I think about 30,000 steps on St. Petersburg streets. Think about how I never noticed the red house on the left until tonight.
New York. 14 miles a day, out the door, up the hills, through the creeks, along the power line. Noticed a lot. Became fascinated with signs and their meanings, with piles of garbage and wildflower fields. Thought about too much and about nothing at all. I was alone. Stopped to talk to my neighbors. Chris has baby bunnies now. Shane washes his car in the driveway every Saturday. Blake sold one of his dirt bikes. I became a part of my micro community again; I became a kid again. Or at least I rediscovered what I really care about and what I can do about it.
I give a damn about place. Care about what it means to not be able to access adequate food resources if you don’t have a car. About yard signs in the creek and why poor rural voters choose candidates that make their lives worse. About housing discrimination, about violence and about class. I give a damn about picking up crayfish and getting corn from a cart on the side of the road. I more than give a damn about this, it is unavoidably a huge part of who I am as an artist and as a person.
Postscript: I totaled my car two days after writing this. Back to walking it is.
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