August 10, 2004


Harrisburg International to the smartly remodeled concourses in Pittsburgh to Home. Home official.

All the children on the planes today were beautiful, sweetly minding patient pillow-breasted mommies. All the mothers were golden and had soothing voices, and I was flush with jealousy for childhood - namely theirs... Turkey-neck men who refused to loosen their ties despite a two hour flight (that's business travel for you) fetched Barbie back-packs from overhead, honoring their man-duty. Spent at least half an hour talking myself out of speculating whether the stewardess' smiles were real. Was it possible that they found joy, tangible hard joy, in the little exchange of pretzels. I wanted the answer to be yes. Yes, there are people who smile til their eyes squinch up, for almost no discernable reason, and yes this is ok. "Real" does not exist. What would Buddha do? Yes, yes, the answer is elected as "yes."

Today was my last day of Warped-stinting for the summer. My last tour day for a while. It is a good thing to be home. Because, as Didion said, the center is not holding. It refuses to.

I have seen too much America. 10,000 empty hours in venues and vans has turned some part of my humanity to sooty dust, and my heart to a scab and all I can seem to blame is that I have seen the inside of too many neon-lit Citgo filling station aisles, with it's no carb everything and extreme neon drinks and now I know that all adults are evil, only children are good, that many people think Slim Jims are food, that all media is a lie, that my eyes get wet with tears everytime I see Paris Hilton's too tanned equine face on the cover of a magazine, cement depresses me unless I lay on it. Mountain Dew, groupies, holiday-themed candy, glimpses of the president and littering now strike me with equal heart-searing gravity. Everywhere there is a war we do not know about, and every life is tiny and sad and amazing at the same time, and everyone is the same kind of lost. Watching people sing, with conviction, alone and loud, in their cars is my last vestige profoundly moving experience.

My boyfriend, whom, when I travel, I am usually with, has spent the last seven years living a life that is mostly tour. He has a humanity that is thralling and pyrous inspite of this. He is all kindness where I am all squirrelly noblesse oblige with the cab drivers. The world breaks his heart, too, I watch, everyday. On his tours, after he plays, he stands by the merch booth and gives the kids firm hand shakes and hugs when they ask and jovial realness that no one ever seems to afford teenagers. I am in awe of him. I want to be that thing too.

Last night, he and I were stranded for about an hour, waiting for a cab, at some mall- theatre around Hershey PA. We sat on the cooling blacktop and watched the teenagers disperse into parental loan-cars, a couple make out against a dumpster with their lips locked - hands going to futher than shoulders. A half-hour after the last movie goers had cleared out, one of the worker kids, some 11th grader assistant manager, came back with his friends, unlock the Century City Mall 6 and go in. We imagined them drinking lite beers pilfered from someone's older brother and running Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle . Later on past that, two loner best friend boys, maybe 13 or 15, walked laps, ambling through the lot, cutting back and forth from the JC Penny end to a lightpost in the middle, twice in forty minutes. They walked close for boys that age. We speculated they were in love and did not know it.

In all of this I felt like I had glimpsed the nucleaus of purity, lensed in a mall parking lot and it made me hopeful.

Posted by Jessica at August 10, 2004 09:32 PM | TrackBack