Due to cat needing vet visits, I spent two days working from home, driving Em El down south for work and picking her up in the evening. I haven’t commuted by car in years, so it was quite a shock to my system. Blood pressure rises, teeth gritted, eyes glaze over as you follow the same route over and over. I’m used to seeing the stupid things drivers pull as I ride my bike, but it’s totally different when you’re driving. It actually bothers me more, probably because I’m already extremely agitated just from the mere fact of being behind the wheel. Anyway, it got me thinking about people who commute the same route for years on end. Every day, a vacant thousand-yard stare fixed on the traffic lights ahead. The rote of it all would kill me in a matter of months.
So after the storms pass, and the dishes are drying in the rack, I step out into the cool air. That old cottonwood out back sings its timeless song with nothing more than leaves in the wind and I am so thirsty to hear it. I want to go to sleep listening to nothing but that. It takes me back to, of all places, Lucy Park and the hidden trails I found that one day, winding alongside the chocolate brown river. After a deep and full night of cottonwood sleep I want to wake up to the high fluted serenades of the thrushes. I want to turn my head to the window and breathe in the meadow breeze as it fills the room. I am so hungry for what feeds me. So desperate in this urban confusion. I keep fitting one leghold trap after another onto these withered limbs.
I can’t stop hearing Bill Callahan sing, “My ideals have got me on the run…towards my connection with everyone. My ideals have got me on the run…it’s my connection to everyone.”
I don’t even know anymore what my ideals are, if I even ever had a clear idea. I’m so shifty and drifty, I’m barely able to pin myself down most days. And I’m certainly not running anymore. Treading murky water, perhaps. As for my connections, they are few and far between. Far in miles and farther yet in states of mind.
I don’t want to become institutionalized. I really don’t. I know that much. Maybe that’s an ideal? It’s something I’ll keep fighting against as long as I have the strength, even if it’s with my last few ounces.