Saturday, August 25, 2007

Your city to burn

A mile or two closer to Bend from Albertson's, a weird thing happened: I guess I heard something that made me think of the beginning of the Smashing Pumpkins album Gish, so I began playing the song I am one in my head. Perhaps due to my background in marching band and drum corps, I also began walking in step to the song (with a left foot lead). It's been years since I've listened to that CD, so it was interesting to see if I could "hear" the song exactly how it sounds on the recording. I think I succeeded.

Anyway, I am one energized me and kinda helped me tune out the pain and discomfort I experience every day as I walk miles and miles. It also helped me tune out the rest of the world, putting me in a state not unlike years ago when I used to put on my Sony studio-quality headphones and play my drums along with Gish. When I listen to that album, I don't hear the songs the same way you would; I mostly only hear the drum parts and feel the motions of playing the drum parts.

Gish has such a kick-ass one-two punch with I am one and Siva, so when I am one ended in my head, Siva began just as if I was hearing the actual CD. It energized me even more. Having almost the same tempo as I am one, it allowed me to keep walking at the same pace, which was a pretty natural walking pace even without the music. Siva just rocks. I'd say that song best captures the energy, dynamics, and songwriting genius of young Billy Corgan. When it was over, I probably had to take a couple deep breaths to prepare for Rhinoceros.

Rhinoceros is a slow ballad, but it's a fast walking song because you have to walk double-time to stay in step with it. It's hard to walk fast enough to keep the song playing at full speed in your head, so I ended up having to slow down the song instead of speeding up my pace.

God I love the transition from Rhinoceros to Bury me. Bury me is one of the most rocking-ass drum songs ever and Jimmy Chamberlin is a freakin' freak. Bury me makes you walk a little faster than your typical pace, but it's a pace that you can actually keep up with because the song gives you some kind of energy that makes you forget all about the 55 lbs on your back.

When I think back about this short stretch of walking, I actually picture myself with headphones on because I was so caught up in Gish, I'd literally tuned out everything else, including traffic. I wasn't concerned with getting a ride, either, but shortly I noticed a late model Volkswagen pulling over a couple hundred feet ahead of me. Pressing pause on my imaginary pumpkins, I made a quick assessment and realized the driver was probably stopping to offer me a ride, so I sped up and approached the car.

The driver--a twentysomething young lady--asked me where I was going. I replied, "Bend, I guess." She was going to Bend, too, so I put my stuff in the car and we introduced ourselves. Her name is LJ Messenger and she is pretty new to Oregon, having grown up in Syracuse, New York. She was so knowledgeable about the mountains and forests and other landmarks we passed, I figured she had been living in Oregon maybe a couple years, but she has only been here for three months.

When we arrived in Bend, she parked in downtown to meet her boyfriend. I had no idea where I needed to be, so downtown was fine for me, too. LJ and I went our seperate ways, then I called my mom to make sure I knew what to say before calling Jack Sherman, the family friend who lives in Bend. I never ended up calling Jack, though, because he was already on the phone with my dad when I called my mom. My mom ended up letting Jack know where I was, and Jack headed my way within a few minutes.

That was Wednesday (three days ago).

The Quasi-Aimless Trailer

Springfield Oregon

...OK, so I found a bench where I could sit down and draw up a sign reading: "Please help a hungry traveler get some food. Thank you." When I finished, I stood on a narrow concrete median between eastbound and westbound traffic, displaying the sign so westbound drivers could see it while stopped at the stop light. Right away one driver gave me a buck and another gave me a slice of pizza. No one else gave me anything over the next 45 minutes. By then I was a starting to hurt because I'd been carrying my backpack the whole time, so I relocated near the front door of Albertson's, hoping for a seat and some better luck. Very shortly I acquired another $11, so I went in and bought enough food to last a couple days, even though I'd already decided to head toward Bend, where some friends of the family live. After chowing down on some very welcome morsels, I started walking east along the road
that goes to Bend, eventually turning on my mental CD player and inserting Smashing Pumpkins' "Gish."