Friday, February 16 2007
A Day in the Milam Life:
In Which Our Protagonist Travels to Chattanoogsville to Play Music:
Hijinks, Exhaustion Ensue:
(AKA I Don't Know If I'm in a Valley Or Peak)
Chris says to pillow, "Be good to me. 'Tis a long day tomorrow."
Pillow says back, "I need washing."
Alarm says to Chris, "I am a horrible instrument of early-waking death."
Chris says back, "Let's do this again in 10 minutes."
Alarm says to Chris, "Hello. I believe we've met before."
Chris says back, "My God, you're right!"
Alarm replies, "You have a long day today. You should get up now."
Chris says, "Yesit'strueineedtobeontheroadsoonasd;lkfj;lfaj;dja;dfkjfkj................"
Chris says to Chris, "You just fell asleep for another half hour. Get a shower now, idiot. And stop talking in third-person."
Chris says back, "Right-o."
Hot water says to me, "I do not live here anymore."
I say back, "But what about--"
Cold water interrupts, "I'll be filling in today. I believe we've met before..."
Open road. New mix entitled "Hardcore Troubadours Galore" to keep me company, including (but not limited to) Waits, Earle, Van Zandt, Lovett, Nelson, and Milam. Also, I left with a wet head and I'm pretty sure my hair has frozen. Will check back on that.
Coffee says, "Hello again."
Tiny bladder says back, "I'll be seeing plenty of you today."
I am, for some reason, always amazed when I travel without incident. Blue skies, no traffic, and I keep waiting on a pack of crazed brontosaurus to trample my Toyota.
I just lost an entire hour of my life. For those of you keeping track at home, that's:
60 minutes, 3600 seconds, or three episodes of The Office. Damn you, Eastern Time Zone!
Hey, look, "Runaway Truck Ramp." Hey, look, freaking fresh tracks on the Runaway Truck Ramp.
Check for brontosaurs. Coast is clear....for now.
I can't tell if that darn Augustana song is any good or not. Better listen again.
Still can't tell. Better listen again.
(Time elapses, trees regain foliage, kids grow up and get married, have children, grow beards, etc....)
Jury's still out on Augustana. But the jury is not out on one thing in particular: if I don't find a bathroom soon, my pants are in for big trouble.
Nooga, ho! Downtown Chattanoogsburg greets me with the fervor of a sleepy great-uncle with dimensia. Remember me? I was at the reunion last May! I played Yahtzee with you for three hours! Nothing?! Oh, go to hell old man.
I say to the bearded barista, "If you were me, and you don't tolerate lactose, and you've already had five cups of coffee today, and that coffee is sitting in your stomach like a lake of battery acid, what would you get?"
And the Barista says back, "Do you like soy?"
"Not really, no."
"Okay...do you like soy milk?"
"Not really, no."
"Okay....I don't know."
"I'll take some coffee then."
Remember that sleepy great uncle with dimensia? Give him epilepsy and a Superman complex, and that's me right now. Me + sixty hundred coffees - food = Speed Rampage.
Podcast over. I have a few hours to kill until dinner time. I think coffee sounds like a good idea.
Las Mas. Chips. Salsas. Some sort of Mexican seafood that is the only thing on the planet that could possibly make the situation in my body even more volatile. I declare war on my digestive system and win. And lose.
Playstation. The Warriors. I'm paid handsomely to beat up an entire squadron of homeless men brandishing baseball bats while my gang leader cheers me on from the rafters and throws down additional weaponry. I'd say that I can feel myself getting desensitized to this type of violence, but we all know that Grand Theft Auto did that years and years ago. Can yoooooou dig it?
Showtime. JJ's Bohemia says, "I am an oddly-shaped venue. I am very crowded. You will come to know me, and you will come to like it."
I say back, "You know what? I believe you."
The Gay John Waynes hit the stage.
The Neither Homosexual Nor Cowboy-Inspired Chris Milams hit the stage. Somehow, hours after I begin the workday, music ensues.
Fifty-year old woman in the front row says, "I can't remember the last time I was sober."
I say back, "You know what? I believe you."
Face of the fifty-year old woman in the front row says, "Hellooooooo!"
The floor says back, "I believe we've met before...."
Ladies and gentlemen: The Nim Nims. Meanwhile, I drink the first water ever ordered at JJ's Bohemia.
Nim Nims = finished. Face = rocked. Socks = off. Fragments = typed. Weird word/math equations = exhausted.
New mix slides into the stereo as I slide out of Noognation.
I realize that every time in my life I have ever glanced at the driver beside me, that driver is already staring me down. This can't be a coincidence.
I say, "Hello."
Everyone in my phonebook says back, "I'm asleep, dillweed."
I think of all the things I'm going to do with my regained hour. I can write a letter to my long-lost sweetheart. I can sponsor a starving child in Africa. I can call my state legislature and ask hard-nosed questions about what they're doing to protect the rights of their constituency.
I eat peanut butter and crackers.
I just remember Sal and his Monella. And how they're tight with peanut butter these days. My stomach mumbles something along the lines of, "I'll never trust you again." I reply, "You say that every time..."
I wonder how many other professions demand their professionals to commute literally hundreds of miles to work for 45 minutes. About this time, dozens of stationary red lights creep up to my right, a half mile down the road. All the trucks have stopped at the weigh station. I wonder if they all use the weigh station as a chance to talk, break, smoke, drink, and stretch before heading back out into nights like these. I wonder how much further they've got to drive tonight, and where they're coming from, and what they've got at home waiting for them, and what they've left behind, and what they talk about when they stop in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, under a nondescript sky and an anonymous landscape, at some unknown hour, and whether their bladders have adapted to ungodly habits of coffee consumption over the years. And then I pass the pack of red lights and only a black road and white lines spread out before me, like some meandering question, and I turn the wheel slightly, like I know the answer.
Scott Miller says, "This is a long goodnight."
I say back, "You ain't kidding."
Closer to where I started,
P.S. Pictures from the Noog, if you're interested...
The Nim Nims. Check 'em out.
M. Trevor Higgins. Master of music journalism, and scarf-wearing staunch heterosexuality.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press staff. Only the press would hold Coke cans and CD-Rs at a rock show.
Everyone loves an Irish boy.