Tuesday, April 30, 2002

let the midnight special shine the light on me

I just really do not understand George McClellan. Why was he such an idiot? Is there any other historical figure that had so many opportunities for greatness literally handed to him, only to fumble them. And not in a small way. Like a playoff game, last couple minutes of a close game big nasty fumble for no reason. I just finished watching Part 3 of Ken Burns' "Civil War" documentary, and throughout I was utterally dumbfounded by McClellan's decsisions some hundred plus years after he made them. Thinking about history, legacy, and what it must be like to be such a historical laughingstock. McClellan is long dead, yet I still feel shame for his guffaws - his legacy, perhaps, means nothing since he, the one who would suffer embarrassment is no longer of this world. But yet it does, and I'm not exactly sure why. Honestly, though, what the hell was his problem?

Today, I talked to Bonnie on the phone and heeding her advice, decided to go apply at Best Buy. I drove there at about five. I sat in the parking lot, marveled at the blue sky, the afternoon sunlight, a bundle of cut, brown, curly hair that blew across the parking lot, and people - oh God, the people - walking with appliances of all sorts, computers, VCR's, DVD players, and other acronyms of this, our machine age. Machines hoisted in their arms, clutched to their chests - rockabye baby. And I sat there, feeling a feeling of idleness, contentment, and overpouring love for all things. The white painted lines on the asphalt were mesmerizing for all the sense of order they managed to create - cars, people operating them, human fucking beings, parking exactly how these painted lines dictated. Creating a strict order on this huge field of asphalt - but a moving, a tranistory order - which doesn't make sense, seemingly oxymoronic - but yes, order out of the transitoriness. A work by Alexander Calder - or a choreographed piece of vehicular performance art. Whatever it was, whatever it wasn't - it was part of the scene, which in turn was a small part of what I was thinking about, which in turn was what made me want to sit in the car for just a little while.

Which eventually extended into a long while. I turned my car off. Sat there, watching people come and go, and decided to read more of The Ice Storm, which I started reading last night. I have not been able to put it down, being somewhat of a pervert and so continuing to read and turn pages faster and faster to read more of the sexual hijinks, but continued reading it even after my libido subsided because of wild sentances which I ate up deliriously, hungry for more more more - who needs the sleep. The reading is the thing. Sentances, like painted parking spaces, creating a beautiful order, or at least, the sense of it. And really, if the two are different, would it matter? We'd never know, and that would be perfectly okay with me - finding comfort and life sustained in deft word choice. A world made coherent and containable - a front and back cover containing this sense of containment. Not constraint, however - just a comforting containment.

And so contained in my mom's minivan in a parking space in this shopping center's parking lot, I pulled out the book and read and read and read, noticed that it was getting darker out and would soon be too dark to read, so read faster and faster to finish the book. And at 7:30, I read the last page, then the last paragraph, the last sentance, the last word, the last letter, and then that period which possesses more finality then any other period anywhere else in the book for some strange reason. Or if you're Andrea Dimino, not strange, but simply because we (as readers) "privlege the ending." Well, duh, thanks a lot, I never knew that - but why? - "why?" is the question at hand. I sort of wanted there to be more, for that to not be the end, but it was, and so coming down from the trip, trying to put everything in some perspective. Pausing over that last bit, taking my time, and perhaps saying the last words out loud in an exhale of sorts.

And, well, after that, I did not feel like going to apply at wherever it was I had driven to, and instead drove home with my headlights on, feeling the feeling that I think CCR is referring to in "Midnight Special." And if that song moves you in a way where you think you could cry (but never actually do - you just believe that you probably could) - cry with the belief that you had encountered "the Midnight Special," too - that you knew what it was - then perhaps you know what I am talking about.

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