the circular runner

Thanksgiving trip–final leg

In life, media, observations, writing on November 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm

OK, so I’m here at a Starbucks in the middle of California–Soledad, California to be exact, which means solitude in Spanish even though this place produces anything but.  For one thing, it’s one of those towns that’s kind of typical out here in the West.  You’re driving in complete blackness because there are only fields for miles and miles (you know this because of the odd smells that waft through the windows) in any case, you’re driving and then, BAM! POW! every national-chain-eating-establishment is there before you sparkling in neon-luminosity. It makes you wonder where everyone who works here lives.  I know these coffee/burger making, gas station attending, cashier-people live around somewhere, though I’d like to know exactly where.  Could it be that Starbucks has barracks for all of them? I should ask, but I fear that I might find out that I’ve hit on the truth.

So, why am I here?  I’ve pulled over because I wanted to take a break and try to work on my script for an hour.  But before I do that, I thought I’d share a few more thoughts about road trips: specifically, I am going to share how I get by during all these miles of smelly darkness: podcasts.  This, I believe is a progression, though I’m not sure it’s a healthy one.  I used to make this drive a lot when I was in my early 20s.  Then, I was all about radio.  Most of my friends who drove with me wanted CD’s, but I used to argue that listening to local radio was better because then we’d get a sense of the communities we were rushing by.  It’s true that then, the selection was limited to Christian radio and country, and now, the selection is only slightly broader in that there is also Christian Spanish, but I tried.  Because I’m in Cali, there were a good number of NPR stations for large chunks of the trip, but there were also hours’ worth of NPR silence, so I listened to music back then.  Now, with ITunes, I switched over from CD’s to Podcasts of NPR shows I love, which now that I think of it, is a pretty isolated activity except that I like to imagine that there was once a time when lots of people heard the same show, which means that I’m communing with them–sort of.  But now, my love of hearing people talk has moved me even further out into social bubble status.  Now, I’m hooked on the myriad DIY podcasts, which never played on radios for many people.  They are, for the most part, done by comics, some lonely, many neurotic or bitter–and they are produced in garages.  So they are made by loners for loners.

For seven hours, driving at high speeds, I have been listening to cranky comics go off–usually about themselves and their selfish narcissism, which I admit somewhat ironically leads me back to me.  As one of the comics said, “my listeners, by the very nature of the podcast, are lonely, socially awkward young men.”  OK, I’m not so young.  That much I know, but I’m not sure where I fall with regard to the rest.  I’d be tempted to say that all of this makes me want to go osme place and think on it except that that would mean that I’m using my time to think about myself, which I think might be the dictionary definition of a self-involved narcissist, so I’ll stop myself and think about something else.  What?  I have no idea.  Suggestions?

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  1. […] those of you who read the last post on my Thanksgiving down in Los Angeles, you know that I went through a town called Soledad while […]

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