Monday, April 19, 2010

Hell Yeah, That's Exactly What's Been Missing From My Life, A Three-Disc Deluxe Blu-Ray Edition Of "The Incredible Hulk"

What the hell does space even mean in this context, when there is no bottom of the page and somehow finding a way to fall all the way down there to the bottom is the one solid goal of the day? When the presumptive "you" can't even see all the empty page down there beneath the words "down there beneath"? I'm just going to write --or type-- as fast as I can, because I really don't have anything to say, but feel like it's been much too long since I've said anything at all. How did this country become so lax in the credentialing of celebrities? And do I really want to watch Charles Barkley and Ben Stein debate some damn thing or another on Larry King? Seriously, what is wrong with us (and don't lie to me; something is seriously wrong with every one of us, or we wouldn't engage in monkey business like this)? Honestly, how do you take anyone seriously anymore? Celebrity sickens me, the absurd hyper-hyphenated nature of the ubiquitous class of talking heads: Actor-game show host-comedian-economist-political pundit vs. Ex-NBA star-professional provocateur-Pro Am golfer-celebrity wrestling referee-purported political aspirant. I saw this one on a screen beneath some completely unfamiliar face and it made me laugh out loud: Actor-musician-activist-children's book author. And that description could actually apply to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people in this world. My God, what is that woman wearing (not the A-M-A-CBA)? And why am I watching this? Because I am bored, and when I am good and truly bored I watch television. This usually only happens when I am in motel rooms, but is also an undesired side effect of watching baseball on TV, which I am capable of doing obsessively for at least six months a year, and which I would somehow be able to hoodwink myself into believing did not actually qualify as watching television if it weren't for the fact that I restlessly channel surf between innings and following the last out of the game. I sometimes feel like driving for hours through darkness in any direction and then just checking into a place. Tonight is one such night. I'm extremely picky about the sorts of places I check into, but not picky in the way that I assume most people are picky. I assume this primarily because virtually every place I do check into is almost entirely --if not entirely-- devoid of other occupants. I don't believe I've ever encountered a "No Vacancy" sign, and I'm pretty certain that I've checked into places that were no longer even in business, or that were closed for the season, places that were dark and had long since vanquished any expectation of future revenues and thus were so surprised by the appearance of someone wishing to check in that they took my money and gave me a key to a room that had clearly been unoccupied for many months, if not many years. Fine with me. One such place I checked into not that long ago had had the only window entirely removed, a fact the owner attempted to obscure by hastily drawing a heavy pleated rubber curtain across the space where the window had once been. It was not a warm night, I should mention, and all night long trucks blasted by on the busy state highway just outside my room. Still, I lodged no complaints. What I most like are dim places of a certain vintage, places long on faded or downtrodden atmosphere and short on what the business traveler would call "amenities." It's a bonus (almost expected by now)if the art above the bed is incongruous to the point of ridiculousness --I recently encountered a giant and gory depiction of Sherman's March to the Sea on the wall of a room in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I don't cotton to out-and-out squalor, mind you, but I've endured it on plenty of nights. I do prefer, however, that the proprietors of such places retain a modicum of pride or even dignity, however delusional. I like to have a sense that the scarcity of guests is no real fault of either the place or the people who run it, but rather a product of economics, geography, and the general fucked-up priorities and squanderous proclivities of the average dumb ass. Ideally, and most often, the kinds of places I check into are far enough away from my home that getting to them provides me with the satisfying sense that I have gone somewhere, that I have traveled a sufficient distance and arrived in an unfamiliar place under the cover of darkness. I live in a big city, a city of disorienting freeways, constant road construction, and inexcusable congestion, so when I go in search of a place to check into I am almost always --almost unconsciously-- going in search of small towns and space. I like to time my arrival at the places I check into so it is late and dark and I am tired and don't entirely know where I am. Ideally the office will be dark, and part of someone's home, and I will have to ring a bell to summon a proprietor. In a perfect scenario it will be raining or snowing, and I will have been driving through thick fog, and the place in question --the place I intend to check into-- will suddenly loom up out of the fog --a beacon of forlorn, minimalist, antiquated neon-- and I will have the unmistakable and thrilling sense that I have found exactly the refuge I am in need of. What, really, does it say about me that when I hear the word "sanctuary," so often the first image that comes to mind is a park-at-your-door motel in the middle of North Dakota?


  1. so this is where you are!


  2. It's also fun to recall those places not checked into, such as that comically shabby flophouse on Woodward Avenue outside Detroit (in Royal Oak, maybe?). Behind the smeared, bullet-proof window there were three generations of the proprietor's family in the throes of a bitter argument. The prospect of a paying customer did not a thing to quell the venom nor the volume of their discussion. Golf clubs and other worthless items I presumed to be "collateral" were strewn everywhere, but what I remember best was the patriarch amid this tempest trying gamely to negotiate with me an agreeable tariff for an evening's rest. As it was clear there would be no rest, neither was the deal consummated. And that is how I discovered the Sagamore instead.