Muppet subway conductors, and also California

Listening to: “Girl in the War” – Josh Ritter

For reasons I can’t even quite understand, I had a certain amount of money to spend on plane tickets that I had to use ASAP. After briefly suckling, then abandoning, dreams of France or Guatemala, I settled on California–that great undiscovered West Coast I’ve never seen. Well, OK, technically I was in LA for a few days when I was seven; but all I remember is riding Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, getting locked in a closet by my mom’s friend’s hideous children, and a tall man yelling at me on a basketball court. Why I was on a basketball court, I’ll never know.

So really, never really seen the West Coast. I’ll spend a few days in San Diego to send off an old, great friend before she gets married (!!! I know, I flipped the fuck out). Then, LA for a day or so to appease aformentioned mother, who will be visiting aformentioned friend. I believe the aformentioned hideous children are in college now. Then, at last, San Francisco, that city I’ve meant to visit for ages. The place I’ve been having recurring dreams about lately (If there really is a craft brewery/sting operation on the highest point of the Golden Gate Bridge run by the KGB, I hope to find it). I also hope to fulfill several cheesy dreams, like driving on the Pacific Coast Highway, getting sloshed in Napa Valley, and visiting locations Jack Kerouac mentions in The Dharma Bums. Probably won’t get to climb the Matterhorn, but in case I do:

Then would come the wild lyrical drizzling rain, from the south, in the wind, and I’d say “The taste of rain, why kneel?” and I’d say “Time for hot coffee and a cigarette, boys,” addressing my imaginary bhikkus. The moon became full and huge and with came the Aurora Borealis over Mount Hozomeen (“Look at the void and it is even stiller,” Han Shan had said in in Japhy’s translation); and in fact I was so still all I had to do was shift my crossed legs in the alpine grass and I could hear the hoofs of deers running away somewhere. Standing on my head before bedtime on that rock roof of the moonlight I could indeed see that the earth was truly upsidedown and man a weird vain beetle full of strange ideas walking around upsidedown and boasting, and I could realize that man remembered why this dream of planets and plants and Plantagenets was built out of the primordial essence. Sometimes I’d get mad because things didn’t work out well, I’d spoil a flapjack, or slip in the snowfield while getting water, or one time my shovel went sailing down into the gorge, and I’d be so mad I’d want to bite the mountaintops and would come in the shack and kick the cupboard and hurt my toe. But let the mind beware, that though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are pretty glorious.

But I, per usual, digress. I’ve been to three concerts three weeks in a row at the Somerville Theatre which, btdubs, is a kickass venue. Not the fact that you hafta sit down, which is lame, but the acoustics are the kickass part. Saw the Eels two weeks ago, Kimya Dawson last week (plus this AWESOME French band called L’Orchidee d’Hawai whose shit I can only describe as Spy Music), and Colin Meloy (o’ the Decemberists) on Tuesday. Jameson got us these sweet tickets, but some assholes took our seats and the manager smelled far too awful to be talked to for long. Still, it was a great show. Next week, seeing Harry and the Potters (!) cause I’m a huuuuuge dork. Huge. Unapologetic, but huge. Like, the size of an Elizabethan goiter.

What else, what else? Last night, I watched the movie version of Atonement after polishing off the book last week. Joe Wright’s a great fucking director. Those long tracking shots (the ballroom one in Pride and Prejudice and the Dunkirk one in Atonement) make me hot. At the end of his commentary track, when the movie ends and the credits roll, and the “Director: Joe Wright” tag flashes across the screen, Wright just goes, ” ‘es a cunt.” Hilarious.

Oh, and I started writing a song. You don’t know what it’s about. You don’t know. Ha.

Tonight after work, at South Station, I glanced up at the Red Line train as it was pulling onto the platform. As one of the driver’s compartments was flying past, I swear that the guy driving wasn’t a guy at all. It was a Muppet. Like, a humanoid Muppet, that was wearing a Metro Boston Transit Authority uniform, but a Muppet. Felt skin, big googly eyes, floppy mouth, off-putting earnestness, the whole shebang. A Muppet. Fucking driving a subway car. It happened, motherfuckers.

Don’t look at me like that.

No come on. Cut it out.


I’ll kick your ass.

I will.

One thought on “Muppet subway conductors, and also California

  1. 1. I love San Francisco and you will too. Climb Coit Tower. And maybe pay a visit to Sausalito.
    And here’s a long quote from ‘Staggering Work’. I followed his directions and the view is amazing. “The bridge ends, the torn cotton clouds breaking up immediately, then it’s clear, Easter blue, and we’re on 101, but just for a second — two exits and then we get off at Alexander, then come back under 101 and up the Headlandsdrive. As we climb with the road, right away above the Golden Gate, the clouds are suddenly below us, rolling through the bridge, fleece pulled through a harp.

    Toph and I keep going up the hill because you have to go up to get to Black Sands, first straight up the hill, the road winding in and out, past all the tourists stopped for the view, looking down on the Golden Gate, and every time we double back toward the bridge, the view, biblical, presents itself, the view where one sees Treasure Island, and Alcatraz, then all ofRichmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley, and Oakland and then the Bay Bridge, then the white jagged seashells of downtown, the Golden Gate, blood red, then therest of the city, the Presideio, the avenues–

    But we keep going, and as the road continues, winding up, the cars thin out,and at the very top of the hill/mountain, there are only a few sightseers left, and they are turning arond to go back down, three-point turning right at that WWII-era tunnel at the top, because it certainly seems like the road ends, right there, at the top of that hill–

    But then the road continues, and there is a gate, a flimsy metal gate, right there, and it is open, it’s probably always open. We keep going, not slowing…

    The road, now a one-way, heads straight for the water, and it looks for about twenty seconds like we’re going to go straight over…so we go slow, then the road starts bending right, and then down, and in a second we’re driving parallel to the water, a few hundred feet up of course, for a while without even a visible cliffside to the left, just a sheer drop — and then suddenly we see the Headlands whole, green and mohair hills, ocher velour,the sleeping lions, the lighthouse far to the left, unbelievable given we’re ten minutes from the city, this vast bumpy land, could be Ireland or Scotland or the Falklands or wherever, and we snake down, with the road bending back and forth along the cliffside…lookee here, ha ha, look at this!”

    2. I saw Harry and the Potters in this TINY venue a couple of years ago and it is one of my favorite concerts I’ve ever been to. Yup, we’re dorks.

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