Secret Pop

Sep 19, 2004

The pound is sinking.

I took Audrey for a walk. Beulah and Justin live in my old neighborhood. Near where my last apartment in San Diego was. Near where my parents' house was. Near all the things I always used to drive past. And the weather today is cool. Almost chilly. Back-to-school weather. Fall weather. Leaf-peeping weather. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I would come back to San Diego on the weekends and stay in this neighborhood with my parents. And it was fall. And I would go running in weather like this. And every song on my MP3 mix would make my guts churn. Even the stupid techno crap. Everything had significance. Everything tugged at overused heartstrings. Everything kept my mind racing and my heart pounding and my legs pumping. Who knew nostalgia could be so cardiovascular.

But that was three years ago. And my parents don't live in that house anymore. And I don't come back every weekend. And I don't always go running. And I almost never listen to that MP3 player anymore. Its battery doesn't like to hold its juice. Everything has changed. But when it's cool like this, something about it betrays a constant. The smell of the air. The grey of the sky. A little bit too brisk a breeze. A week ago, the summer was murdering me. And all of a sudden, it's time for a sweater and lip balm. You won't catch me complaining, though. I love both sweaters and lip balm.

Everything changes. I'm about to head back up to L.A. That familiar drive. So often done as Sunday was winding down. Yesterday, when we were on the road, we found ourselves navigating streets I used to drive all the time. Corridors that used to be welcoming. Second nature. I remembered them. If only to be able to identify all that is no longer the same. When I first moved to L.A., and I had to drive past these freeway exits late on Sunday nights as I was returning to my work week, they used to make me feel small and sad and insignificant and powerless. And I remember thinking to myself that someday they would represent something else. Someday, different buttons would be pushed and for different reasons. Someday, my re-wiring would be complete and I could get back to being the person I used to think I wanted to be. Even that has changed.

I am free of much that was once weighty and worrisome. I don't get stuck in that sentimental bog so much. My balloon has fewer sandbags in the basket. But even that weighs on me. Worries me. With all this weight falling away, will I just drift off into the sky and never find my way back down? Won't I? There has been an urgency in me. It has been pointed out to me before. It has been a fuel for my fire. An impetus to carry cameras or to buy paints or to sharpen my pencil or to type madly in the wee hours. I worry when things upset that balance. That I will stop doing anything because my creative urge is intentionally antibiotic, wiping out any nagging fear or doubt or angst that persists. I worry that I might find myself an organism in stasis if my slate ever gets wiped that clean.

But I don't suppose I have so much to worry about. Obviously, a drop in temperature and a short walk with my dog are enough to send me into a drippy reverie. I can't be that far ahead of the game.

Last night, there were many moments when I found myself stuck. Stuck on a word or a thought or a memory or a promise. It happens most when I'm in unfamiliar places. When I have nothing to hold onto. No view of the horizon. I have been to a number of big rock shows in the past few years. Maybe I'm just tracking through where they all fell on my timeline. Whether I wore a hat. Whether I forgot to bring sunscreen. Whether I stopped to write things down. Last night was nothing like the night before it. How many more times will I be able to say that?

Everything changes. Everything has changed. Everything is exactly the same.

No comments: