My Daily Day

Thursday, June 30, 2005

On Thursday, June 30, 2005
he felt safe. And the next morning he lay on a lounge bed in the screened porch surrounded by plants and a giant cloth doll wearing a t-shirt that read "Where the fuck is La Crosse, Wisconsin?" And maybe that was enough.

On Tuesday, June 28, 2005
he sat by a campfire on the shore of Lake Superior, writing. "Sometimes my mind is chaos, ideas popping, words and images chasing each other, my thoughts active and crowded. Sometimes my mind is a blank slate, clear, unperturbed, tacit. Sometimes I am simply the sound of my breath and the ringing in my ears. Sometimes I have nothing to say and these are probably the only times I can open my mouth and say anything remotely honest.

The ultimate goal of music is silence. The ultimate goal of travel is homecoming. The sound of waves rolling in, thunder distant across the world's largest freshwater lake, the stream behind me hissing, the fire crackling and drifting dusty smoke across my face. The darkening gray sky. Soon it will rain. Yes, I am in love. My friends and this quiet and the breeze on my face. Only when I am still and quiet am I part of something larger, of anything else. When I am without mission, without intent, or expectations, do I fully appreciate the miracle of my insignificance."

On Thursday, June 23, 2005
he read the following passage in Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski, "I watched them come out of the water, glistening, smooth-skinned and young, undefeated. I wanted them to want me. But never out of pity. Yet, despite their smooth untouched bodies and minds they were still missing something because they were as yet basically untested. When adversity finally arrived in their lives it might come too late or too hard. I was ready. Maybe."

On Saturday, June 18, 2005
the Kissers were headed through Montana mountains, east on Interstate 90, in heavy rain, when the semi ahead of them suddenly jack-knifed on the slick highway. Ken slammed on the brakes but there was no time. The wheels locked, and the van skidded at the overturned trailer blocking their lane.

Pete shut his eyes.

But there was no impact. No sickening screech of tearing metal and shattered glass. The temperature changed and Pete felt a cool breeze on his face. He heard birdsong. Tentatively, he opened his eyes. He and Nate were sitting on a tree trunk in Knaresborough Forest, in Essex, England, circa 1211. The rest of the band was nowhere to be seen.

Baffled, Nate and Pete wandered aimlessly through the mideival woods until hunger overtook them. But a forest officer of King John caught them poaching deer on royal property and issued the standard punishment. Their eyes were gouged out and their testicles cut off.

On Friday, June 17, 2005
he sat in a coffee shop, enjoying a cup of dark roast and talking to a local fellow. Then a small group of people emerged from a room near the back. Two of them, a young man and woman, had white plaster masks drying on their faces, covering everything except their nostrils. They were led by the arm out of the coffee shop and down the street.

Pete inquired.

"It's a trust walk," someone explained. "Their friends take them for a walk, but they can't see, so they have to trust their friends."

About an hour later, while driving out of Butte, the Kissers passed a boxing gym. The sign out front read, "Wanna fight? $125 win, $50 lose. No experience necessary."

On Thursday, June 16, 2005
he found $11 in the breast pocket of a brown polyester suit while shopping at the St. Vincent thrift store in Butte. Later that night the Kissers arrived at the club. The walls around the stage were covered with breasts, dozens of them, in painting and sculpture. Kari said: "Oh, that is SO annoying."

On Wednesday, June 15, 2005
while running in Missoula he passed a word spray painted in red on the sidewalk. He ran a little further and came across a second word. For a block, the message read, "The . . . best . . . part . . . is . . . a . . . redneck . . . bent . . . over."

On Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Pete called Michael Stipe on the phone. "Michael," he said. "My ears are ringing. I'm worried about losing my hearing. Tell me it's okay. Tell me that a partial hearing loss is just part of being a musician and that it doesn't impair one's quality of life!" A lengthy pause hung on the other end of the line. Finally, Michael Stipe said, "Who are you? And how did you get this number?"

On Monday, June 13, 2005
the Kissers camped in the Rockies just across the Montana border from Idaho. Pete woke in the morning refreshed, drank some of Ken's campfire coffee, make some toast, and hiked up along the stream that ran behind the campsite while listening to Corelli concertos on his discman. The incline got steeper until he had to leave his discman behind and use both hands as an insurance against slipping off the precipice into the rocky stream bed below. He came up on a shaded, rocky cove at the bottom of a twenty foot waterfall, looking up through the spray where the sun shot dusty light through scrawny pine trees, hanging out at slight angles from solid rock.

On Sunday, June 12, 2005
he enjoyed a somewhat guided tour of Seattle. A brilliant view of the downtown skyline from Gas Works Park and a visit to the Seattle locks, and the salmon ladder.

On Thursday, June 09, 2005
after a show in Eugene, Oregon, the Kissers drove over to a different club, packed with recent college graduates dancing amid much sweat and alcohol consumption. After some consideration, Pete went crowd surfing.

On Wednesday, June 08, 2005
he learned of a campaign to bring knee pads into fashion.

On Monday, June 06, 2005
he passed a young man screaming into a pay phone, "It's just my life! It's just my entire fucking life here!"

On Sunday, June 05, 2005
he sat alone in a hot tub late at night. The hot tub was outside on the porch behind Kari's parents' hillside house. The lights of San Francisco glittered across the bay, and the suburbs stretched out towards him, street lights, highways, billboards, all tangled in one broad sheet of pin point lights clouding the night sky where a few feeble constellations looked down past occassional aircraft and Pete, sitting silently with steam coming off his chest. He thought about time, the concept of possibility, he thought about fear, about loneliness, the stars and their questions humans have asked about them, he felt small and grateful for the unseen millions in the dark spaces beneath the lights, most asleep or trying. He felt surprised and a little scared at how little he could remember about old friends and a past love. He felt ancient and unborn, vital and futile, and for a moment before he dragged himself to bed, he knew, with as much certainty that he would die someday, that he might also live forever.

On Saturday, June 04, 2005
Joseph Conrad cornered Pete in a hotel room in Amsterdam, and said, "You are so full of stupid importance."

On Friday, June 03, 2005
he met a woman named Nancy Roscoe, a 37 year old lawyer from Denver in the middle of her "first divorce," as she put it. Her name struck Pete as curious, because his paternal grandmother and grandfather were named Nancy and Roscoe. She bought Pete a drink and they talked about books by James Joyce that neither of them had read.

On Thursday, June 02, 2005
the Kissers, sans Ken, watched the Brewers lose to the Dodgers in L.A., sitting right behind some other sullen Brewers fans.

On Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Pete, Joe, Nate, and Kari, saw the Brewers destroy the Padres, 5 to 2, in San Diego.