My Daily Day

Saturday, July 30, 2005

On Saturday, July 30, 2005
while walking around a mall in Trenton, he thought about the Buddhist precept that reality is an illusion, that the tangible world in merely a surface, a party mask for some cosmic masquerade ball. Pete is no subjectivist, he believes that the things he can touch and taste are real, but this notion of the supremacy of appearances over substance resonated in a certain way with the shopping mall, our latter day temple to capitalist enterprise and consumption. There's
he read a copy of Spin magazine in the van. The magazine and Pete were getting along fine until an awkward silence descended around page 34. Pete coughed. The magazine cleared its throat and glanced around. Finally it said, "So what do you think of all this?" Pete thought for a moment.

"It's fun to speculate what will last and what won't. But the apparatus of pop music is so new that it's hard to make predictions. Prior to tin pan alley all music was basically either classical or folk. What will be remembered 250 years from now? Will the cultural phenomenon that was the Beatles be remembered? Probably. But I think we'll remember the Beatles much the same way we remember the French and Indian war, that is, vaguely. The average person on the street cannot tell you who Scarlatti was, so it's reasonable to assume that 250 years from now the average person will not be able to tell you who Michael Jackson was. Acts like Third Eye Blind, Smashmouth, forget about it. Even the Sex Pistols and Talking Heads are probably doomed to anonymity. It's only a matter of time."

Spin magazine crossed its legs and took a ponderous pull on its tobacco pipe. "Indeed."

On Friday, July 29, 2005
he said to the audience, "On behalf of the Kissers I would like to dedicate this next song to a dearly departed resident of Aspen, Colorado: the eminent Hunter S. Thompson. Now Hunter S. Thompson, Dr. of Journalism, spent his entire life searching for an honest man. And because he prized truth above all else, I can not tell the story I was about to tell. So I'll simply say that one time I did not meet Hunter S. Thompson. And one time he did not call me a depraved fiend. And one time he did not fire a forty-five caliber bullet through my paperback copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

On Monday, July 25, 2005
he knelt on the side of the interstate around Albany and puked into the grass.

On Sunday, July 24, 2005
he took a walk around Harvard Square as the sun descended over Cambridge. Gorgeous people with bright futures crowded the brick sidewalks and Pete thought, "I am not among you."

On Saturday, July 23, 2005
he led the recessional of Laura and Julian's wedding. Leading these newlyweds down the aisle with an accordion strapped to his chest was one of the supreme honors of his life.

On Thursday, July 21, 2005
while walking around a mall in Trenton, he thought about the Buddhist precept that reality is an illusion, that the tangible world in merely a surface, a party mask for some cosmic masquerade ball. Pete is no subjectivist, he believes that the things he can touch and taste are real, but this notion of the supremacy of appearances over substance resonated in a certain way with the shopping mall, our latter day temple to capitalist enterprise and consumption. There's a parallel with branding, with the use of a logo to embody an image, an ideal, and to use that image or ideal to sell a product. We all know now that Nike is not selling shoes so much as the idea of sport, that Starbucks is not selling coffee so much as the pseudo-intellectual atmosphere of the coffee shop. Likewise, the material things that people accumulate are often a faulty window to their inner life. What matters is not appearances but the inner substance of a person, we know this, and yet we often find ourselves judging each other based on appearances. But it's not enough to know that this person wears Prada, that this person drives a Volvo, that this person reads Voltaire, that this person listens to N'Sync. We need to know why they wear Prada, why they drive that Volvo, we must understand their motives to truly have any insight into another's behavior. Another person is a mysterious thing, and we are always trying to bridge that void, to penetrate that mystery, and in the shifting world of appearances perhaps all truly is illusion, perhaps reality is ephemeral and vague, and once again, in life and art, it's all a matter of interpretation and faith.

On Sunday, July 17, 2005
the show at Sin-e went well. Both of the opening bands were great, just great. Pete heartily endorses both Pants, and the Martha Dumptruck Massacre. The lead singer of Martha Dumptruck Massacre demanded, and received, a kiss on the cheek from all five Kissers after the show.

On Saturday, July 16, 2005
he elected to stay back at the apartment in Brooklyn while the rest of the band went in search of alcohol and revelry. 10:30 at night, the evening all to himself, lying on his back listening to records. If you have never lain down and listened to several records straight through, without the distraction of other people or activities, you really must try it. It's better than church.

On Friday, July 15, 2005
the Kissers played a quick round of Death Tennis.

On Wednesday, July 13, 2005
California Dreaming played on the restaurant intercom while they Kissers ate at Friendly's. Kari started singing along. Soon, to the bewilderment of nearby tables, the band was audibly harmonizing, "stopped into a church, I passed along the way, got down on my knees, and I began to pray . . ."

On Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Pete and Nate were wrestling on the sidewalk outside the club in Worcester, after the show. A cop pulled up and asked Ken if it was a real fight or they were just rough-housing. Ken explained, "They're friends, just messing around." The cop drove off and two other squad cars prowled by.

On Monday, July 11, 2005
he and Ken visited Lexington and Concord. In Lexington they sood in a grassy park the size of a city block, where 230 years earlier the Shot Heard Round the World was fired and eight colonists died in a brief altercation that started the Revolutionary War.

In Concord, with dusk approaching, they passed the Old Mange where Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, and walked up a path to the North Bridge where a group of colonists repelled the British Army on April 19, 1775. The area around the bridge looked much the way it had for two hundred years, except for a backhoe and a blaze orange construction fence, and a port-a-potty. A slow, murky river seperated them from a hilly field, overgrown and surrounded by woods. Not a modern building or road in sight. The light was yellowing with the sun's descent, a sideways wash of light, and small insects hovered over the field like dust mites. The surface of the river was dark and glossy but its ripples occassionally flashed with tangled sunlight. Not a sound.

On Sunday, July 10, 2005
he fell asleep in Boston. As he slept, a demolition crew pulled up and silently disassembled the city, brick by brick, carting off the buildings and bridges and roads by truck in a matter of hours. Pete was now sleeping on an open expanse of ground where Boston once stood. Around five in the morning a light rain fell over everything. Still Pete slept soundly. Bits of green flowered across the wide, desolate plain, the newly exposed soil running thick with plant life, that by noon had matured into a forest of towering pine trees and graceful elms. Pete woke to the songs of unseen birds, streaks of sunlight angled down from the canopy to pool on the forest floor. Something moved in the bushes nearby. "Oh hello," he said, "It's you."

On Saturday, July 09, 2005
an hour and a half into the e-mail he thought, man, it hasn't felt this good to write in years.

On Friday, July 08, 2005
he read the following passage in A Separate Peace by John Knowles. "Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him. It is the moment when his emotions acheive their most powerful sway over him, and afterward when you say to this person "the world today" or "life" or "reality" he will assume that you mean this moment, even if it is fifty years past. The world, through his unleased emotions, imprinted itself upon him, and he carries the stamp of that passing moment forever."

On Monday, July 04, 2005
while watching the 4th of July fireworks, he met a muscled, pale-faced kid name Trevor. They got into a conversation about their country, about patriotism, and national identity, while standing on the Union Terrace as colored explosions lit the sky over Lake Mendota. Trevor finally told Pete that he had just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. He's been home for two weeks now, discharged from the Army. They talked about the war, and Trevor admitted he had a difficult time readjusting to civilian life. He could no longer relate to his old friends, and his conversations with his family were at first awkward and strained, though improving. Trevor pulled a slip of paper from his pocket and showed it to Pete, a wrinkled passage from The Odyssey he'd been carrying around since returning.

"Alas! The goddess was right to warn me of the trials I would face. Look what clouds Zeus has piled up in the heavens, and what raging winds he's loosed upon me. There is no escaping this. My end has come. Ah, how much luckier were those who fell at Troy, and what ill fortune prevented me from being killed back there, as I fought over dead Achilles, and the enemy's spears fell round me in their thousands! I would be lying now beneath a lofty tomb, in everlasting glory; but instead fate has decreed I must be lost without a grave, without a single stone to remind men of the spot where the unlucky son of Laertes met his death." The phrase 'lost without a grave' was underlined.

On Sunday, July 03, 2005
The Kissers drove home to Madison after a show in Minneapolis. Pete reclined in the passenger seat, his head on a pillow, unable to sleep. The countryside was dark and only the dials on the dashboard lit the dim interior of the van. He watched the speedometer, lit orange and white, kept steady at 70 miles per hour by Nate, who drove wearing headphones, listening to his iPod. Pete thought about the previous two summers, how remote they now seemed. Two summers ago he lived on Wilson street, in a slightly dilapidated house with green asphalt shingles, one of the amenities of which was a wide, covered front porch, where Pete often sat in his bathrobe on not yet humid mornings, drinking coffee and reading the paper. He remembered himself sitting there, barefoot, on a bright clear day, unperturbed, rested, idle. What a foreign concept now, waking in the same bed every morning, making coffee and sitting on one's front porch with a morning to kill. He closed his eyes and listened to the hum of the highway and the low whine of the engine.