Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

this reads a lot gloomier than how I actually feel

so here’s a pretty good Nirvana track I thought I’d post just to beat my brother to the punch.

my trip to Indiana for the Thanksgiving holiday wasn’t exactly eventful.
well, that’s not entirely true. both Josh and Smith now have beards, my uncle had a jacuzzi installed on his deck (three weeks old and still cum free!) and the family dog is officially old.
and that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself, didn’t have a good time. I saw lots and lots of people I hadn’t seen in, literally, years. watched a lot of football. ate like I’d never get another chance at it again. drank too much, one night in particular. slept too late. ran too little. went to Aldi’s with mom. learned how to make a pie crust. everything, in excess. I ate, like, half a dozen deviled eggs in a four-hour stretch on Thursday. cause that’s how the Pilgrims did it; that’s how they rolled.
but it still felt short. it always feels short, going to Valparaiso. I feel like I’d need a good couple of months of being in the vicinity for it to not feel truncated. I don’t know what I’d hope to accomplish, what sort of truth I’d be trying to encounter again. maybe that Valparaiso is still the small town I remember growing up in, and everything about Chicagoland — its look, its feel, its smell and taste, were rather everyday truths, and not unfamiliar. but they are. my reality is elsewhere.

they made a movie out of “The Road” which I’m pretty hyped up to see. I read this book about a year ago, and then loaned it to my dad a few months back. it was returned to me, what, three weeks ago? so I read it again. it doesn’t take much to read, it goes by fast, and Cormac McCarthy writes in a pretty hand, even if he’s writing about the death of the world and mankind’s utter loss of humanity.
but anyway, I finished it for the second time while sitting in front of the bus station in downtown Gary on Sunday afternoon, waiting for my mother to pick me up. I was hung over, and it was very bright outside. unseasonably warm. Gary, I got to thinking, would have made a great locale to shoot “The Road” in. lots of trash, dogs, burned-out houses. that industrial plant smell. wide avenues, with no one on them. a lot of decay. being a spot-on location for scenery from a post-apocalyptic novel isn’t something you usually put on a brochure. but you have to hang your hat on something, I suppose.
mom drove me by my grandmother’s childhood home on the 1700 block of Madison Street. she wasn’t sure if the house would still be standing, but it was. the roof was caved in, and a lot of windows were busted out, and it didn’t look inhabitable, but it’s still there among many empty lots. grandma, who’s writing a massive family memoir that I can’t wait to get my damn hands on, has devoted a chapter to a description of this home back when she lived in it. three bedrooms, nine people, one can, coal-heated, with Russian newspapers — changed daily — plastered to the floor of the kitchen. kind of hard to marry the two images, but it’s quite fitting with the Gary narrative I’ve strung together in my head since my childhood. there’s the city that my family speaks wistfully of, and there’s the reality of today, crime-ridden and economically depressed.
it’s a hell of a place, Gary is. it’s no South African township or Sao Paolo, I will acknowledge. but there’s depressed cities, and then there’s depressed cities. I’d say you’ve really got to see it to believe it, but I don’t think you’d like it that much. so you can take my word for it, if you’d like.