The End of the Road Trip

I’ve been led to believe that Savannah is about to be hit by some kind of Biblical storm, and so I’ve scurried inside to shield myself from the elements.

Caught up with Project Runway briefly and have been catching up on the week’s news. My comrades have now decamped — one to “surprise” his wife by returning a day early (being pretty shrewd, she figured it out), the other to make a cameo appearance in a student film his sister is making. I considered heading back myself, but decided against it on grounds of (a) obscene change fees (I object on principle) and (b) the sense that I’d loll around, taking not-so-hot iPhone photos of my beautiful surroundings. Savannah really is tremendous. I hadn’t intended to go wandering for as long as I did. Actually, a friend of mine scolded me and insisted she’d only continue our phone conversation “if she heard birds chirping,” which was, of course, for the best.

Mildly funny story: yesterday afternoon, around 3 or 4 PM, we walked by a restaurant in a pink sandstone house and briefly glanced at the menu. A strikingly pretty woman, the maitre d’ I assume, came out to greet us, gently suggesting that we stop inside. We mumbled something to the effect of, “Well, we might — we’re looking into places to eat later.” She said, really charmingly, “You should come here — it’s super-wonderful.” At which point, of course, we almost died, so inevitably we came a few hours later after some perfunctory discussion of other options. And yes, she wasn’t there. We were sorely disappointed, but I think we were good sports about it and had a very satisfying meal. My married friend was, of course, totally indifferent to this dire misfortune.

But yes, the road trip has been, overall, super-wonderful. Because I’m a non-driver, I was tasked with bringing music. The trouble is that I hosted a going-away party for a friend the night before, so I had to grab whatever physical CDs I had lying around. Fortunately, it was a pretty decent selection — we particularly liked the Bat for Lashes album, and an insane mix from my friend Emily Ryan Lerner, which she made in light of my love of Supersystem. Her annotations were easily the best part — kind of an on-the-fly history of a sensibility, and, rather sweetly, of her romance with her rocker husband Evan Kindley, who is also a budding academic. Evan’s brother Colin recorded the best track, “Significant Object,” with Rebecca Schiffman. I might try to post it here when I get back home. The song is the perfect soundtrack to the mid-1990s claymation teen romance I’ve been meaning to make. Another great mix highlight: Michael Stipe’s sister Lynda’s band Oh-OK!

Somehow, though, the song I have stuck in my craw is a non-mix song: The Weakerthans’ “One Great City!,” which I’m guessing the good people at Destination Winnipeg consider more than a little counterproductive.

Running counter to all this, one recurring theme of the trip has been the fact that the three of us have weirdly retained every Big Pun and Fat Joe and Terror Squad lyric from the 1990s. To understand the register of this, in light of our frank nerdiness, you have to think of the scene in Office Space with the pasty fellow rolling up his windows. I was thinking, “Oh man, this is going to be really embarrassing at some point,” when I realized: “Oh wait, this is really embarrassing now.” One day, when Ma$e is performing at Vegas with the bedraggled remnants of Junior M.A.F.I.A. and an elderly Phife Dawg in some bizarro ’90s Revue, we’ll be there in the front row, toothless and hovering near death.