July 11, 2003

One pure thought?

So I've been scarfing down episodes of This American Life to listen to on the road trip. I'm recording six at a time using Audio Hijack, normalizing them and creating MP3s. As Stephen rightly pointed out it's become a bit of an obsession. The more story synopses I read the less selective I become. This morning I double-checked to make sure I had found all of the stories by Scott Carrier, my new personal hero. Then I searched on google and found that he has audio stories posted on other websites too..I'll never keep up. This is a nice little "letter": One Pure Thought

Yesterday I swiped the TAL episode called "Road Trip!" How appropriate right? The synopsis reads:

``With all the American movies and songs and books about the joy of the open road, it's hard for an American to just take a normal roadtrip without huge expectations. Host Ira Glass talks with a guy who hit the road after his mother's death, hoping for some experience that would change him, that would shed light on what just happened. This never happens to him, or to most of us. And yet, every Memorial Day we all head out on the roads. Hoping.''

A few years ago I went on a roadtrip with my girlfriend at the time. Our relationship was on its last legs but in my usual "observant yet clueless" way I didn't know it. One of our many differences was made clear one day as we stopped to look at this deep narrow canyon carved by the Colorado River: I took a look, enjoyed the view, and was ready to move on, but she wanted to sit and write and look for inspiration. It's not that I don't enjoy inspiration, but I guess it's not something I hunt for -- I just expect it to happen and I think that if I try too hard it will slip away. That should probably read "don't think" because like many things, I just don't think about it. Sometimes this is good but other times it harmful to me or to others.

That experience and the above quote makes me wonder if I'm looking for different (lesser?) things on a road trip than most other people are. I just look to have a good time, eat some hot dogs, take photos and see places I've never seen. Sometimes wonderful things happen, sometimes you get rained on for days on end. Last summer I took a road trip with my brothers and my sister-in-law. Despite a few little issues we got along great because we wanted to see similar sights, and we all had basically the same expectations of the trip. My lack of yearning for bigger meaning might come directly from my family...maybe we all have it figured out already. Who knows?

On the other hand, I'm going to spend some eight days driving myself across the plains states on this trip. If ever I was to get to know myself better, this will be the time.

Posted at July 11, 2003 11:42 AM, Categories: Beardcore
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