Wednesday, March 09, 2011

One Fine Morning...

"Who gives a shit what the Holy Grail is? It's the quest that's what's important. The transformation is within yourself. That's what's important."
—Yvon Chouinard, explorer, environmentalist, climber, founder of Patagonia Inc., septuagenarian bad-ass

Time turns and then it flies
A waterfall of lullabies
A smiling girl with crying eyes
Forget her

Will we turn loose at last
The schools of thought from nets we've cast
And let our boats go sailing past
One fine morning
One fine morning
The machines...are gonna cut us down
One fine morning
One fine morning
The machines...are gonna cut us down

—Mason Jennings, "Machines", 180° South soundtrack

So, power in Wisconsin gets its way again (surprise!) and the Democrats can pretend they really tried and, well, just got fooled by those sneaky Republicans, darn it! And continue to perpetuate the myth of two opposing parties to undermine the reality of one class.

And on my birthday, no less. Eugene Debs must be redlining in the mother of all sepulchral spins right about now.

The wealthy in this country are our moai; we cut down everything, consume and waste, while they quietly build themselves up. And when they stumble, when the market fails them, we bail them out. They take and take as we line up to give it to them. In return, they offer us promises, rhetoric, and lies. And in the emptiness, we pretend to see hope. We close our eyes and drift off to sleep. Until one day, we wake to find there's nothing left on our little island. All of it gone. Plundered, pinched, pilfered by privilege.

Everything is not all right.

The only consolation is that it has to end sometime, has to fall victim to its own rampant avarice. The totems will again turn to stone—soulless, meaningless—and topple. As it should be. That's called poetic justice. Take and take and take from a pool with increasingly less and less and less to give up, and it won't be long before you're knotting your own noose in a rope donated by the downtrodden. Or, to quote a sign from the protest in Wisconsin, "Screw Us and We Multiply." Time to make like rabbits. The tide is turning.

I, for one, can't wait. Pop the popcorn and pour the beer. It's showtime!

Rant over. For now.

Okay, so the greater—some might say grandiose—idea behind this cross-country bicycle trip is to write a book about it, based on notes written along the way (yes, it’s been done before).

From the cozy comfort of my seat in the bar (as the spring limps in slowly on frost-numbed feet), beer in hand, I conjure an eclectic but cohesive mix of impressions and reflections, poetry, prose, art, philosophy, beauty, love, luck, loss, narcissism, nihilism, sublime success and unforeseen failure, euphoria and misery, surrounded by—and sometimes set against—cogent, by turns discursive, descriptions of token towns and rural roads and urban avenues and the impersonal interstates that link them all together, sprinkled liberally with local history and color, transportation issues, environmental politics, and the general bliss and bane of traveling by bicycle. And oh yeah, I'm committed to spending every one of my nights inside a tent, regardless of weather or weariness. And the idea of making it an out-and-back grows ridiculously stronger every day.

In the meantime, some more bad news: yesterday, my boss told me the new position is pretty much a done deal. The only thing in question is my start date. Seems the uncertainty about the potential (and purely symbolic) government shutdown looming on the outside edge of the periphery is putting on the stall, so I'm left in a sort of limbo until the script plays out. If I'm still hanging by the end of April, I'm throwing a leg over the saddle, thrusting two defiant middle fingers heavenward, and pedaling to the west. If things are resolved before then, I'm sitting tight and doing it all next spring with a little fatter wallet. Got a rider who is interested in accompanying me if it doesn't go down till next year, so that's kind of cool. The months between will measure his sincerity. Guess we'll see. Regardless, time rolls on, and so will I. But tonight, I've got blisters on almost everything I need right now. Enjoy...


Anonymous said...

Today is your birthday? Mine was on Monday- I raise a glass to us.

Can I be the back-up accompanying rider if the primary bails? Congrats on the job, I guess. :)

Blue-eyed Devil said...

You have a standing offer to join me/us when it all goes down. We'll work something out. For now, happy birthday. Hope on Monday you ate some super tasty fish caught and cooked by your very own devices. Like I said, I'm envious!

brett said...

"I, for one, can't wait. Pop the popcorn and pour the beer. It's showtime!"


Tim Wise said...

So you work for the very entity that seeks to destroy us?

Blue-eyed Devil said...

Contractor to that entity, Tim. Consider my work an inside job...