Tuesday, 10 November 2009

At the honky tonk badonkadonk (day sixty three and sixty four)

I'll tell you about the night sky - a million pinpricks of light travelled a million lightyears to be here with us tonight. You can see the Milky Way and Cassiopeia and all the constellations we don't know the names of, parked up on the hard shoulder by the roadkill, with bugs swarming in front of the headlights. We stared until our necks were sore, and drove on, no brakes, on curveswooping bends through the Adirondacks, after a sunset over Lake Tupper, cloud hidden. Before that we sat by a lake, facing Canada, waiting for the sunshine to emerge so we could photograph in better light. Amish children rode their horse and cart to the bait shop and stared back at us as we overtook. A yacht cruised past in the breeze, in front of the castle (old mansion) treeshrouded and far away. This was a slow moment of calm, lake stilling my heart into slumped beats.

Andi left us to put in another shift, filling the boxes, fulfilling the orders. Another parking ticket is stuck under our windscreen wiper. Facing the wrong way on the street. Watertown sheriff's department are short of money.

Everyone stares at you. The teenagers in McDonald's nursing Coca Cola's, bending straws, the pick up truck drivers as you turn in the road from another wrong right hand bend, the neighbours when you make the dogs bark returning back to the apartment with pizza to fill my empty stomach too full, far too full. Patrol cars sit at every junction with radar guns. They all get suspicious up in the mountains.

"At the honky tonk / Ba donk a donk /Keepin' perfect rhythm / Make ya wanna swing along / Got it goin' on / Like Donkey Kong / And whoo-wee / Shut my mouth / slap your grandma."

"The banana slug is my sense of adventure. Let's go to the forest - This is your top 9 at 9 with Dave Valentine - Frog FM. Ribbit - You say this is an O'Reilly-ism, but you won't appear on his show? - My best friend Lesley says 'Oh, she's just being Miley."

The radio is our only company this far north, an empty ghost filled highway. There are no glowing eyes in the pine trees to watch out progress. We race away to be watched, back to the squat houses, the condemned houses, where the drug parties roll on the weekend noisy trash filled kitchen raves, pulling off the cupboard doors for firewood, needles in the garden and tinfoil in the bedrooms until the cops arrive, or don't, and the crackhouse flophouses, clientele oscillating wildly, until the cops arrive, or don't.

The playground kid is left behind, sitting on a doorstep, reading books cos it's all she ever did. Here she spent recess, with friends in the far back corner, reading books silently together, ignoring the footballs that come their way, studious. City Hall is a bureaucratic sham in gleaming marble and aluminium, but the staff are friendly and overpleased that someone is paying off a fine. We flee to the dairy farms, a half sphere topped tower and gabled barns surrounded by yellow speckled green meadows, rolling farmland each way to the horizon. All the settlements feel western, terrace fronted tall narrow stores line the main streets of Copenhagen and Lowville and Boonville. The landscape repeats over; until Utica emerges. A scrawny lady stares bewildered at traffic, unsure when to cross, tentative baby steps across the asphalt, as we turn into the Bagel Store for lunch.

You can tell everything about a person by how they eat. Gobblers - guarded, suspicious, paranoid. Slow eaters - thoughtful, relaxed, saviours life. I smear hummus around my chops - what does that say? Ryan Jenkins has been found dead in a Canadian motel. He married a glamour model in Vegas, killer her, removed her teeth and her fingers, sailed north on his boat to the border and hold up in a fugitive motel. They identified her by her breast implants. And now they're cancelling Megan Wants A Millionaire- how will we know who she chooses? At least Real Chance Of Love is still going. God sits above, smiling faithfully.

Brad Pitt is killing another Nazi on the big screen carving a swastika into their head. The dialogue is very Tarantino- it always is. The Jews have their vengeance, everyone leaves happy. They sneer at Watertown - all it has is the claim of being the originator of the scented tree - every state needs its whipping boy. Jennifer offers us all and acts the perfect host. She dreams of Europe like we dream of America. Everyone looks across oceans, full of hope. Then you make it across, by ferry or plane, and it is all the same, or different in minor ways, and all you learn is more self absorbed rhubarb about yourself. Should have kept it locked in the attic along with everything else, staring out of a telescope at distant objects, conjuring words from the dust and the ash.

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