overhaul / undertow

Saturday, October 05, 2002

I have learned many valuable lessons on this trip.

1. A trip taken with others is not your own experience: it does not belong to you. It is a shared construct. Concessions must be made, or steps must be taken if you want your time to belong to you and you alone. The best step to take, if you want your time to be yours and no one else's, is to not go with anyone else. To go alone.

2. If you go with others, it is advisable to make sure they share your tastes and are familiar with your frame of reference and the ideas you hold dear. If they do not, you should hope that they at least can tolerate of appreciate your points of view.
This has not quite been the case with my parents. [reference the "Wilco episode:" "Michele?" "Yeah, mom?" "Why do they make that noise? I don't understand the point. It's so noisy. It makes it hard to hear." "Well, mom, I, um, guess that in contemporary music, the idea of music has expanded to include new definitions of what qualifies as beauty. Sometimes art is challenging...lately musicians have been manipulating sounds with computers to create sonic landscapes, textures laid down in tracks, and after a while you come to appreciate the art of it, the way you can learn about modern art and then appreciate things you didn't understand before. Here they're using the deconstruction of the sound to miror the degeneration of the musicians' resolve, the sense of loss expressed in the song." "Oh. I'll take your word for it. Um, can we turn it down a bit?" At which point I hit the eject button.]

3. Relating to point number two, if you travel with people who just plain aren't like you, it's wise to take steps to allow for distance. Rent your own car, get a private bedroom or suite, even take walks by yourself. If only to keep from banging your head repeatedly against a wall.

4. Just because you used to be comfortable taking trips with the fam, relegating decision-making to your parents and having them supervise your every activity and monitor your every choice, does not mean you'll dig it quite so much--or find it as comforting--when you're 25 years old.

5. You can't go home again.

6. I guess I've grown up. Hmm.



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