Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alabama Was Not Made For Me

Driving south has left me highly stressed and still exhausted. We drove for 26 out of 48 hours. I have never been more sure that I'm meant for the north. I've never felt so confused about a state as Tennessee. It seems like every exit has an Adult Megastore, next to a Fireworks Store, Next to a Giant Cross overlooking several large churches. So when you're done with that new blow up goat you just bought you can walk half a block to repent. Tennessee has the landscape of Virginia, and is truly stunning to see. Too bad Dollywood and Massive Religious symbols have to sully it.

In Georgia, we drove down a street that had 13 Baptist churches in less than 5 miles.

Southern hospitality is a fallacy. They're just slow and nosey. I'm in love with a south that doesn't exist. The south of Cormac McCarthy and Mark Twain, and of Faulkner. Maybe it does exist, but is tucked away, not to be ruined by outsiders like me.

Actually seeing my Dad was not as I expected. Which I should have expected. He walked past and my mom motioned that it was him. He seemed frail, beat, a failure that has given up on any notion of recovery. His right eye milky and glazed over. He looked to me like a strange southern version of Ian McKellen. Like a down home villain in a bond movie. All my emotion rose to my throat but subsided suddenly.

There is never a good reason to make reference to Star Wars. But here we go. It felt like when Darth Vader slides his mask off and we see that he's a frail old man. The the idea of him was much more threatening than he ever could be.

We didn't speak. As far as I know he didn't even look at me. It's probably better that way.

Above is the only drawing I will ever do of him.

Sadly and even Shamefully the real standout moment of the trip wasn't seeing my dad for the first time, but a book. On the way back home I devoured a good chunk of Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree. It's been a long time since I've felt such a connection to an author and his outlook. Nick Hornby along with Nicolas Sparks is one of those authors I didn't want to read because I didn't want to believe that they're as good as people say they are. Nick Hornby is as good as people say he is, and at the very least a down to earth, likable guy with good taste.

I had the best waiter of my life in northern Kentucky. His name was Herb.


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