A little background. I’ve been on a cross country train for…roughly 34 hours now. It is 7:07 am, and we’re in The Gorge, it’s beautiful with the sun coming up, and what I think is Mt. Hood just came into view. Truly a magnificent site, this is why people ride trains. I’m sitting in car 14, seat 11, the one in front of the Observation Car.
Unfortunately, I can barely enjoy the raw beauty of the Colombia River Gorge because across the aisle and one seat back, in seat 13, lives Screaming Baby and Stupid Mother. Screaming Baby has been unhappy since we left Spokane, roughly four hours ago. Living up to the name I just gave him, he’s been screaming and screeching his displeasure with life at mid level to full volume, much to my dismay. Stupid Mother, who is clearly being outwitted by this vocal 8 month old, has two strategies.
Strategy One: Repeatedly say, in different tones, “STOP” This has proven ineffective.
Strategy Two: Try to rationalize and discuss the situation with Screaming Baby, as if he were a normal human being. This is also ineffective, as Screaming Baby is 8 FUCKING MONTHS OLD! And clearly not interested in negotiations.
So instead of murdering Stupid Mother, and tossing Screaming Baby into the mighty Colombia River, as they’d have done in the old days, I’ve decided to make a list of a things I’d rather do than have a child at this stage in my life. I’ve never really been a list person, but Nixon had a thing against minorities, and he was still The President, and don’t you forget it Jack. So, in no particular order, here are 10 things I want to do before I have a little mcgilla of my own…
1) Go to that Cocaine Bar in Colombia. I’m not a huge coke person, but at the same time, the pure gonzo madness of an actual cocaine bar in a seedy part of South America appeals to my twisted side.
2) Burning Man. Mucking around in the desert with a bunch of other freaks and true believers and Jesus. I want to get naked and wear body paint and fairy wings, lose my mind for a couple days, and drink strong coffee.
Pause. We are in a ridiculously beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful stretch of the trip, still along the Colombia River Gorge, the water, the bluffs, the mountains in the distance, its amazing. Troubled Mother, sitting behind me, turns to Stupid Mother sitting next to her, and asks, “is this Oregon or Washington?” This is a valid question, because on one side of the river is Oregon and on the other is Washington. Stupid Mother informs her that this is Washington. Troubled Mother proceeds to explain that her grandmother was here last weekend. For the big Health Care Rally. And that 200,000 people showed up, but the news only reported that only 1,000 showed up. And that Obama wants old people to die. And that her mom just heard on the news that Obama wanted to put something in the water so that people couldn’t have babies. I suddenly have the urge to abort this list and adopt Screaming Baby and Other Baby, to save them from a life of this rubbish, but alas…Viva Amerika!
3) Go to a huge soccer match in Europe. Something truly ridiculous and violent; Chelsea v Man U, West Ham v Millwall, Celtic v Rangers. Some contest that goes beyond sporting rivalry and enters a realm usually reserved for religious warfare. I want this, I need this.
4) Publish something large. A novel, a book, a screenplay. Something my mom and her friends in the Midwest could buy at Barnes & Noble or rent at Blockbuster.
5) Bum around the East Coast on a train for a month. Probably mostly New England. Albany to Boston and up. Vermont, New Hampshire, I want a lobster in Maine. Down to New York City with its mcglitz and then over to Philly for a cheese steak. Hit up DC and Obama for a high-five and some hoop. Down the Coast, Outer Banks, HotLanta, maybe Florida maybe not, and then I’m out.
6) Figure out Poetry. Try as I might, poetry eludes me. But it feels like something I could get into. Kerouac, Ginsberg, Bukowski are all some of my favorite writers who were also poets. I can do Haiku, and like 5th grade rhyming schemes, but that’s it. I want more.
7) Go on tour with a band. Preferably some sort of emerging indie rock band. Something where they play small to moderate sized venues, but they pack them full and have fans in every city. I want to go on the tour before they blow up. This could be difficult as I have no musical talent to be any sort of tech, but I can carry shit, and I can drive the van. I can take pictures and run the merch booth. Please. Some emerging indie rock band, contact me. I am fun.
8 ) Get a dog. Something medium sized and active, and very smart. Maybe a border collie. I will name him Mr. Chips. He will also respond to Ole Chipper. We will be fast friends.
9) Run for Office. This could be a stretch, but the way things are going, you just might need me to represent you. You might even want me to represent you. Me and Sal Riley. Check the slate in 2024.
10) Get married. Someday. I truly enjoy the idea of having that someone whom you can’t imagine life without. And I’d like to marry mine, preferably in the Caribbean. There will be Rum.
I feel better.