Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wandering Hindsight

I know I wrote Saturday about growing tired of Nebraska. But now I'm not that excited to be back in Madison. Suppose that means it's time to move.

Some more random thoughts from the weekend:

1. The prairie wind is just as brutal as you remember it. It was breezy today and I struggled biking home into its teeth. But the prairie wind is different. It doesn't wind around the lakes like Madison breeze. It's dry, piercing and terribly straight. Almost too Euclidian to be true.

2. I helped my dad decide how to lay out the ceramic tile flooring in their basement. Upon showing mom he said something to the effect of, "Well, the way Andrew laid it out, we can do this and this." If you knew my father and me pre-2002, you understand why this is a detail worth mentioning. To be fair, Anthony, who's only known me post-2002, said this weekend, "You know Moseman, before you'd be the last person I'd call to fix something."

For all its poor qualities, at least the past is a good measuring stick.

3. Along those same lines, I spent Sunday in the Lincoln bar where I first started seriously playing darts, and drinking. I've gotten miles better at the former. The latter depends on your opinions.

4. I caved and bought a new phone. I very much wished against this, because it would mean being under contract with Alltel again, and the last time I was in this predicament with them they charged me for four months when I was in Europe and the phone sat unused. Oh well. You can't win all your fights solely on principle. I got a nice used one on eBay on my second try in April, but then last week I went swimming with it.

5. Yeah, water and me -- lately we've been scuffling. The clouds followed me all the way home yesterday, like I'm Charlie Brown. It rained those hot huge drops your wiper blades just smear around. And it was just enough water for semis to spray all over you. So instead of doing the responsible thing and slowing down in response to the conditions, I grew angry and drove faster. I broke the 8-hour mark for the trip, but perhaps not for the best.

6. Watched "Midnight Cowboy" after getting back last night. Not bad. I don't know that I'd have put it on the Top 100 like AFI did, but it's pretty cool. Just one of those 4-star films that people remember as a 5-star because it was so different at the time.

I read on imdb a recent quote from Jon Voight that if you remade the movie today, it'd be totally different because you'd have to sexualize the relationship between Joe and Ratso. I was irritated at cnn.com for the millionth time the other day, this instance because their interactive reader poll was, "Do you think there's too much sexuality in our society today?," a question engineered specifically to make anyone parenting age or older shake their heads and say, "you know, there is."

I don't agree, but I would contests the crude way that sexuality is so often manifested. There's a little bit much stupid boudiness for me, but c'mon, it's stupid and asks to be no more. It's the oppresors that you should protest, and here Jon is right. In the movie there's an explicit discussion of whether of whether one is "into" another, but when it slides into close friendship it doesn't feel awkward at all. There are plently of reasons to attack American homophobia for what it's done to gay people, but it has to account for what it's done to straight people -- i.e., male friends can't be too close, or it's weird.

I dissent.

7. Saying "I dissent" or "I, for one, disagree," is really important. For one thing, it feels great, and for two, it sets a written or auditory precedent that you've chosen a side in that particular sandlot brawl.

8. Time has passed since I kept up the On Notice board, so for simplicity's sake here's something that I'm simply no longer willing to tolerate: people who form staunch opinions about somewhere from having driven through it on the Interstate. Now, I know some of you have heard me say some unsavory things about Iowa or Indiana after having to drive through them, but I'm trying to keep those feelings from dominance. Indiana is a terrible state for numerous other reasons, but Iowa has a lot to offer if you veer off I-80.

I, for one, rarely do. But when I was reconnecting with my roots this weekend I found myself intentionally taking the smaller highways to be out in the middle of nowhere and run through small towns. It then occured to me that my parents and grandparents did this when I was growing up, and I never understood it. Why would you want to get off the Interstate, I thought. It'll just take you longer.

Like Johnny Cash says, time changes everything.

For the record, the Interstate system is a faceless 30-yard-wide corridor decided for speed and nothing else. It does not count as "visiting" a place. Most people have never "visited" Nebraska, though lots of people have driven through it. I don't mean to sound too callous; if you're not from there, there's no pragmatic reason to visit Nebraska. It's just this: I know that you want to contribute to the conversation. But when I mention that I'm from Nebraska you throw in "Oh sure, we were there once on our trip to Colorado," you haven't impressed me. When I meet people from New York I don't try to impress them by dropping the fact I changed planes at JFK once when I was 8.

However, in my Midwestern politeness I'm forced to forgive that category of people. If you really want on the bad list, then maintain that you don't like someplace because of your experience driving through it. Again, full disclosure, I'm a recoving former badmouther. Look, interstate travel, even highway travel, doesn't really tell you shit about a place. And I know it takes a long time to get across Nebraska the long way, but if you have to bitch and moan, say "that sure is a long drive," not "Nebraska sure is a terrible state." You're only making yourself sound ignorant. And if it's that bad, then fucking fly.

9. When I came home last night, my new roommate was watching "Wife Swap" on my TV. I love certain kinds of bad TV sometimes -- stupid game shows, cartoons, CSI -- but if I ever start to derive my nightly entertainment from families giving away their dignity on national TV for a string of beads, you can come to my house and kill me.

1 comment:

chaviva said...

You know what's great reality TV? "Hell's Kitchen" on Mondays on Fox. No kidding, it's great.

Also: Ian got me to watch Midnight Cowboy. It wasn't what I was expecting, though I'm not sure I knew what I was expecting ... but it was quality. I'd watch it again, I think. But maybe during daylight hours. With marshmallows and happy drinks.