I am in my car, driving home. Already with the morning commute and the return, I’ve spent almost two hours cooped up. If you don’t live in California, please don’t move here. We have no room. People don’t go to the deep west anymore, anyway.
I’ve forgotten about Monday Night Football. In San Diego. And I see a line of angry cars all over the 163. Pinning me in. Or perhaps it is only I who is angry. The others are happily tailgating each other to get to the tailgate.
I pull off the freeway and onto Frazzee Road and then another street and finally into a Starbucks parking lot. Frazzee I love. How can I not with that name? I take my laptop with me and buy a bottled water and sit down. Next to me, a guy is leaning in and hanging onto every word of his twirling-haired girlfriend.
“I’m not affectionate,” she says.
I cringe. I have hearing like a whale. I don’t look like one. Much. But I can hear a pin drop at a bowling alley crosstown. Wait, I just heard someone convert the 7-10 split in Oceanside. Hearing like this is good for bloggers, good for linguists, not good for those seeking peace. Like me. Now.
“I don’t like flowers either,” she continues. “But I do like presents of food.”
I can’t take it anymore. I put in Rachid Taha’s Ya Rayah. Listen to the song if you want a taste of Algeria. Ignore the mandolute player who overspiced his cigarettes with oregano, misplacing his eyeballs in the process.
Ya Rayah is a song of warning, about losing oneself. And forgetting God:
Rachid Taha – Oh Emigrant
Oh where are you going?
Eventually you must come back
How many ignorant people have regretted this
Before you and me
How many overpopulated countries and empty lands have you seen?
How much time have you wasted?
How much have you yet to lose?
Oh emigrant in the country of others
Do you even know what’s going on?
Destiny and time follow their course but you ignore it
Why is your heart so sad?
And why are you staying there miserable?
Hardship will end and you no longer learn or build anything
The days don’t last, just as your youth and mine didn’t
Oh poor fellow who missed his chance just as I missed mine
Oh traveler, I give you a piece of advice to follow right away
See what is in your interest before you sell or buy
Oh sleeper, your news reached me
And what happened to you happened to me
Thus, the heart returns to its creator, the Highest (God)
I take my earbuds off after the song and the guy is still soft grappling every word of hers. He is in a job interview. I get up and move. And flick over to the novel I have been avoiding. My hobby. Writing, not avoiding. Well, maybe both.
I clunk through the first chapter I started four months ago. And then wonder about Tim Tebow. I click over to check yesterday’s score. Yup, Tim brought it. I like the guy, even when I did not want to.
Jonathan Franzen was right: It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.
I pour myself back into the novel. Yards, I gain. A first down. I check the Monday Night Football game in progress a quarter mile from me. The Chargers are up. Yup yup. Hometown boys.
I write more and stand after an unknown amount of time. A good day writing. It is dark outside. The guy and girl are still talking. The job interview may not be over. But I am. With writing and waiting. And I drive onto the quiet freeway. Another hour and I will be home.
Update: Apparently, the game was at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. So I am not sure where the traffic came from. . .