Pennsylvania has weird town names. On Saturday, I drove through the villages of Spaces Corners, PA (that’s some meta shit) and Distant, PA. Really, I’m not making this up. They’re on 28. Somewhere after the expressway ends but before you get to Brookville.
When I got to Distant, there was this sign that said “Village of Distant” and I was listening to this song and I had one of those weird unexplainable moments where everything feels so surreal. Like you’re not even yourself or alive or something. Like you’re suspended in time. But it’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing? It’s a weird thing.
Well, I am a troubled boy
From the hills that you know
Oh, and don’t tell me
Don’t tell me where to go
Well, I am a lonesome girl
From the hearth that you found
Oh, and don’t ask me
Don’t ask me how I know
Well, I am a mountain man
From the hard, jagged land
Oh, and don’t tell me
Don’t tell me to let go
Well, I am an honest man
From the planes golden land
Oh, and don’t tell me
Don’t tell me what to repent
What to sow
Favorite song right now. Hands down. When it gets to the part at 2:22, I feel only sunshine inside.
I think the village of Distant needs to be my home. I pretty much live there internally and emotionally. It’s perfect. I’m distant. I live in that state. I need to live in the physically village. It consists of like 10 houses. And it’s obviously in the middle of nowhere. I’m freaking out. I need that. I need the peace. Sing it, Conor.
The city’s driving me out of my mind
There’s also a village named Panic between Reynoldsville and Punxsy. I think I need to have a house there too. Panic and Distant. Two houses for my two conditions.
Doomed to be a vagabond without a true sense of home. I feel like I’m always looking for it. It’s weird because I feel at home in many places. Alfred is my home. Pittsburgh is my home. Punxsutawney is even kind of my home. What the fuck is home? For some reason, I can’t wrap my head around it right now.
I hate the idea of settling but at the same time I long for a place to do it? More Bright Eyes. Maybe I need to go everywhere not because I’m a transient non-settler but because I actually believe in home and settling more than anything so I’m desperately searching for exactly the right place?
And the truth is I’ve been dreaming of some tired tranquil place
Where the weather won’t get trapped inside my bones
And if all these years of searching, I find one sympathetic face
Then it’s there I’ll plant these seeds and make my home
Anyway, I was in Reynoldsville for a family thing which was the reason for the roadtrip up 28 to begin with. I briefly stopped in DuBois because I had to pick something up and for some reason I felt weird/good to be back in the place I was born. Like it’s that one place is where you start your whole freakin life. It all originates at that one place at that one time in that one city. I’ve never been weird about being in DuBois before. I guess I haven’t actually been there in awhile. Also, the CRAZY quarter-life crisis probably has something to do with it. And the Distant, PA thing. And too much time alone in the car. And The Ballad of Scarlet Town. And Jayber Crow. Which I still haven’t finished.
I don’t know if you can call this a quarter-life crisis anymore. I think I’m having a different crisis. A general time crisis. A serious time crisis. I’m not even stressed about time though. I just ceaselessly think about the relationship between past, present, and future and transience/permanence. I think if I tried to read Faulkner’s stuff again, I would love it. My brain is bananas right now.
Regardless of all of that, it’s amazing to be with your extended family watching the PSU game and eating good food and catching up on an ugly/gloomy Saturday afternoon.
Another thing I love about 28… the old Allegheny River towns. My love for them is related to the time crisis as well, for obvious reasons. They’re stuck. The world moved on. They were founded around now outdated economies. Although, there are some decent redevelopment efforts going on.
And the Allegheny River in general is awesome. I seriously just want to pull a Huck Finn and get on a raft and float down it. I would start at the trickling origin in Potter County (it’s like an hour from Alfred). Well, the raft wouldn’t be small enough for that. I guess I could like walk in it then wade it in then kayak in it then raft in it. Anyway, I’d obviously keep going once I got to the Ohio then the Mississippi then the Gulf of Mexico. I’m obsessed with bodies of water. They’re so powerful. You feel insignificant and that’s humbling and spiritually purifying. Rebirth.
SO TANGENTY. What is wrong with me. 28 is also super fun to drive on. So windy. So many ups and downs. And it’s in the middle of the woods. I fall in love with roads too.
Every time I get on I-80, I’m tempted to go west and just keep going and going until I get to the coast. I love it for the possibilities it presents. You can go all the way to San Francisco. And basically see the highlights of America on your way there. Thank God Desi and I are going to visit Josie in Ann Arbor in November. I need a roadtrip to a new place like none other.
Moving on to other stuff… I care too much about Steelers football. I’ve been irrationally irritated by their poor performances as of late. Particularly with the offensive line. GET IT TOGETHER, GUYS.
I also feel like Guster might take 3rd place in the “best back to back song combo” competition. One Man Wrecking Machine followed by The Captain is incredible. Ganging Up on the Sun is a good default Sunday night album. I love Guster. Truly.
More things. Mary is living the life right now and I’m jealous. This was the beginning of her weekend.
– play croquet at a department social
– get wasted with the anthropology kids
– make out with strangers
– climb a wall (and not remember doing it)
– run a 5K at 9AM
– move furniture into her new apartment
– go on 4.5 hour roadtrip to Wyoming and then drive back to Logan again before the end of the day
I never would have thought that out of the three of us, it would be Mary living the most crazy/busy/fulfilling life. Usually, Binks and I can’t be beaten in that department.
Now she and I are absolutely the same person. Work hard. Play harder. That’s the family way. I’m also entirely jealous of her experiences out west. I want to be able to just go on a roadtrip to Jackson, Wyoming like it’s no big deal. She also listened to bluegrass the whole time. That’s my girl. Every time we talk and she tells me about all her new favorite things and experiences, I’m seriously like “WHO ARE YOU?” because she’s changing so much so fast. It’s amazing. It makes me anxious/ready to move. Newness every day! I ache for it.
Her new favorite band is the SteelDrivers. I haven’t listened enough to have an opinion but here’s her review:
The violin player is crazy amazing… and all their music is very interesting. Lyrics are great but musically they go along a predictable pattern then throw something in to mix it up and bring it to a new direction. I’m so thoroughly impressed.
Also, she’s apparently listened to enough bluegrass to understand the one very important thing about it.
When bluegrass is bad, it’s the worst thing in the world, but when it’s good it’s so resoundingly perfect and beautiful.
That is the TRUTH. She phrased it flawlessly.
More music odds and ends…
– New Ryan Adams album on Tuesday! The single is pretty solid.
– I’ve been listening to the new Blink-182 album for 6 days now and I’m still disappointed. It sounds like Angels and Airwaves with Boxcar Racer incohesively thrown in there sometimes. It’s not Blink. It’s like the side projects meshed together. After Up All Night, I guess I should have known that the whole album would be like that. Oh, well. Maybe it will grow on me. They will forever be my favorite band, regardless. Tim and I took that vow so for better or for worse, Blink-182 is my #1. I kinda feel like cheating on them with the Avett Brothers. But a promise like that is something you don’t mess around with.