Today on the way home for lunch (baby-budget, remember), I was listening to Menomena’s new three-track (thematic, if not full-blown “concept”) EP/album, Under An Hour (which it is, just barely, at 54min). Of the three tracks, which are each near the 20min mark, I’ve rarely gotten to the final one. So… liking the first two tracks so much, I decided to flip direct to the last track. Turns out, the third track begins with a buzzy droning sound, completely unaccompanied; something like a small plane sounds like from inside the cockpit.
Wait, if you skipped that last paragraph because it started out about music, go back – I’m actually going somewhere with this and needed the music to set it up. Go ahead, I’ll give you a second…
Anyway, with the windows down and that drone droning on in my ears, I started to imagine I was in a plane. Flying over the same roads I was driving, watching myself down there. If you’re having a hard time picturing this, pop in Kubrick’s The Shining DVD and watch the opening sequence as the Torrances make their way up to the lodge, shot from a helicopter tracing their winding path up the wooded road.
Suddenly, being up in the sky and far above the me driving down below, I felt all at once alone and free. I could just keep flying, stay airborne, take it to the mountains or even over the ocean. Stay up in the cold thin air with nothing but the drone of the engines outside. I could look down on little people like me and their purposed motions, heading home for a quick sandwich because they’re about to have a baby and a pound of deli meat is cheaper than a pre-fab sandwich at the cafeteria. But not me. I’m up here in the sky where there’s no turn I can’t take, no direction I can’t point myself in. Aimed into the blue all the way to the horizon.
When I was a kid, in 5th grade or so, I used to daydream about jumping out of my swing at the very top of the arc. I’d spread my arms and fly away, circling above the playground looking down at the upturned heads of my amazed classmates. That, or the one where I could walk on the ceilings, my feet stuck to the top of the walkway coverings – just out of reach of the kids below. Oh, and there was the one where I could walk through walls… that one was mostly used to get into closets other such places where I could spy on girls undressing. So, aside from the pervert one, I guess flying away type escapist fantasies have been with me from a young age. There’s something alluring about looking down on everything, as a supreme being would on his creation. They’re down there, you’re up here – and they can’t even throw a rock and hit you. Money.
Finally, and added early this morning after I’d already auto-published at midnight, some non-abstract writing (and darn good news). Sharaun, who wins so much stuff on the radio that we get W2s from Infinity and ClearChannel, this morning won a 60GB video iPod. She promptly called and told me to get out of bed and tune in for the call-in contest responsible. Oh yeah, and she won some Globetrotter tickets too, which I’m actually pretty pumped about… but the iPod I’ve been dreaming of, and it’s within the baby-budget… free-ninety-free. How she does it, I have no idea.