Nashville, it gets personal

July 9, 2010

…continuing from previous post,
…it was a long day…

As I said, punch it in the GPS, easy. Lets go.

This morning when I read my email Josee, my band mate in Leoffenders had written : “you be careful in Nashville now” I had taken it as something sweet and brushed it off. Josee is very perceptive. She sees stuff. I run into them.

Nashville is loaded for a lot of reasons. Personal stuff. Stuff like the guy I had married and lived with for 16 years and who left me a year ago to come and live here.

Two days before I left for this trip I learned he had an new woman. A few days ago I learned that he was not to be here for the week end or longer as he was going to be in Chicago to help clean the flooded house of said new girlfriend. Funny how some things line up.

Fine with me! I said. I’ll go see ‘my’ friends.

So, here I am following the GPS to Annie’s. I am mid flight though Nashville on I-65 north when the GPS dies. Battery dead. “You gotta be kidding me” I say out loud.

I know Annie lives somewhere North of Nashville, so I continue on the I 65 North. She said Old Hickory town. OK, I see a sign for Old Hickory… pull off the freeway and get on… Gallatin Pike. Well that’s the town where my ex now lives, how funny. I look around and recognize places I ve been back when I came to record in January. It feels funny. I’m not feeling that great. Well OK, it’s feeling pretty shitty.

Miraculously, the solar charger revives the GPS. My smile is rekindled, I soldier on. When I arrive at destination, It’s not there. It is the wrong street, wrong neighborhood. I ask people working on a car outside. Oh that’s not here.. maybe it’s the new development by the creek. They built on mud. They flooded… the man said. I go there. Nothing but dogs running after the bike.

I trace back my steps and stop at the first convenience store I see. J&B market. I see a guy working outside so I ask him : do you know the blah, blah street. He opened his mouth and his teeth were covered in stuff then he talked and he was one of these slightly retarded working people.
“Fwell I don’t fknow hmbut Hyll askf infide”… He’s tall, blonde, somewhat could be construed as good looking but som’s not right… Now I’m feeling like I really landed in a hillbilly dead end. I walk inside. There are two customers ahead. It stinks. Maybe it has to do with the fact that they sell tackle but it’s just gross. The customers take a long, long, long time. I walk out.

Is there a phone? I ask the same guy.

Itf ovfer here..

I put 50 cents in and call Annie.

Hi, it’s Danielle, the GPS won’t find your street… Does not exist …. the J&B Market… uh… well there is a garage in a rusted barn with no sign where people are working on cars… on the other side there is …. let me look closer, yeah, the Another Choice Die Inc. store. (I am not joking here’s the photo as no one would believe me)

Annie says she does not know where that is

…well, it’s kind of like a hick town… I say. It does not help her.

Click.

The phone cuts us off “Please add 50 cents to…” I forage in my pockets and find another 50 cents.

Hello? Hello? Annie? Yes, they wanted more money, so where are you? … which intersection…. let me put it in the GPS… the what? Ok Indian lake and which….

Click.

The phone dies. I have no more change.

I grab the GPS maybe I can put in the first street and find the area and

Bleep.

“Low Battery” the screen goes black.

Goddam! F@#$ piece of shit…

I get to my knees, put a hand in front of my face. I am so overcome. Beaten. Hot. Alone. Lost.

Breathe I thought. Breathe.

But now it’s all welling up in a big ball. I stay down there for a few minutes. I’m suddenly aware of this big black guy in a white black-mobile parked right next to me, watching. I stand up. Lean on my luggage. Gotta look like I’m fine… Gotta figure out what I’m going to do. Think. Think. Think.

Heat. Hot. Sweat.

I take off my jacket. Pack it on the bike. Get the gloves on. Helmet too. Lets go. She said something about a lake. Maybe I can find a lake… I’ve found stuff like this before. And if not, Hotel time.

I head down the road. I’m not going fast, looking at street names… a clue. I get to this intersection and there is a yield sign but I can’t see if the other lane has a stop, I slow down. The car behind me honks at me impatiently. I got so mad. I got in an instant rage. All the frustrations, the heat, the stupid GPS, the fact that I’m nowhere, not knowing nothing about the how or where I’m supposed to go and ….

I floored it. First gear, redline, second, I leave a trail of smoke, the motor is screaming like a banshee. Slow down… Slow down…

People tend to tailgate here, I’ve mentioned this before. And now here’s this jeep and she’s getting closer and closer, and I don’t want to go fast, trying to relax here… so I pull over off of the lane, gesticulating to go ahead and pass me, but she stops confused and I screamed Go! Go! She yells something back at me gives me the finger. I started to cry. I turned into this residential neighborhood. I’m just crying. I stop. I cry some more, my head down on the instruments crying in my helmet. I get off. I cry some more. I sit on the ground. I say : I’m so tired… It’s so hot… I’m lost…

But really, This is not what this is about. It does not help but I see it now.

This is is the final page. No, not the final page but the thick, heavy back cover of this long story that started 17 years ago coming to its final, terminal, thump.

THUMP. The dust lifts. Then. Settles.

I came here to close the book.

I guess that this is my own way to live out loud the words and the thoughts of the end of us.

“Come here in Nashville, be lost, re-start the pain, the deep hole that it was. Feel it, see it all, be utterly alone in the way alone is alone when someone else is involved. Cry, break down, fall apart, rage, dwindle in a puddle. He’s gone, he’s even in another town, he left you, he’s got another woman, and you idiot girl that you are will maybe be Done. Finished.

I realize that I am in this town to create a physical event to materialize the end. The phones and the internet do not have this sort of reality to it. This is dirty. This is real.

Right now, I am vainquished, beaten. I am sitting on the pavement crying, no, bawling alone in a town full of strangers feeling once more the intolerable depth of this pain but finally touching, reaching the bottom. We all know what we do when we feel that bottom.

I sit there for quite a while. I got back on the bike. My beautiful bike that took me all the way here. I go slow. I am so sorry for brutalizing it earlier… What a twerp I can be.

I course the neighborhood looking for the way back out. I retrace my steps. Really slowly. I cry some more. I get back on the fast roads I still go slow. The sun is setting. Back on the Gallatin Pike. My face is wet, the inside of my helmet is wet, my nose snotty. I go up that road which is the way to the studio. How freakishly ironic and perfect this all is. You’d think someone wrote the movie.

A hotel. Got to find a hotel. There is none to be seen. The GPS is dead. I go on for quite a while.

Finally miles down the road I ask a man in a car next to me at a red light. And there goes my incredible luck or timing or whatever you call it. “uh.. just up here, past the light, it’s off the main road. Turn right and it’s just there. The light changes, he goes slow to make sure I see it. I turn.. ride up.. there it is. He speeds off.

I get inside the room. It’s sweltering hot. The A/C is off , that is one of the differences between the cheap motels and the pricey ones.. They don’t make it cool for your arrival.

I am still shaky. I gradually calm down completely. Now I know, I see. The why. Why am I here. I came to close that heavy back cover down on this story book.

“You be careful in Nashville now” Josee said. Oh my girl, my friend, how did you know? But as I said earlier : she sees things. I run into them.

Annie calls my cell: Are you OK, we were worried. Come tomorrow, I have water melon and grapes, we’ll do laundry and talk. I was going to high tail it out of town. But maybe I’ll get to do the things I wanted to do here, wash the bike, get a rear tire. Maybe even see some live music. Find the cool bike routes between here and Montreal and enjoy this magnificent chance that I have to be here, now, live, cry, laugh, sweat, bleed, go hungry, get full, be hot be cold, share a smile with strangers, inspire and be inspired.

Never a dull moment.

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5 Responses to “Nashville, it gets personal”

  1. John Doheny Says:

    Danielle,

    Thank you for renewing my committment not to spend any of my hard-earned money on a GPS lol. I’ve spend thirty five years travelling all over North America and never used anything but a boring old road atlas, although admittedly these can be hard to use if you’re driving (or riding) alone. I took a lot of wrong turns after Katrina. I also learned (as you have, apparently) how to drive and cry and blow snot out your nose. A lot.

    A lot of your problems finding food will be familiar to anyone driving in the southern United States, as the big chains have pretty much driven the mom and pops out of business, then, after oversaturating the market with franchises,gone out of business themselves, leaving these huge dead zones where you could pretty near starve to death it seems. Alabama in particular sucks this way, I have no idea why. Wyoming is also really bad. I advise people driving through Wyoming to pack a lunch lol. There’s like, one decent restaurant in the whole state, a Mexican place in Cheyenne, right off I-25. Anyway, what I’m saying is, I wish you’d written me (or someone else who’s driven these roads many, many times) before you’d left. I could have given you some tips and saved you a lot of trouble.

    I was a little disappointed that you blew through New Orleans so fast. The irony was that, though I’m usually in my office at Tulane during the day, I’d decided to work at home that day for some reason, so I would have been around if you’d called. You could have at least taken a bath and washed the bike in our courtyard. And of course, now that you’re gone, the weather is just beautiful lol. Sunny and with low humidity, actually quite unusual for this time of year, it’s actually probably ‘cooler’ (85F or so) than Nashville right now, definitely cooler than Montreal.

    I’d also had an idea I could hook you up with some music contacts, since there are people here who do quite well doing similar stuff to yours (Susan Cowsill, Amanda Shaw and Theresa Andersson spring to mind) but on second thought you’re probably better off in Nashville. While I find the actual music in New Orleans much more interesting (to me, anyway) the business part of it here has always been kind of shady and stunted. Nashville has a much more solid business infrastructure, I dig Memphis more, musically, but that’s just me.

    Anyway, I’m sorry we missed each other. I wanted to ask you what this whole trip was about. I still have no idea why you’re doing it or where you’re going, I’m not sure if I even knew you were married. It’s been a long time since we talked.

    John Doheny

  2. David Walker Says:

    There are no ordinary moments,

    with love,
    David

  3. Myrna Jacobs Says:

    Rough go. Move through it. Come out the other side. Know that all this, all that’s happened is only going to end up with you happier than you’ve ever been.

    Come to Michigan. Come stay beside the water for a day or two. It will rejuvenate.

    I see now the trip and the why besides just an adventure. You are strong and you can create. Everything will be good. Hugs.

  4. Annie Dorman Says:

    This dialogue was ‘PRICELESS”….glad we could be a “Port in a Storm Meltdown” besides enjoying your company and meeting Leo….continue to “Make The Most of What COMES and the least of what GOES” in this life…stay happy, find your strengths and continue to “Write” Songs and Blogs along the journey….and if you do get a chance definitely visit Dan and Myrna…I have gotten so much wonderful advice from Dan and some incredible pics from Myrna of our FABU trips to Torch Lank….sigh…”Keep On Keeping On” and continue to be SAFE, INSPIRED, and FORWARD…Love & Many Blessings…remember, you have “Musicool Friends In Tennessee”…Kiss The Ocean For ME in NC…sigh


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