which way man

March 9, 2008

I’m at SXSW interactive, which I’m not all that interested in blogging about except to say it’s not really all that cool, or actually it’s not as cool as I thought it would be. Although I am convinced that it would be much cooler if Amos still lived in Austin.

I do have a SXSW hook to make a tangential jump to another kinda fragmented rumination post. I’m staying with my friend Christopher, who I’m happy to reconnect with after on and off contact over the last 10 years. He lives about 6 miles away from all the action, so this morning I took the bus downtown but did not really nail down the directions to walk to the stop and from the stop to the convention center. Predictably, I got turned around. I got turned around twice to be exact and arrived about a half hour later than I’d hoped. Once I finally sat down in the small hall where I attended my first session this idea lodged in my brain -“how long can I to go in the wrong direction before I turn around.”

I think I’ve learned or am learning that I can’t think hard enough or close my eyes tight enough to turn north into south. Right as I typed that I thought to myself, god, north to south feels so loaded, in contrast to east to west which just feels so big. Almost too big. But I feel like these days I’m trying to figure out the degrees of things. And degrees matter. Certainly one can get lost, maybe waylaid, just by starting out a few degrees off and then marching on anyway. And the offness multiplies. And thinking about all that offness I’m so tempted to segue into these life and death scenarios played out in the northwest wilderness when a hiker miscalculates sunset or a backpacker loses the trail. But I’d like to turn down the volume on that kind of tragedy, which my mind seems almost tweaked to track.

Things don’t always have be tragic and maybe lost is not the right word. Maybe it’s just you don’t end up where you thought you would. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Christopher took a wrong turn last night on our way to the Salt Lick, and we had a beautiful 20 mile drive out to where the sun was setting in the start of hill country. I had forgotten what it is like to see for that many miles.

All this may be my attempt at a round about way of saying lately I’ve been thinking there are places, or really just one place, where I’d like to end up but I’m not sure how to get there. I mean I think that’s what I’m trying to say here, although it feels less straight forward, so I don’t wanna say it without adding some poetry to it. I keep thinking about life being short, not in a fatalistic way, but just that life is short and like M Ward says and, “my heart is always on the line, I’ve traveled all kinds of places.

1 Comment »

one response to “which way man”

  1. peptide says:

    I wish I was there to host you. 🙂
    Its’ funny you’re having such a hard time with direction because I had the exact same problem when I first arrived in Austin. There were a couple of times when I was driving south, away from town, yet thinking I was going north, feeling utterly lost. My sense of direction is usually quite good, but something about the place left me disoriented for a long while. Even now, thinking of my commute from downtown (I worked in the Texas State Library for a while, right next to the Capitol), where I’d be heading south (have you seen any ‘78704 Not just a zip code, it’s a way of life’ bumper stickers? That was my side of town) to go home, but with a strong sense that it was north.
    Other good food options (Austin has a ton): Guero’s (tex-mex at its best) – on Congress (the road straight south of the capitol – great vista!) and Curra’s (Southern mexican – fantastic tamales) on Oltorf. (Gee, lotta parentheses in this comment). If you’re in the mood for Indian, the Clay Pit is quite good. On the southside there’s a funky coffee shop that sometimes has music – Flipnotics.
    It’s probably too cold, but Barton Springs pool is the bomb.
    I’m really missing Austin at the moment.
    Have a great time!

leave a reply