Sunday, May 14, 2006

Danville, PA to NYC

Another snowstorm stops us making it all the way from Cleveland to Brookyln, so we have one last night in a hotel. In Danville PA, we find a Days Inn with an enormous bar, a musician howling Neil Young songs at three dazed punters and a strange deadening ambience that hovers around the oversized foyer and corridors, basketball court-sized and completely empty. One last eerie night in rural Pennsylvania before our final bow in New York, the day before Thanksgiving. With pitchers of beer at $1 each, it's not long before everyone is screaming requests for Johnny Cash. 'I'm here next Tuesday too' the singer tells us, more in sorrow than hope.

Today is our last day, I am in between the mental process of turning this into a memory, distant colours recalled from posters and pamphlets carelessly stuffed into bags in hotel foyers (rediscovered years later in a hurried spring clean, held for three seconds of recollection then tidied away again) and the feeling that these things actually happened days back, that Stein's Ghost Town or the lights of El Paso, or the cold of Lake Erie are just down the road, existing as part of the immediate world. Today I'm stranded in between the two; self conscious of this fading away, (the curse of reading Proust) even as we drive through New Jersey under a bright winter sun, colouring the drab birches and scrub grass a Pre-Raphaelite auburn. Soon, all this will be gone, eaten by the drone of a flight deck, the flicker of other people's movies. The strange abstraction of playing music night after night after night after night will become a memory.

I have this bizarre reluctance to end the tour, which I have often found utterly miserable, longing for home, feeling ill and restless. The winter is really coming in. Maybe I will just miss being abroad and the intense tenor of life on the road, hope, disappointment, uncertainty, romance. The end of an era in my life. The major feeling now is weariness and the usual faint tinge of foolishness.

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