Tuesday, January 5, 2010

You Can Dream Yourself to Cleveland

I was making great time...

...until the car caught fire.

I was trying to make it to Cleveland. And from there sleep and a good days drive into Massachusetts.

But I was also trying to save money, so I was on a small deserted highway a few miles from the turnpike (because I didn't want to pay tolls).

I saw smoke coming from under the hood, but there was no good place to pull over, so I thought I'd crest the small hill first.

When smoke started pouring in through the steering column, I figured it was time to pull over. And when the flames licked out at my legs, I knew things were getting serious.

I thought I could put the fire out. Maybe blow it out.

But when the windshield started to melt, I gave up on that idea. I was having an out-of-body experience. Shocking. And surreal.

I should've gotten my bags out of the back, but I was afraid the gas tank would explode. (It eventually did, but minutes later.)

And as I was trying to process what was happening right in front of me, a guy with a cell phone pulled up and called 911 (and this was back before everyone had cell phones). We stood and watched flames engulf the car. And waited. And saw the gas tank explode.

The fire truck came a few minutes after that. They put the fire out quickly, but everything inside the car was gone. I knew the car used to have windows and tires, but I couldn't see any sign of them.

I finally realized I wasn't going anywhere near Cleveland. My plans flickered in the night, then vanished in the smoke. It was all like a dream, like the darkest dream in the world.

I wanna be Robyn Hitchcock in a future life.

Not just because I want to have floppy silver hair and be a cult hero traveling the world with a guitar and a bunch of stories.

Not just because I want to have everyone in my band switch instruments and record an off-kilter, we-can't-really-play-these-new-instruments version of "Rock 'n' Roll Toilet" as a CD bonus track.

And not just because I want to throw myself a huge party when I turn 50 and recreate a concert that's still whispered about decades later.

Among the many, many reasons I wanna be Robyn Hitchcock is so that I can call up my favorite band and convince them to get back together and make their first record in ten years. Which they will insist that I produce. So I'll come to town a week earlier than I need to finish my album and bang out their record in five wonderful days.

Oddly enough, I believe this might just be possible. Because everyone has to believe in something.


Anonymous said...

I said "Jasper, this one's evil..."

Holly A Hughes said...

Ah, the many reasons to become Robyn Hitchcock... (lemme know if that plan ever comes through for ya, because I have my own agenda regarding Robyn Hitchcock).

I hope you had insurance on the car. And I hope you didn't lose anything else of value inside it . . . like maybe a shoebox full of Creedence tapes?

Alex said...


Ah, the many agendas re: Robyn Hitchcock!

It actually wasn't even my car (although the owner had insurance on it). The biggest thing I lost was a set of photographs from when I'd moved across the country 3 months earlier and all the cool places I'd stopped. (I still miss those photos.)