Friday, February 22, 2008

country radio


I.

There's a certain je ne sais quoi about a radio station that sings to you about tequila at 8 in the morning. "Don't ask her on a straight tequila night," he beseeched me as the third merge-monstering luxury sedan of the morning careened into my lane, "She'll start thinkin' about him, and she's ready to fight." Funny thing is, it's a beautiful song.

Many of them are. Hokey, yeah - but I'm hokey. Songs that don't bother advancing beyond the bleached bones of what America used to be about; the America that my parents signed up for. The America that lived on and on, long past its mainland expiration date, in the collection of Air Force bases I was tucked into as I grew.

I know every syllable to a bunch of them - many more than you'd think, to know me. Songs about the cheap seats, and rear-view mirrors, and the creature from the black lagoon, and being better together. It doesn't matter how far away I get from those Fourth-of-July flightlines and jungle-lined football fields, I still tear up a little to hear That One Damn Lee Greenwood Song. Years of perching on the cutting edge of musical culture have only driven me back there...back from $20-gin-and-tonic, cellphone-photo, American-Apparel-commemorative-festival-shirt music to bowling-alley, hay-barn, open-highway music. I'm fully aware that these guys are created by the same machine. It's just quickly becoming my favourite part of the machine.

As I exited the freeway, he was offering me a glass of chablis and some quarters for the jukebox so I could turn her love life around. Thanks, man. You started my day off right.

II.

I'm entering Day 12 of my 30-day Bikram challenge, and I feel incredible - long and tall, as though the heat of the room has melted my bones and sinews and is slowly drawing them out of where they'd settled. In that room, under the firm massage of the instructor's voice, my body goes places I always thought it couldn't.

I've become fascinated with the sensuality of the class. I love the way the warm, wet cloth hangs against my skin - like it used to, walking home through tropical rain - and the subtle changes in the temperature of air as it pulls through my nose and the back of my throat to fill my lungs. In triangle, I stare at the droplets of sweat snaking from my wrist to my shoulder. Forced to stare at my full body in the mirror for an hour a day, I've become at once more aware, more accepting, and more enthralled with the miracles that allow me to breathe - nevermind hold my foot over my head for ninety seconds.

Best of all, old ills are evaporating. My wonky wrist has returned to peace, and the popcorn tattoo that my shoulder used to beat upon rotation is quieting quicker than I'd dared to hope.

In short, I'm diggin' it.

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