Friday, May 25, 2007

Subterranean Homesick Alien

Leaning up against the back of the bench, my legs crossed, my eyes squinted in the misty morning air, I clutched my discman and turned to gaze out upon the patterned blue. We were crossing from Maine to Nova Scotia. To my impatient heart this was the longest ferry ride in the whole wide world. This was the longest morning. I closed my eyes again with the slow somber roll of the ferry engine. A breeze rushed through the summer skies and my hair fell onto my face, touching my cheek. As I brushed it away I looked up:

"The breath of the morning I keep forgetting. The smell of the warm summer air. I live in a town where you can't smell a thing, you watch your feet for cracks in the pavement."

I had bought a new organizer for the trip. This was long before the days of the IPOD, I picked out the most travel-worthy of the music collection and filed them, flip-envelope after flip-envelope in a big black book for the car, a small shoulder bag for day excursions. I preferred walking through the visitors centers and museums, Norman Rockwell's Studio in Stockbridge, Emily Dickinson's home in Amherst, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, earbuds in, avoiding the wandering conversation of my parents. My companion for this day and the next, the voice that I heard, that told me everything as I walked down a cold, pale hallway in the Alexander Graham Bell museum in Baddeck, NS, was Thom Yorke....

"I wish that they'd swoop down in a country lane, late at night when I'm driving. Take me on board their beautiful ship, show me the world as I'd love to see it."

How is it that out of the hundreds of CDs that I had brought along on this trip, every moment of this three week journey across the eastern seaboard and to the north seems stilted in the warbling, earnest voice of Thom Yorke and OK Computer's intricate weaving modern bell-prose of the organ and guitar.

I think of walking through the gardens of a bed and breakfast, some hazy new england morning, driving up the coast of Nova Scotia, marvelling at the rising Highlands, the winding shore. I think of collapsing after a long day's journey, curled up in a hotel bed, no cares, no worries until morning, the darkness and Jonny Greenwood, the quiet and Thom's voice.

"I'd tell all my friends but they'd never believe me, they'd think that I'd finally lost it completely. I'd show them the stars and the meaning of life. They'd shut me away. But I'd be alright..."

(excerpts from Subterranean Homesick Alien from Radiohead's OK COMPUTER)

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