Sadness, despression and futility collide on I-95
We spent what seemed like the better part of 67 hours yesterday in the car driving back home from Washington, DC. I realize that is not supposed to be possible given the limits of time and space as we currently know them, but science has yet to account for the “grumpy, bored kid factor” when calculating these kinds of things.
Along the way, we stumbled upon the most depressing trifecta of place and circumstances that you could ever ask for, and it all started with my family’s insistence that we stop at a place that you will know instantly if you have ever travelled on I-95 in either direction towards South Carolina – South of the Border.
Let me preface all of this by saying I have a life long bad taste in my mouth for South of the Border for reasons that have little to do with the place itself. I am a proud native son of South Carolina, but sometimes it’s really hard to admit that because most people know of my state for 3 reasons. 1.) The Civil War started there. I take no pride in this. 2.) We’re all a bunch of racist hicks with the Stars and Bars flying over our houses and tattooed all over our bodies. This of course is not true but there are enough of them out there that it might as well be. 3.) South of the Border, thanks to the ubiquitous road side billboards that appear every mile from Maine to Florida it seems.
There’s nothing wrong in and of itself with South of the Border, I guess. It’s just annoying that more people associate that with my home state than the beautiful foothills and beaches. Out of principle, I have never stopped here, until yesterday. And it just so happened that no sooner than I did, my beloved Manchester City conceded a horrible goal very late in the match against Chelsea that lead to a crushing defeat, so I was in a bad mood before I opened the door and took a good look at the sombrero tower.
To make matters worse, it was a that point that I found out that the great Lou Reed passed away yesterday. I love Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, so even though I knew he had been sick it was a tremendous shock and downer to learn that. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that he is the most influential musician since the Beatles. I immediately sat back in the car while the family plundered the SotB gift shops and put together a best of Lou Reed playlist, split evenly between Velvet Underground and his solo work, which I tormented my family with in the car for several hours after we left SotB as payback for making me stop there. It was at that point that I looked up and saw this sign.
Anyway, that was about the last straw, so I sat in the car and stewed in my own juices for a while until it was time to go. Needless to say I was not in a good mood at this time, but a couple of listens to the awesomeness of Perfect Day and Rock and Roll brought me around eventually. (Until the Space Time Continuum ruptured somewhere around Savannah and our car ride stretched on to infinity.) Nothing personal, South of the Border, but you’re just not my jam. I wish you success, but maybe tone it down a notch or two?
As for you, sit down and listen to Transformer or any of The Velvet Underground albums today and appreciate what Lou Reed left s a legacy (or use the playlist below, provided for your listening and/or subscribing pleasure.)
There’s a DC mega-post, probably split into a few different volumes, coming soon. It wasn’t all sadness and roadside attractions.