Saturday, November 11, 2006

Grinch

But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

-How the Grinch stole Christmas

I was alone on the dark road. The air was cold and clean. The rising elevation of the twisting mountain road had lifted me from the perma-smog level of the valley below.

It was convenient, living in the small town at the very foot of Mount Baldy. It was too early for snow, and on a chilly mid-week evening in the middle of autumn, there was no traffic.

I came around the corner and slowly trailed off the road into a flat gravel turnout. There was a mounded soil berm around the edge, poorly-designed to prevent wayward drivers from plunging to their fiery death down in the dark canyon below. I stopped before I got that far.

I sat in the cab of my truck watching swirling eddies of dust dance in my high beams. Morose music played meaningfully from my stereo speakers. Probably the Smiths. This was many years ago, but still, 10 to 1, it was Morrissey and Johnny meandering their way through the harmony and melody of gloom.

My stalwart sensibilities were in some sort of youth-induced disarray. Was it a girl? Maybe. Was it the apprehension of my waning faith? Perhaps. Might it have been the tedious monotony and of work and school? It's truly hard to tell.

I'm not even certain now, these many years later, whether it was angst, anger, or anxiety. I was full, however, with whatever emotion ailed me, and I felt that it was prudent to take it out on the mountain roads that wound their way above my home.

So, there I sat, alone, with the lights turned off, listening to sad songs in the dark by the side of the silent road. The source of my ire swelled, and it needed to come out.

I opened the door of my truck. The frigid night air made a sucking sound as it poured into my once-warm cab. The ping ping ping of my open-door alarm and the glare of my overhead lamp were jarring against the inky silence. As I stepped out, I felt the satisfying crunch of my Vans stepping on the gravel below. Quickly, I closed the door to end the assault of light and noise.

A few feet away, I found a boulder perched precariously on the edge of the cliff. I stepped carefully atop the rock and stared at the moon-cast shadows crawling against the apposite canyon wall.

I knew the alpine ravine was deep and the walls were steep. It was also quite wide. From where I stood, it was several hundred yards to the other side. I felt small. I felt engulfed by the unknown darkness.

It took a few moments to find my voice. Eventually, however, whatever it was, whatever the cause of my melancholy, I closed my eyes, lifted my head and and let it out. It was Whitman's barbaric yawp. It was primal. It filled the valley before me, echoing against rocks and trees, flowing toward nothingness in the night.

It was, what you might call, therapeutic.

Today, I drove my practical car to the office to get in a few extra weekend billables. I was dressed comfortably in practical Northwest layers. I had lunched with the monkey and the missus. I stopped for a grande coffee (no room) at Starbucks.

I was listening to some old music on the way that recalled memories of my road-side outburst. I realized that don't feel Yawpy much anymore. In fact, I don't feel much in the way of swelling emotion very often at all anymore. Maybe I'm a Jedi. Maybe it's just old age. Maybe my heart is two sizes too small.

Hard to say. However, it's probably for the best, there aren't many cliffs to scream from around here...

8 comments:

  1. We should plan something.

    Something epic.

    Something grand.

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  2. Mrs. G&T8:49 AM

    I see you when you come home from weekends at the office and the Monkey screams "Daddy!" I think there's swelling of emotion there. Not Smiths-induced teenage angst, but there it is.

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  3. My 20 year reunion is coming up. Plans are being made, committees formed. Old yearbook photos being downloaded onto web pages that we couldn't have conceived of back then. I cling to the excitement of that weekend many months from now because what else is there? Yes, my friend, it is old age. But the missus is right. Mollys and Quinns and Gabriels and Lilys are worth it.

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  4. I think we all know you aren't a jedi. And, it isn't being old or a lack of cliffs from which to yawp. Its the perspective that comes with getting older and a general lack of wacky hormones messing with you all the time (although there are hormonal surges from time to time). If you can't even remember why you made that late night drive and spat your emotions into the night sky, it probably wasn't something terribly important in the overall fabric of your life.

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  5. I call my husband the grinch and say those lines to him.

    Cool blog!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Maybe you just need more whiney Emo music to bring it out of you.

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  7. Nice Blog, Brian.

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  8. I think about those times a lot too Brian. Maybe it was the music that kept us in that melancholy funk. It could be that we didnt play enough sports and were never really that popular in high school ... maybe your penis is 2 sizes too small.

    I went up that same road last night in my Nova. I had the kid next to me and we were exceeding the speed limit. Nothing could wipe the perma-grin off of our faces, not even "the smiths"

    Great blog though keep it up!!

    ReplyDelete

Be compelling.

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