When it comes to gaining and holding attention,
“Predictability is Death. Spontaneity is Life.”
This is Spontaneity.
– Indy Beagle
There is nothing exciting about driving on the long, bleak stretches of Eastern Oklahoma highway at the end of winter. It has to be one of the most mind-numbing, energy-sucking experiences that I’ve ever squeezed into toothpick-propped eyes, all dirty lakes and leafless trees, the cloudy gray of winter breezes, 50 degrees settling on mournful shacks of Cherokee, Creek, and once-proud Nations herded into reservations beside the road.
Bingo parlors call our name, dreary towns sleep just the same as the ones we saw before… How many more?… We are bored… about to snore our van into an early retirement plan – an empty roadside fruit stand – until our desperate twist of the dial picked up a rescue signal beaming the mega-bands of the past! Indestructible guitar riffs built to last! The electric bombastic flash of Classic Rock!
That started off well enough with Van Halen trying to get us Higher without David Lee Roth, but then… wah-wah-WOW, wah-wah-WOW, wah-wah-WOW… Foxy! Yeah, you know, Jimi Hendrix ripping off faces off with his grinding, growling, guttural guitar whine. And we turned downright giddy-as-could-be honking our G-sharp glee, amazingly in the same key as Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.
Everything devoid of color bloomed into flowering beauty! Without the LSD! The trees had tie-dyed leaves, stagnant lakes became an endless crystal sea, speeding expressway automobiles aligned in three-part harmony: on our right, a gray-haired warrior rode the rugged, enduring power of an ancient mud-encrusted heavy-duty Ford. On our left, Stetsoned ranch hands in BMWs waved their surreal salute; the Cowboy and the Indian had become friends.
Hovering hawks froze midair in the onrush of wind to breathe in the scene. We were the Kings of the Highway! Nothing could make this feeling go away! Until the DJ was requested to play that long ago, should-have-been-retired-retread of a southern-fried music turd: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.”
Man! What was that radio retard thinking? Did he not realize that our very survival depended on the salvation of head-banging rock? I mean, I could just picture that weasel mocking our desperate plight to arrive home safely in Austin:
“Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! You must seek shelter in Elton John’s Candle in the Wind on the LIGHT rock station and then figure out what exactly it is that Phil Collins can feel comin’ in the air tonight, because “Freebird” is more than seven minutes long and the guitar solo goes on and on and on. Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!”
I may be blowing this out of proportion, but I felt some sort of strange connection with the Indians forced to subsist on a worn out, unproductive soft-rock musical landscape, with my soul yearning for the raw, rugged, raging majesty of my heritage.
Thankfully, “Freebird” was soon locked back in its cage. We were getting close to the Texas border and The Doors were about to break on through to the other side into a picture-perfect paradise playland to drive, because everyone knows that there are no long, bland stretches of endlessly boring highway once you get into Texas.