Friday, August 17, 2007

Salvation Blues

It's Mark Olson weekend pretty much...
Unfortunately, for me, I have to go to Portage, WI for a wedding tomorrow, so I will miss his show at the 400 Bar. His new album is incredibly good. I talked about it in the HWTS podcast that came out last week, which you can listen to here.

Tony Thomas has an interview today with Mark Olson, which you can listen to here.

Olson is also playing at the fetus tomorrow at noon or at 2:00, depending on who you listen to.

I guessed and started the rumor that Olson would have some "special" guests with him and Olson himself, in his interview with Tony Thomas, intimated the same. Should be a brilliant show.

Happy Birthday

My friend, Jen is having a birthday bash with some great bands. You should really go...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My bridge story is like most people’s: not really about the bridge, but more about me. My sister-in-law called my wife to tell her to turn on the television. I was in the other room leaving a message for a friend whose dog had just died (a sad country song of a story in itself). “A bridge on 35W collapsed,” my wife said.

I thought first of the Diamond Lake Road overpass that they tore down a few months ago. I thought it must be an overpass somewhere that fell downtragic, but relatively minor. I was wrong.

As I watched the news and listened to MPR constantly for the next few days, I couldn’t shake that helpless feeling. Like someone punched you in the stomach. I kept watching and listening, never really hearing anything new, but unable to turn away. I kept seeing this tangles mass of steel and concrete, splintered up towards the sky and swimming in the brown muck of the Mississippi. I couldn’t turn away. It looked to me like a movie, something not real, something that couldn’t happen a few miles from my house, something that doesn’t happen in Minnesota.

As I watched, my mind began to work in the exhaustive way it works—creating dark fantasies of myself driving over that bridge. What would I do?

Each day after work, I pick up my daughter from day care and drive her across town to our house in North Minneapolis. Each day I drive over bridges, past lakes and alongside that mighty river. I kept imagining myself with my daughter strapped into her Graco in the backseat, trying to get to her, underwater or teetering on the edge of a concrete cliff. These dark fantasies haunted me constantly. What would I do? How can I stand it? How can I protect this little, beautiful person? I didn’t want to tell my wife about these haunting thoughts, but I had to eventually, I couldn’t keep it to myself. I said plainly, “I keep thinking about being on the bridge with her. What if I had to save her, or worse yet, what if I couldn’t?”

“I know,” is all she said.

I think she knew, but I couldn’t really tell her what I meant. I couldn’t verbalize the twisted thoughts that were in my head. I couldn’t say them out loud.

Again, I kept looking at those images of the bridge. I couldn’t believe it was real.

I went out the Friday after the collapse to the 331 Club to see JG and Mary Everest. I was there by myself and I was enjoying the music, for the first part of the night, it was therapy to unnerve myself from the bridge and my nightmares. About 12:30 though, I found myself staring at the floor, daydreaming about that bridge. It was consuming me again, I knew it was right down the street and I knew that I had to go see it.

I drive down University to where the avenue intersects the interstate and I slowed and looked to my right. Powerful lights lighted the whole span and I could see a section of bridge tilted up towards downtown like a giant concrete launch ramp. I could see nothing beyond that, the road just dropped out of sight.

I drove home not feeling better, I sat on my couch and listened, through my headphones, to Cloud Cult’s The Meaning of 8. There are so many songs on that album about a parent and child separated by tragedy. It was just the kind of wallowing torture I needed. I stared blankly at the wall as I sat on my couch listening.

When I woke up the next morning, I felt better. The fantasies stopped. I still felt heartbroken and helpless, but I felt better. I think maybe my bridge story is still happening…