Arts & Culture

The Ira Glass Infatuation Post/This American Life Roundup: “Road Trip”

My man, a car, and the empty road in front of us. I’ve never dreamt of anything greater than this simple vision that Ira delivers in this week’s episode on road trips. His existential examination on the topic: "We all … Read More

By / June 2, 2010

My man, a car, and the empty road in front of us. I’ve never dreamt of anything greater than this simple vision that Ira delivers in this week’s episode on road trips. His existential examination on the topic: "We all still buy into the cliché about road trips–that what a road trip stands for is hope…hope that somewhere, anywhere is better than here-that somewhere on the road I will turn into the person I want to be." In the following four acts, the garbage that many a man has spouted at me is disproved-that you can’t run away from yourself. But listen as transformations of the self occur en route rather than the stationary hub of reality that is such a bore. Just give me a martini, a Volvo and a Dennis Hopper-style Easy Rider hallucination and we can kiss your old ass goodbye as the journey swallows you whole and spits you out anew. Muah. Act1: Intermeshing or Clashing of spirits Dishwasher Pete Greyhounds across the country with sugar daddy Ira’s hookup on recording gear-if only I could be so lucky. Beyond a destination that tends to steal the spotlight, he embraces the journey that is long, bare, and the only thing a man really has to call his own. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

On the dilapidated silver bullet of the highway, Pete takes on a sort of sexy gonzo persona, encountering fellow lost souls with no destination in mind. I was reticent to fall into Pete’s romanticization of the bus line since I haven’t been able to shake the weird beheading incident from a couple of years back from my memory, taking one of my favorite bus driver fantasies off of rotation until further notice.

But Pete goes there, trying to take the grey out of the experience. He meets individuals on their own planets, including a proselytizing Jesus, opium, and cannabis-loving man without an audience, ignoring the fundamental relationship with a listener, thoughts escaping into the aether.or is it ether in this case? Self-realization sets in through new culture shock, a journey in itself consisting of near insanity, existential strife, and self-proclaimed psychic girlfriends of prisoners. Beyond these characters, he can’t seem to score, like a poor guy with too many bunk pick up lines. "Maybe there wasn’t something significant on the minds of Greyhound customers."

Transitional phases are romaniticized and I become jealous of the dirty whore that is Escape.


Act 2: I don’t feel like a chess widow anymore Playwrights Carmen Rivera and Candido Tirado become Beauty and the Chessmaster as they travel to Europe from the Bronx in the midst of domestic warfare that could result in relationship lost or found. Their malaise turns toxic and potentially fatal as the Puerto Rican-playwright-New Yorkers seem to grow apart-sometimes demographics alone are not enough to keep a lovelife going.

Parisian and Corsican landscapes take them out of their elements and into another realm where their malaise is foreign. Somehow mundane American strife takes an extra allure when accessorized with a European cigarette and some comte chez Sarkozy that jumpstarts it into Spanish-style wild passion a la Javier Bardem-Penelope Cruz. There’s no better therapy like Euro-scumbag shock therapy, I always say. Act 3: As the vermouth and gin set in, his conversations tend to get naughty George Burns is one of the loves of my life. That he is a man of humor, wit, and stamina is an understatement for the aged comedian, still on the road en tuxedo. He was the man who uttered "Don’t stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed." Amen, sister.

In this act, Margy Rochlin narrates an interview on the road with George Burns and his posse when the man was 92 and still on the go. "The road trip I’m on," says Margy, "is not about adventure unpredictability. The road trip I’m on is about making sure everything is the same." While some find peace in the profound, patterns are where it is at, especially the rhythmic pulsating kind.

I am as in lust with Burns’ entourage as I am with Vincent Chase’s. Of one enthused gentleman who lures her away from her slot problem by way of an arm-in-arm walk, she says "I am his babe and he is my silver-haired energetic sugar daddy." It’s how I feel when the aged boys buy my rounds in Chicago’s Viagra Triangle-why not give them the luxury of my lush company in the speakeasy?

As with all of interesting extroverted lovers, "this will be a man I get to know in the moments between words." Act 4: This story contains a lot of antisocial behavior Cheryl Trykv conveys a buxom tale, warned against by Ira to the kiddies’ innocent ears. Lawbreaking citizens tend to do it for me, naturally. Their rejection of a system that strangles like a cockring, complemented by their gypsy disregard for private property ensures plenty of spicy deviance. The act begins famously: "It’s 1990 and she’s wearing a 1977 bleached blond Farrah Fawcett featherdo and electical blue Maybelline mascara which contrast nicely with the lime green polyester manager’s pantsuit she’s got on." The strangers one meets on the road allows a person to revel in the oddities of being an outsider, the state of being prominent at the bottom of a pint in New Orleans but largely absent in the modern housewife.

The narrator of Paw Paw for Jesus is a sexy motherfucker-her demeanor and love of the derangement that is life is summed up in her observation, "I’ve never gone 105 in a Chevy van before and it feels pretty good. Faster I yell!" She is of the same breed as Mae West who spoke the words, "Cultivate your curves – they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided."