Thursday, 1 March 2012

On the Road with Dave and Paul

Joni Mitchell-"Circle Game"

"I've got AIDS, You've got Huntington's. That means one thing, buddy. ROAD TRIP!"

Yes, my friend Dave said it in those exact terms.

Heaven 17-"Geisha Boys and Temple Girls"

Our road trips had taken on almost epic status. Both of us had grown up without proper coping techniques for life. We had used anything and everything to escape. For that last years of our lives, that included rental cars and any highway that would have us (What, you think he'd take his beloved Lexis on a road trip, where would we fit our food?).

The Eagles-"Hotel California"
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
'this could be heaven or this could be hell'

Over the years we drove all the way down and then up the Pacific Coast Highway (aka Highway 1). On the way we stopped over to stay at the beautiful Hotel California, Palm Springs, simply because we already knew the one in Santa Barbara and wanted to compare notes over the infamous lyrics of the song of the same name. I wouldn't miss this hotel if you  have never been. I've already booked a room for March 1st of next year.

Rent Motion Picture Soundtrack-"No Day Like Today"

Then there was the trip through the Texas Panhandle. This was probably our craziest road trip of all. Dave and I had never been to Texas, and we were undergoing a lot of personal stress. His twins had just been born, he had tested positive for AIDS, and my neurologist had made an early diagnosis of Huntington's Disease based on soft symptoms. In addition, I had just purchased a home with my girlfriend at the time. We needed to get away through a safe outlet, and we knew the best time was now before we both ended up escaping in a self-destructive way.

We were lucky. We had lovers who understood that as long as took care of our responsibilities it was a healthy outlet that would strengthen our home relationships more than if we ended up using and drinking.

So off to Texas we went, just because we could. We took an AA meeting guide and called Central Office in each town we reached. We managed to fit in a different meeting each day while on the road. It is very true when you read that the more you go, the more the meetings stay the same. The only difference was the accents of the people who welcomed us as visitors to their kind towns. We attended meetings on Indian Reservations, in the middle of the sticks, and even one where the majority of people were military members in uniform.

Counting Crows - "Big Yellow Taxi"

Of all the things that will stay with me on these road trips is the music. Dave worked in music studios as a career and he could explain why certain music sounded the way it did. Most importantly, he taught me that good music knows when to be quiet. Well, just like life.

Depeche Mode-"Master and Servant"

Take this song for example (it was one of several we discussed to death while our spouse's eyes glazed over). In the beginning there is this complete silence in between each of the three men's vocals. Only then does it even introduce musical instruments in the form of the emulator and then a synthesizer to add to the lead vocals. Dave thought this is where the multitude of remixes failed on this song. They took what made this song unique and turned it into just another generic remix by removing the build up. 

Is it any wonder now that these road trips with their resulting discussions were just as mentally helpful to our wives as to us? You see, this was just the tip of the iceberg. We would then list and name half a dozen of the remixes and then debate the failures and possibilities of each of them. 

Pet Shop Boys-"West End Girls (12" Dance Remix)"

This is another song that fails as a remix because the important buildup is destroyed as soon as the first note comes out of your stereo system. We would have our windows wide open and be singing to the PSB as naturally as most men sang to Eminem. No wonder we got so many strange looks in states like Alabama.

Speaking of road trips, we had just planned on driving up the coast to Washington State later in March while he was in between contracts. I think I'm going to pass and just watch something on the travel channel. Road trips aren't fun alone, and somehow I don't see Jane rocking it out to the Pet Shop Boy's "Always On My Mind"

Terry Jacks-"Season's in the Sun"

RIP My Friend
You have a safe trip now

1 comment:

  1. Paul,
    A road trip was the first thing I did when finding out about Huntington's. I completely understand. I drove from Maine to Minnesota, then to Oklahoma (and Okemah!) and finally back to Maine.
    It IS therapeutic, and I am so happy to hear of these precious memories with your friend.