My car has a 4 cylinder engine. Of the 4 cylinders processing compression, spark, and (I forgot the 3rd step), 3 of them are working. When you turn Honda on, he reverberates a sound that can only be distinguished as the Guinness book of world records performance for most hand claps by a human being in 60 seconds. Although they're not hand claps and more so the power-steering belt competing with the alternator's belt for loudest performance before the engine warms, Honda rolls like Atlantic City dice to and fro on 94 to make the magical trip to work and back... safe.
That single non-operational cylinder- that singular son'bitch is my alibi, my excuse, my crutch- the sole reason I don't dangerously greyhound it to the west coast and take up a friends couch while busting arse at the nearest Starbucks day-in-and-out. The choice could level my sanity entirely.
You know your friends that take pride in knowing where the salad fork is, keeping their cubicle organized, and returning redbox vids within the same day they've rented them... this is not the lifestyle for them. What would level my sanity in a week, could potentially destroy their moral compass and sense of gravity in 10 minutes flat. So... I can't make this choice to bust ass to Los Angeles, as I had planned so discreetly and publicly, as fast as I want to. I can't say “can't” because it wouldn't be true to the situation. Yes- I could move to Los Angeles right now, say “fuck your mother” to all the bills I'd plan on paying when my weekly income entered the 10,000's and put this whole half-reality on hold... perhaps the better word is “won't”. Yes- I will not- I won't move to Los Angeles like a Tony-Scott-film helicopter making a emergency landing to salvage what's left. Although I could... I won't.
For now, I take the trips to work (which praise be to Allah they gave me back, after shuffling the staff once again... this time in my favor) as practice for Honda and I to make the trek to Los Angeles as early as Spring, late as Summer. The trips to work finance Honda's new engine, finance a new laptop, and that savings side of the bank that could use a little more than a pick-me up.
With a debilitated engine such as Honda's, it requires a tad more TLC than the average machine. Whenever filling it with gas, it's mandatory I look underneath the hood and check the oil. Every time after stabbing the oil rod back into it's test tube valve, I'll find myself staring at that cylinder- that motherfucking cylinder. In my mind I curse it to death and wish it'd taken the beloved nice treatment to the new spark plugs I bought for him and his 3 buddies... obviously shot down, literally. Then I go to pondering the positive. Could the cylinder be saying something?- that perhaps I was supposed to stay in Minneapolis longer. A reason to all this, you say? How could I not think so and/or take up the challenge.
After hearing The Blend's new album, setting up the final tour dates for their CD release and farewell show, it was as if this was the way it was always going to be- as if there were no other way gravity or the rotation of the globe would have it. For me, and I know for Linden (The Blend's keyboard/saxophone player) it couldn't've happened at a better time. Linden leaves early January for his new apartment on Wilshire Blvd, a la California, whereas I stare at a cylinder in a 1997 Honda Civic per chance waiting for it to tell me why it decided to crap out before straddling Midwest to West Coast- how it failed to follow the crowd (the other 3 working cylinders).
What I've found from these episodes with the hood open, and the gas flowing to the fuel tank... is that dead engine cylinders don't talk. They simply stick with the piece of machinery that they were destined to be a part of- frozen in funeral amidst the turning cogs and lively parts still pushing forward in the process.
I shut the hood. Hop in the Honda, and head toward my daily destiny (j.o.b.) to take care of a handful of kids with autism, go home to write afterwards and finance a new engine with cylinders that reciprocate with California. As of right now, where I am, this engine reciprocates perfectly with Minnesota.