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For the second time in three days, I was listening to a crappy rendition of that Mozart Piano Concerto in A Major. I thought, what are the chances of that happening twice in 3 days? There’s a surplus of great recordings out there, and they’re playing this lame-assed version – lifeless, uninspired, rhythmically pallid. It struck me as weird that it even happened, and I felt like I wanted to tell someone. I thought about picking up the cell phone, but thought it would be too prosaic. After all I was in L.A. and I didn’t want to be one of those people on the cell phone in the car. Then I thought that it was a shame that I was so self-conscious of every potential action to the point where reality itself was scripted.
The whole self-referential thing kicked into Dave Eggers high gear – “I’m thinking about me thinking about me…” It was over in no time – those brain farts play out within two seconds of real time because you’ve been down that road enough times; your consciousness gives you a paraphrase of the dead-end thought you’ve had hundreds of times already. What was left, though, was the beginning of loneliness. Now the bad Mozart seemed like one of those singular, solitary experiences that I’d never be able to explain to anyone, like some freaky animal you saw when you were a kid that somehow communicated to you, but no one was there to see it. The lonely feeling piggybacked onto the overly self-aware thing and they made a heady mix.
Next came the observation that I was completely not in control of my thought process – I wasn’t ‘clear’ like those nut-job scientologists at the Celebrity Center in Hollywood called it. I mean what kind of consciousness is this, where in under 45 seconds I can go from normal to malcontent over nothing? I felt the bile in my stomach rise up and panicked.
The mood could switch back, though, and it did. I stepped out of the car into the Koo-Koo Roo Chicken on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. Instantly the smell and feel of the place sparked a chain of associations and happy memories from when I used to live in L.A. It was the old giddy dream of prelapsarian bliss – before everything got fucked up, dull, and tedious. That’s what always saved me, the illusion that it was ever any better before than it is now. As I walked towards the restaurant, though, I realized that in order for the nostalgia to work its magic, things would always have to be perceived as fucked up in the present – otherwise the past would have no allure. The essential falseness of that arrangement hit me, and I was pissed off all over again as I walked through the doors.
Date Written: October 14, 2003
Author: Phony Millions
Average Vote: 4.6