Open All Night

Bruce Springsteen
Columbia, 1982

Well, I had the carburetor, baby, cleaned and checked
with her line blown out she’s hummin’ like a turbojet
Propped her up in the backyard on concrete blocks
for a new clutch plate and a new set of shocks
Took her down to the carwash, check the plugs and points
Well, I’m goin’ out tonight. I’m gonna rock that joint

Early north Jersey industrial skyline
I’m a all-set cobra jet creepin’ through the nighttime
Gotta find a gas station, gotta find a payphone
this turnpike sure is spooky at night when you’re all alone
Gotta hit the gas, baby. I’m running late,
this New Jersey in the mornin’ like a lunar landscape

Now, the boss don’t dig me, so he put me on the nightshift
It’s an all night run to get back to where my baby lives
In the wee wee hours your mind gets hazy
radio relay towers, won’t you lead me to my baby?
Underneath the overpass, trooper hits his party light switch
Goodnight good luck one two power shift

I met Wanda when she was employed
behind the counter at route 60 Bob’s Big Boy
Fried Chicken on the front seat, she’s sittin’ in my lap
We’re wipin’ our fingers on a Texaco roadmap
I remember Wanda up on scrap metal hill
with them big brown eyes that make your heart stand still

Well, at five a.m., oil pressure’s sinkin’ fast
I make a pit stop, wipe the windshield, check the gas
Gotta call my baby on the telephone
Let her know that her daddy’s comin’ on home
Sit tight, little mama, I’m comin’ ’round
I got three more hours, but I’m coverin’ ground

Your eyes get itchy in the wee wee hours
sun’s just a red ball risin’ over them refinery towers
Radio’s jammed up with gospel stations
lost souls callin’ long distance salvation
Hey, mister deejay, woncha hear my last prayer
hey, ho, rock’n’roll, deliver me from nowhere

I could stay and go on to fame and fortune American Idol holding auditions here Wednesday. Apparently about three-quarters of the people staying in this particular Best Western are waiting for the auditions tomorrow at Cleveland Browns stadium. Sure beats karaoke.

One more day’s driving and I get to see Lisa and the dogs again. Today I go from Cleveland through Pennsylvania on 80 and then across New Jersey to her family’s place in Lakewood. With any luck, there won’t be a repeat of yesterday’s traffic snarl around Chicago. Then again, it’s already raining, so who knows.

Neologism of the day: gootllysac

I do have to give a big thumbs down to the loop around Chicago. The first 1600 miles of this trip were like some kind of platonic ideal of driving, where people stayed on the right unless they were passing, roads were well maintained, and you got plenty of room from your fellow drivers. Fast forward to the approach to Chicago, where I encountered my first stay-in-the-left-lane-for-six-days drivers, my first come-up-after-everyone-else-has-merged-from-the-closing-left-lane-into-the-right-lane-and-cut-in-front-of-me driver, and my first signs of the impending jaw surgery I’ll need from the rough ride.

Wah, wah, wah. I know. And yet I think it says something that I didn’t have to dust off my invective until today. For example, a little phrase I’ve taken to short-cutting as “Gootllysac,” lest “Get out of the left lane, you selfish ass-clown” be too long or harsh to pronounce. Try it, you’ll like it.

(For more left-lane angst and uses of the word ass, check out this classic post from 2002, now with working link).

Still going

Nothing outlasts…the cross-country drive. I have this funny feeling that I will be too tired, for a very long time, to post any blow-by-blow details of this trip. Suffice it to say that 2350 miles after leaving the Seattle burbs, I’m sitting in another cheap hotel with free internet, this one outside the Cleveland airport. (All together: Cleveland rocks!)

Odd factoid: not every room in these Best Westerns actually has high-speed Internet, despite it being advertised as “free” on the sign outside. I had to change rooms tonight to get the high speed connection.

Oh, and one minor correction to Dave’s post from a few days ago: the final destination of this trip is Boston—but the map on the first day’s post shows my interim destination, my in-law’s place on the Jersey Shore, rather than Delaware (a reasonable guess given the highly imprecise map).