Monday, June 27, 2011

Luke Lagraff - Everywhere for Me

I feel I've been more places than a lot of people. I've been more
places than one of my friends. I know I have. I've been more places
than almost all things. And by things I mean animals. Except birds I
guess. Well, the ones that migrate and shit. They fly thousands of
miles. They eat fish from the same little lake each time. They eat from
the same family of worms, too. That worm family must not like them. If
I was in that worm family, I'd be like, "NOT AGAIN! That same swooping
bastard ate my 349th born child!" I'm not going to check if worms have
that many offspring, I'm just assuming they do. Because worms don't
have much to do that's fun besides get it on.
I went to Memphis once. It was alright. I got lost in Soulsville. I
thought that was cool. I've been to Knoxville hundreds of times though.
Some were fun and some were forgotten. One time that wasn't forgotten
was the most cathartic concert I've ever been to; Phish is a helleva
band. I've been to Nashville a number of times as well. I had sex in
Nashville once. In the backyard of a house that was for sale. I never
had sex in Knoxville. I've been to Martin once, too. They have a
college there. I went to Bristol once to see a cirlce race. Yep, they
all went left. I've been to Crossville, Clarksville, Kingsport,
Murpheesboro, Dayton, Dunlap, Soddy-Daisy, Gatlinburg, and Manchester.
I saw all the bands you'd ever want to hear in Manchester. Bonnaroo is there.
Fun. I didn't have sex there, nor did I see anyone having sex. But, I
did see Elvis Costello, Beck, Radiohead, and Ivan Neville's Dumpstafunk
one day. On another day, in another year, I saw Modest Mouse, My
Morning Jacket and Widespread Panic. Two years ago I saw Al Green, TV
on the Radio and Phish on one day. Our camping neighbor that year gave
me something called Molly. He gave it to me for free! His name was
Apple Butter. I really shouldn't have taken it. At least not as much as
he gave me. I remember looking up after 15 minutes, and seeing a flag
for the Pittsburg Penguins and knowing I wanted to find a place to
watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, I headed straight towards it. I
found some people from Maryland who luckily gave me the hat I was
asking to wear, for my head was boiling and I feared it might begin to
melt off. They were nice. I got scared though after they went in to
hear music and left me at their camp. I began calling all in my phone.
Nobody answered. Then my friend who I came to the weekend with called.
He said he was at Al Green, and asked if I'd like to meet him. I said
that was probably the greatest idea I'd ever heard. When I arrived and
heard the full band tearing through 'Love and Happiness', blissing my
brain out, I remembered why I took the drug in the first place. Later
that night I sat down to rest next to a volunteer. He was beside one of
those signs for 'Sharps' disposal. In this case meaning needles. I
found this odd, and hilarious that the staff would provide a place for
the junkies to drop off their used syringes. But he told me it was for
diabetics and I realized this was a good idea. Soon a couple of local
chicks parked it next to us. I had gotten their attention by telling
them,"We'll talk about it later!" They were wondering what I meant. I
asked them where the ground was. They both had on makeup and were clean
and obviously had just come into the festival so they were curious what
I was on. I said,"Nothing, anymore." One of them said,"NAW. You on
somethin." I kinda wanted to hang out with this pretty, country girl.
She then non-sequintially asked me if I have any kids. I said, "No, do
you?" "No," she said, "oh wait, yeah I do." Damn Tennessee girls let me
down that time.
Six years before this I came with some friends to Venice and swam in
the Pacific Ocean on Valentine's Day. I had bet my friend a beer that
I'd get in. I won. The water was cold but the air was around 80 degrees
that day. And cloudless. It was perfect. We drove the PCH and cut
through Topanga Canyon. We made friends on the 405 as we sat. It was a
great trip. I even got stuck in Dallas on the flight back because of
ice. So the airline gave me a $300 voucher towards a future flight. But
I lost the voucher.
But, I went back to California six years later. Actually, just a few
years after I had gone to Massachusetts. And one year after I had gone
to Toronto. And 15 years after I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon. And
London. And when I got to California, this time having driven. Alabama,
Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona all having been
wonderful, I went to sleep. When I got up it was so nice. I felt grand.
I ate fish tacos and oranges and sushi and drank rum. I went to a
comedy club and Hollywood Boulevard. I got stoned. I, I didn't have a
way back though. Nope. This time I had come all the way to California
with no plans on how I was getting back. Back being Chattanooga. I had done
this when I went to Massachusetts. Also when I went to Knoxville once.
Don't do this, as it pisses off people. People who care about me and don't
want me sleeping on their couch. I ended up trading a very stylish Foster's
beer shirt that had a pouch sewn onto it with the words 'The Big Taste From Down
Under' on it. My friend who I traded this with said it might be worth
$90 at an L.A. boutique clothing shop. The plane ticket it got me was worth
it. On the trip home I had two dollars and 21 cents. I bought a taco at Taco Bell
during my layover in Denver. I was still so hungry. TSA had taken my
soup and Chef Boy-R-Dee at LAX. I boarded my connecting flight to Orlando. The
woman sitting next to me passed on her complimentary beverage so I
asked her if she didn't want her peanuts, could I have them? She asked if I was
hungry. I said yes! She immediately got up and went to the back of the plane and
came back with eight bags of peanuts, 4 bags of pretzels, and three bags of
cookies. She said she used to work for American Airlines! Thank you, ma'am. Thank
you very much. I continued reading Macbeth a much fuller man. When I arrived in
Orlando I knew only a little about how I was going to get to my third
flight. Sanford, FL to home in Chattanooga. Sanford is about 45 minutes north
of Orlando International Airport and I had no money. I found out the city bus
would take me within 2 miles of Sanford's airport. So I went to sleep and got up to
board the first bus at 5:05am. I showed the bus driver the 19 pennies I found in the bottom
of my backback and looked as helpless as a person with all working appendages
could. She said get on. I had to be at my flight by 7:30am. Busses are slow. I was
becoming more and more worried that I'd be stuck here for days, missing my
flight and reciting monologues from Shakespeare's 'Three Great Tragedies' for more tacos.
The bus dropped me at Airport Drive with 35 minutes to get to my flight. It was
August in Florida. It was around 93 degrees and so humid it was so humid it was
just so damn humid. I tried to run. That lasted 50 seconds. I had a backpack and a
large piece of luggage as well. I trudged and trudged along the road. I flipped my
thumb up but had no luck attempting to hitchhike. I speed walked! I sat. I walked a little
more. I sat. I was so hot!! I was sweating sweating sweating. I was becoming pissed for the
first time on my trip. AHH! Why do I get into these situations! I think I yelled rural
sayings like,"Y'all suck!" at the passing drivers in their cars and trucks and lawnmowers.
I was beaten down. I was desperate and worthless. Pathetic.
I saw a guy taking out his trash. I couldn't see the airport. I asked
him if it was close. He said, "About a mile." I kept on walkin. Damn
this heavy ass luggage. I didn't need to bring all this stuff. I
probably wore two different shirts and the same shorts the whole trip.
Why did I bring these hats, these CD's, these boots, these books, these
rollerblades! Why did I bring rollerblades?? I used them once when I
went to Massachusetts and often at home as a portable, free way of
traveling; I got make fun of.
-"Hey? You goin' to the airport?"
What. Was that? That was the garbage taker outer. "Yes, sir."
"Do you want a lift?" he asked.
"Yes. Yes, that would be the greatest," I answered.
I got in his air conditioned SUV and found out he was a heatpacking
Homeland Security Officer that was not scared of me or much else. His
wife graduated from the same college I got a 0.0 at and she was from
Knoxville. She wanted to move the family back there in a few years.
I got dropped off at 7:22. I made my flight.
My friend picked me up at Chattanooga Regional Airport and took me to
see 'Inglourious Basterds' that afternoon. It was like I hadn't left. Or
something like that.

Luke LaGraff is a lover of sandwiches, egg nog, and one of a kind days. He used to forget them, but now has realized he shouldn't; they have more meaning than ever at this point of his life. He enjoys the sun in LA and watches hockey and funny things whenever he can. He listens to people. He's from Tennessee.

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