A couple of weeks ago found me cruising through Ohio and Indiana and then on to Florida recruiting students for our programs here in Pont-Aven. I flew from London to Cleveland and the cultural, personal and language shock had me absolutely pinned to the seat of my little rental Accent.
Yes, I realize they speak English in England but I was only there for three days and pub and museum talk didn’t tear through the layers of my carefully spun Pont-Aven language cocoon like a loud “can you believe how the Browns abso-fukin-lutely pissed that game away” did. Also an English accent’s charm makes the most mundane utterance a bit of poetry.
It happens every time I come back from Pont-Aven.
Each murmur at Stuckeys, insignificant snippet of billboard text, or FM radio voice (I heard “Hotel California” three times on three different stations between Cleveland and Columbus) comes at me hard and quick without the convenient selectivity that my French illiteracy allows in Pont-Aven.
An Ohio triggered “Awakenings” Robert DeNiro style stumble back into heightened sentience.
The first thing I noticed (strangely) was the preponderance of yellows, oranges and reds. Not lovely autumnal shifts in the October foliage but glossy, hard proclamations for quick food, cheap rental units and “font challenged” pleas for things….things that over the last year I hadn’t realized how much I obviously needed.
Do we really need a world of mattresses or an empire of carpet?
Before I sound even more like a prissy ex-pat trying to distance himself from his real consuming self…….let me say this: It has indeed been very refreshing to have my needs reduced (maybe it’s more the choices than the needs) and my options limited here in Pont-Aven. Although painfully monastic at times, the experience continues to shuffle my priorities around and challenge my idea of what’s truly important in navigating a creative life.
Anyway, back to my road trip….
So, I dropped into my rather divey, Cleveland hotel room that smelled like Lysol infused Mandarin Chicken and tried to avoid a complete physical collapse by watching a little television…..
I haven’t really missed TV but found myself spending hours in my hotel rooms suckling at the 100+ cable teats available to me.
So, so blissfully narcotic.
Burrowed into an instant access, thumb-able temporal space, a world was offered up to my supine self that was awash in vibrant colors, built from hyper-condensed bits of conflict and resolution, and portioned out in easy to digest morsels.
I should go check out the museums, galleries and peruse the funky neighborhoods of this unknown city…..
Maybe there’s a fun bar where I could catch a happy-hour special and check out the local lads…..
All of these potential moments of discovery and exploration took a back seat to “Pimp My Ride”, “South Park”, delicious “Jamie Oliver”, “Wildboyz” and my self-deluding attempt to “catch up on the news” by watching “The Daily Show”.
Is it really 3:00 AM? Just one more episode……