I Know Where I’m Going, I Think, But How in the Hell Exactly Did I Get Right Here?

Quote of the Day:

You may ask yourself, “how did I get here?” –Talking Heads

TB comes to you after the longest hiatus in TBU history from a small cabin somewhere in the hinterlands of Stone County, Mississippi. As I sit here admiring the stars out my window and listening to the sound of the window unit humming contentedly above the din of crickets outside my door, I can’t help but wonder what I’m doing in this place. In the cosmic sense, anyway. I am still in touch with reality, that being that I am in the cabin of my client, and in route very early tomorrow to their place of business in South Louisiana where I will get the grand tour in order to help me understand the work they need me to do. But it’s a strange job, in an unfamiliar place, and while I can’t quite put my finger on all the reasons why, I feel like I’ve gone outside the lines of my preordained path. Hmm, that’s not exactly it either, I don’t go for that brand of Calvinism. More like my preconceived notions of the preordained path, the one that I don’t even know I’m on until I look behind me. Man, I think I just blew my mind.

It’s not the first time. Once in law school I chanced to sit at the outside bar at The Gin and have a beautiful model sit down beside me. She even struck up a conversation. Turned out we knew each other, sort of. She knew me, anyway. After a few minutes of her explaining who she was and who she was friends with I recalled her, vaguely at first. You know those models who say they were gawky or awkward in high school and not always seen as beautiful? Yeah, she was like that in high school. Well, we had a good time talking at the bar and she invited me, many hours and even more beers later, to go up to Tunica to the casinos with her and some friends who were making the late night road trip. Well, when a beautiful model asks you to take a road trip like that, you take it. I didn’t get anywhere with her, and I think she took satisfaction in having the upper hand on me after my difficulty in placing her earlier, but that’s not really the main thing I remember from the whole ordeal. It was the sudden urgent compulsion to ponder, at three o’clock in the morning, with a crowded  car full of strangers, including a knockout I now knew I would not kiss, on a deserted two-lane highway, zooming through endless cotton fields toward a pair of Hollywood style searchlights beaming in the distance like a scene from some kind of psychodelic Twilight Zone, just what seemingly insignificant previous turn in my life had led me to that singular, unforgettable speck of time and space?

The question presented itself a few years ago when I awoke upon a mildewy couch in a single wide trailer in Vaughn, Mississippi, with a cat on my chest, a faded Rebel flag on the ceiling over my head and a bottle of wine cradled in my arm. Also in the instant after I decided to go to law school during a moment of abject despair while staring helplessly out the window from a freshman science class at Mississippi State. And another time when I sat listening to ancient black men who left Mississippi in their youth testify about their lifetime careers as Cleveland, Ohio, steel mill laborers in a dialect which required the lawyers born and raised in the deponents’ adopted hometowns to look to me for deciphering.

The cold buzzing air and the crescendo-approaching cricket symphony of the cabin make good background for such mind travellin’ I think, the kind without a specific destination in mind. Reverie is not always a malady after all; sometimes it’s quite pleasant in fact, when questions arise in which no answer need be found. I just hope I remember where I am when I wake up in the morning.

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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9 Responses to I Know Where I’m Going, I Think, But How in the Hell Exactly Did I Get Right Here?

  1. TDW says:

    From a hotel room in remote southwest Virginia, I’ll simply say I hear you. And good post as always.

  2. Jessie Lou says:

    Good post – you’ve been missed.

    I’d like to know how in the heck you got in that trailer in Vaughn. I’m thinking a walk of shame (more likely a run) to your car possibly followed that.

  3. irvine redd says:

    Enjoyed it. Reminded me of all the times in my short life I’ve had the same thought.

  4. Ha! Irv, I was/am hoping to see some examples where everyone has “been there” themselves.

    TDW, I’m sure many places and times and maybe JLM too. And no JL, I’m not telling the prequel to that Vaughn MS story just yet. The statute of limitations may not have run out.

  5. irvine redd says:

    It happened in several places while I was in Europe. As well as many nights in college when I ended up somewhere, surrounded by strangers, and having a great time.

  6. Jessie Lou says:

    Thank goodness you have no stories on me. 🙂 I’m trying to think of the most off the beaten path I’ve ended up in and I would have to say Cypremort Point, LA.

  7. irvine redd says:

    I once found myself in a very strange bar in Amsterdam, it was painted all white, and filled with local guys in their mid-50s. There was a tiny disco ball hanging on the entryway from one smaller room into a larger one where the actual bar was located. There was dutch music playing, and no one speaking english. Also lots of blank stares pointed in our direction. To this day I’ve wondered if it was actually a gay bar.

  8. Travellinbaen says:

    Irv, I used to do a lot of depositions in Natchez, which as you know is home to numerous antebellum homes. For those who may not know, Natchez hosts a “Pilgrimage” every year and tourists from all over come to town to tour the mansions of the old south. Many happen to be homosexual. Many others happen to be Euro.

    The difficulty in telling them apart led me to develop the rhetorical SNL style game show…”Gay? Or European?” If I ever get on staff in NYC, this is going on the air in my first episode, man purses, fanny packs, narrow hipster clothing and all.

  9. irvine redd says:

    Star Wars has been brought more than once in the TBU so I thought I’d share a site I just found out about.


    It’s a very funny podcast. Most of them are no longer than 10 minutes. Give them a listen.

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