Give me soft, soft static
by Caitlin Caven
Ugh. We're getting slower on the uptake.
I can only speak for myself (and, to be fair, I have a reputation of being scatterbrained). But normally, a minute of brain activity is something like this:
When you spend the bulk of every day in a minivan, though, the average brain activity goes way, way down. Every thought fragment is buffered on either side by several seconds of slack-jawed, dead-eyed static. In a solid five minutes sitting shotgun in the van, my brain activity could be transcribed as this:
It’s bizarre, this slowing. I suppose it can be attributed to lack of external stimulus of any kind; in the actual world, new people, places, and things constantly parade through your consciousness. You have to make decisions for yourself and you can go where you want and do what you want. In the absence of this kind of freedom/ stimulation, your brain just shuts down.
I just glanced into the back of the van. Peter is halfway dozing and Darby is looking out the window. They both look duller than they ever do anywhere else in life. At least it’s not just me.
We just rolled into Columbus and the weather is beautiful. After several nights of freezing and cursing insufficient packing, my zeal at temperate weather is a bit excessive. I grabbed my backpack out of the back and pulled a complicated maneuver in the front seat of trying to put a short sleeve t-shirt over my long-sleeve button-down, unbutton the shirt, and shimmy out of it while replacing it with the t-shirt. Needless to say, this was a poorly-conceived and worse-executed plan. I prevailed! But it was a tangled and stupid few minutes.
We’ve been wandering around High Street in Columbus, the sort of hip epicenter of the city (or so we’re told). It’s unspeakably nice to have a few hours to once again be a member of civilization. (See also: SHORT SLEEVES YESSSSS). We happened to wander into a free Bruce Springsteen Barack Obama rally concert at Ohio State. Columbus gets ten points for out-of-left-field coolness.