Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tennessee Asks, Ohio Answers

I almost convinced myself the opening lyrics to this Black Keys jam were stolen directly from my dazed head as I rolled through the random and endless miles this past spring. Middle Tennessee country roads seem to leave that impression, random and endless. Stuck in my own fog at the tail end of another long, boiling ride a few months back, this particular song jumped into my earbuds and everything began to clear up, kind of. I was worked over, dazed for sure, most likely dehydrated, and certainly over aware. At least now I was. The words in my head, they made sense, they talked to me. And for no other reason, as The Keys yelled at my brain and I pedaled back down my street, I began to wonder…

It’s almost as if my move to Nashville a year ago makes more sense now that they too have done the same. After all, we stem from the same Ohio roots and share the same reasons to move. Opportunity. Just then I remembered reading the latest Scene Magazine in which they chronicled The Keys' Nashville move and asked Nashvillians, what it said about both parties. I felt like asking the same question about myself.

Is it possible? Can the lives of an unsung industrious endurance athlete and an American rust belt blues rock duo possibly parallel? Is it possible miles on the tour bus and miles in the saddle eventually get you to the same tired place? Maybe, but I'm not complaining, it was my decision, as it was theirs. The truth is, like those guys, I came here to do a job, to work. Because, where we come from, tireless hard work is a pre-requisite for daily life; it is as elemental as rubber on the road.

At home now, on my front step, sitting in the sun, I can't figure out where I put my key three and a half hours ago. My mind is still locked on these questions. Is there something about the “Rubber City” raised, hard working, that sets us apart? Is there something about that place that lured both them and I to the eerily Ohio-like southern town? But for what? Challenge? Opportunity? Probably.

I couldn't ask or answer anymore questions at this point, I was too tired and wanted to go inside. My swelled fingers fumbled around in the saddle bag until my key eventually appeared and dropped to the ground. My legs exploded with acid and were not willing to bend with out a protest, I looked down at it, "damn it." I must have just stood there and stared at it for a minute at least, before finally committing to the daunting task of bending over and picking it up. "You got what it takes?" I asked myself just before reaching down. "Ugh, that was a pain in the ass" I answered as I stood up.

Not sure what all it's going to take in the end, but I've got one thing; a work ethic as hardcore as any deep Auerbach riff or sub-thirty-six minute 10k off the bike. The Scene Magazine laid on the chair in the corner as I walked in, folded open to a certain page. A few lines were underlined in red pen.

“Nevertheless, the indefatigable Auerbach says that he and Carney are here to work, and they’ve already started. Work, after all, is something guys from Ohio know how to do.”

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