D 1, Track 1
I’m in an airport. Moving. Getting checked in. Going through security. Looking at magazines and books. I’m worried about the future. Maybe this trip wasn’t such a good idea. I’ll have a lot of things to do when I get back. What if the plane- No, it only happens to other people. I wonder if things will be different when I get back, will I be changed by where I’m going, will people be changed when I get back? I don’t know. It’s this not knowing that kills me. I eat one of the granola bars I brought for the ride on the plane. It dissolves into nothingness, fading away into my stomach. Maybe it’ll be seen again in another form. I wonder where it was made. I wonder if they care about who eats these things. Nothing changes. No one cares. The form may take on a different shape, but the intent and personalities are always the same. Even when it’s all said and done, there will be new people to take up the mantle. Whatever.
CD 1, Track 2
Waiting. It’s the name of the game at airports, right? I’ve been here for two hours. I suppose I’m neurotic about these things, getting to places early, being on time, and not letting people down. I have this thing about myself where if I tell someone that I’m going to get something done by a certain date that I feel enormously guilty if I don’t follow through on it. I don’t take this stuff lightly and I feel bad about myself unnecessarily for it, I suppose. So I’m here early. Too early. I bought a magazine, but I can’t focus. The airport music is starting to enter into my brain. It’s a little more than ambient right now. It sounds like screeching airplane tires- has there been a- ok, don’t worry. Everything is going to be OK they say on the PA system and I believe them even though there is still the screeching sound to contend with. I don’t know whom to believe but I want to believe the people in charge. They know what they are doing; if there is danger, they will let us know what to do. Right...right? There’s something underneath there talking, though, I can’t tell what it is, is it just me reading into things? I need to stop worrying about it. Stop.
CD 1, Track 3
I get called and get past the security. If they could only see my bag, it’s full of things, all of it harmless, but it’s a mess. A hopeless mess of CD’s, magazines, and information that I need to help me on my way and suddenly I’m in the cocoon between the terminal and the airplane. I don’t know, but it seems like this has to be the most beautiful place in the airport. Almost as if it’s a birthing chamber. Soon you will be transported to another world- or back to your home, once you step out of this chamber. Once you make the steps necessary to go through here. It’s something that defies explanation. You’re in a stasis, but there is no turning back. But it’s safe here. These cocoons never move back and forth, at least as far as I’ve seen. And they’re completely stark, with maybe a wheelchair in the corner, just in case. Little holes allow you to see outside on some of them. Not here, though. Artificial light only. Harsh and uninviting stuff, almost willing you to make your way through as fast as you can. But I linger for some reason. I don’t know why.
CD 1, Track 4
But soon enough I’m on the plane. And we’re up in the air. And, maybe it’s just me, but there is this sense of impending doom. I’ve never felt this way before about a flight. The lingering in the cocoon, the sense of impending doom, the calm assurances of the PA speaker. It’s all so different, so alien from any other flight experience I’ve had. We’re over the ocean, so it’s no big deal. We can’t crash over the ocean. We can’t crash when I’m thinking about crashing. Maybe if I focus on it more it will not be able to happen and then “Ladies and Gentleman, please do not panic, but we need for you to pull down the oxygen masks, we are going to be crashing.” And it’s like my worst nightmare and everything else combined and all I can think about is Tom Hanks in Castaway and I DON’T want to think about it as the last thing before I die I already feel so bad about being such a consumer but what am I supposed to do GOD DAMN it I am feeling sick and this plane is lurching back and forth and tell someone anyone that I loved them because that’s what people do right but maybe I’ve never been in love SO MUCH TO LIVE FOR I feel like some bad teen movie and all I can think about as I am maybe going to be dying is that I can’t relate anything real in my life outside of books and movies and tvs and music and it makes me want to vomit but ha! I just did anyway before I got the mask on! we are not going to make an emergency landing on a super secret island are we because we are going and now I’m underwater and everything is.
CD 1, Track 5
I don’t know what time it is. I’m surfaced and floating and my skin is so cold. And I don’t know what time it is and where I am. I have to find land, I have to look for things, I have to find THINGS that I can latch onto. My bag is set on my back, a buoyant device, but I can see nothing else around me. I am literally alone and now that the thrill of being alive is gone, I realize that maybe this isn’t such a good thing as I look around and see nothing at all. I’m going to make a swim for it! Or should I save my strength and which way to swim anyway, I don’t know what time it is and I don’t know where I am at all. All of the things that come with being alive are back and I hate myself more than ever but I push it deep down in my psyche because I need to push forward, I need to find land, I need to find something, I need to find things to hold onto besides this buoyant device (thank you samsonite).
CD 1, Track 6
And then it comes. A light- a brilliant one. Almost...goofy, I feel. Here is life, maybe or trees or things. And it is, as I swim closer, something big, an island. Maybe it is inhabited, maybe it is Mexico but no it couldn’t be there would be something, someone around to say something in Spanish to me but there is no one but there are things around, thank god, there are trees, there are wood, there is sand, grains of sand. Maybe time will run out soon for me on this island. I’ve never lived alone for long, I’ve never been truly alone but no! We can’t focus on this, Todd. We have to focus on mundane things let’s make bridges and shelters and fires. Todd, remember Piggy? He used his glasses, do it, Todd! Your glasses, Todd slow down and get some wood, wait what do I want to waste I don’t even I’m completely delirious stop. Slow down.
CD 1, Track 7
Let’s go through this methodically. Ordered. What will I need tonight more than anything? Shelter. What will I need to get me saved? Smoke. What do I need to find in order to live? Water and food. What do I need to do? Check my bag. OK. Books and CDs and Magazines and Batteries and a CD player. Nothing is wet (thank you samsonite) and I don’t need books to read, but to burn for warmth. I wish I had Robinson Crusoe or Lord of the Flies or 1984 or Mein Kampf or something hahaha stop. I only have two cd’s unfortunately, because I planned to listen to the CDs I bought on the way and it’s Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works Vol. II arguably my favorite album but maybe not the best desert island album. Well we certainly shall see, eh, since it’s all I have.
CD 1, Track 8
So let’s go. No time to waste, it’s getting dark soon. Tear down the trees, I’m no environmentalist, and let’s build this thing. I used to be a Boy Scout but I don’t remember anything except cheating to get my Orienteering Merit Badge. We did the course faster than anyone else ever, but the instructor never knew and I felt bad but not bad enough to give the merit badge back, it was required to finish up and become an Eagle Scout, which means everything and nothing at the same time. OK. Shelter’s done, but it’s horrible. I always leave things half done or finish them at the last minute and make them worse than they could be with a little time to breathe. There’s always little minor imperfections that I think could be made better or maybe I just leave them in there for art’s sake, but this time I’m going to try, this time I’m going to make it perfect and no one is going to be here to see it.
CD 1, Track 9
It’s getting dark. And it’s getting cold. I wonder if there are things living in here. Animals that feed on people. You get irrational when you’re alone. You get scared by the smallest things. All those horror movies are real. They know what’s going on- and what was that? There are bugs all around here. I know this, but there is something in the forest. It’s rustling and it’s scaring me and why can’t I go to sleep? I wonder if I’ve stumbled onto one of those islands where the Japanese are still fighting the war, wouldn’t they be dead? He’s out there picking his time, he’s a sniper and I’m his victim, but I know it, I’m being irrational, but I’m conscious about my irrationality, does that make it any less irrational I don’t know. The silence, though, might even scare me more.
CD 1, Track 10
It’s the next day and I’m up and I’m about and I’m making this place habitable. I’m exploring the island looking for water, looking for food, looking for anything. There are berries, but I am afraid to eat them, maybe they’re poisonous. Things are good, though. I can live here for a while. It’s no big deal. I will survive, etc. It will be fine. I will be fine. Underneath this happiness, though, there is something else lurking. I can’t tell what and I don’t know what but there is something blindingly obvious that I should think about but all I know and think know is to survive. Water. Food. I can find this. I have my disc man on to shield out the bad and scary sounds of the forest. This album is awful to listen to, though. Maybe it makes it worse. I can’t imagine why I even took it on the plane.
CD 1, Track 11
OK, I’m comfortable. I’m here. I’ve found food, even though I couldn’t catch any of it- YET. And I’ve found water that looks fresh and I should be OK. So why do I feel so depressed? Maybe it’s because while I’m alone and love to be alone in regular Ohio life, that maybe I’m never ever alone like this and now I’m here and I didn’t know it was going to be just like this and I can imagine the sounds my home- the little wind chimes, the laughing voices of my mother and my father, but it’s all gone so fast. There’s nothing to keep my anchored here, nothing that I can call familiar. All of these memories are flooding me right now, conversations that went on without me thinking about what time it was, days that I slept away, things that I left undone and I just realize right now that it doesn’t matter. Any of it. It doesn’t matter.
CD 2, Track 1
OK, but it does matter. Haha, just kidding. I popped in this disc now and I remember this girl I thought I loved. At night I love to listen to this album on the island. Anywhere, really. It reminds me of all kinds of things from home and maybe that’s not the best thing in a place like this or a situation like this, but maybe it is the best thing because it keeps me going and believing that this fire that I tend to everyday is going to spell my relief and my return to a life that I never really enjoyed anyway, but let me tell you. Let me tell you this: things will change if I get back. I will marry the woman I love and not care about anything else in the world. I will get a job as a cook in a restaurant, I will smell the grease, and I will love it. I will get burned by the oven and I will rejoice. I will get chewed out by my manager for being late and then I will give them a hug because I’m so full of love, the world is so full of love that there is no reason not to. There’s absolutely no reason not to. Please. Save me.
CD 2, Track 2
I’m sleeping now, I mean, I really am, but the sand is itching. It’s these little minutiae aspects to this whole thing that make me want to maybe not survive another night. I want a blanket and I think maybe sleeping in my clothes another night might not be the best idea they are becoming raggedy, as it is, but I don’t know if I even care because I’m on a DESERT ISLAND and I’m ALL ALONE and no one will fault me if I am unshaven when they come and rescue me in an hour or two. Right?
CD 2, Track 3
I’m up. We need to be saved here, Todd. We need to find a way out. We need to find an idea buried within my mind. Think about all the movies and books you’ve read. How did they survive? How did they get saved? OK, Robinson Crusoe was found by people, right? So I should stay here. Tom Hanks went and built himself a ship. OK, so I should build a ship. What else, what else, Lester Bangs, no, he was never on the desert island. The Japanese fought a war on the island. But they never got saved, my mind is going in circles, back and forth, back and forth, trying to think, trying to craft something out of this thought process, trying to break free of this rhythm and create something new and exciting and that will save me and it’s coming maybe and it’s I have no idea I think I’m going to die here.
CD 2, Track 4
I’m not here. This is not happening.
CD 2, Track 5
I’m here. This is happening.
CD 2, Track 6
Off in the distance I hear something. It’s almost tribal and there are drums and I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve been here for five days and I’ve been exploring this island and I don’t even know what’s going on the other side. I move towards the sound, leaving everything behind, not worrying about the future, the past, or the present. It gets louder as I move across the island, changing its shape but keeping the beat alive the entire time and I’m nearly there and there’s people and they are beating on drums and there is a flute and what the hell where have these people come from and why don’t I know of them and do they see me and are they hostile and I know I’m running out and not worrying about this and yelling at them, “Hey! Hey!”
CD 2, Track 7
Their beat takes on a different tone, they are happy, I think to see me, but I don’t know. They move around in a circle and there is a place within the group so I don’t know what to do but enter into the circle and I begin to dance around with them. There is something primitive here that I don’t even understand but I begin to feel something deep within me that I’ve never felt before and I want to say I’m more alive but I’m afraid to say that because it’s a cliché but right now I don’t even know if I can tell a cliché if I saw one on the street because here I am dancing in this circle with these people and they all are so serious and I’m looking around fearfully but joyfully and I want to be a part of this and I want this and I want them to be able to accept me maybe more than I had ever been accepted anywhere else before.
CD 2, Track 8
And here I am in their village and all of my belongings are somewhere else, but so is my depression because we are eating and we are attempting to communicate and it is fun and it is hard and I don’t know if they want me dead but we are sitting at the fire and we are eating so this must mean that we are on good terms, I wonder if they’ve ever seen anyone as white as me before. I wonder if they care. I don’t think they do. This is, though, the best ever. Dancing, eating, this is what life is about and what it should be. These people are slow in everything they do. They seem to, ugh. Words.
CD 2, Track 9
But now I am sleeping and I’m hearing voices outside of my hut and they don’t sound kind. They are talking about taking me away, I can feel it. They don’t want me here. They want me to leave, or worse they want me to die. I need to leave this place before they come in here. I need to leave this place before I die.
CD 2, Track 10
And now I find I can’t get out. How do they put locks on these things? The little holes looking out of my hut are stopped up and I can’t see out. It may be morning. I don’t know. Everything is so confused right now. There seems to be activity outside every once in a while, but it’s nothing substantial, but every time it occurs I get scared. Scared for myself and what they might do. Was it something I said (ha!)? Was it the way I danced (I’m not a good dancer)? Maybe I’ll never know what’s going on right now. Maybe someday I will escape and find out.
CD 2, Track 11
There are people talking outside and they sound extremely annoyed. I don’t know how much longer I’ve got. I have to get out of here. I have to leave this place and get back to my side of the island and now there’s children laughing and I don’t know whether it’s at me or what they could be finding funny about me being locked up, alone, stranded on this island. And things are getting out of wack, all of the things that were normal about being in this hut are turning strange. My vision is blurring. The voices are getting louder. The laughter, god, will it ever cease, make it end please. STOP.
CD 2, Track 12
I’m dead. I think. Can I be thinking this if I’m dead? Maybe I’m not. I don’t know. I don’t know where I am or why I am here. Maybe if I am alive I don’t want to be. This uncertainty. It’s everywhere.