Published on December 15th, 2012 | by msalt0
Mayan End Times, Road Movies and Ramblin’ Songs
The predicted Mayan doomsday fits snugly into our recurring fascination with predicted apocalypses, usually from cultish preachers who rashly declare an imminent End of Days. But the real power of these stories is not the promised destruction or the inevitable I-told-you-so after the universe survives.
It’s the freedom that this end represents – escape from the obligations and constraints that leave many of us feeling trapped. The end of days represents an end of mundane worries, a clean start with unlimited possibilities (if only for a few days).
This same desire drives two great American traditions: the road movie and the rambling song, whether it’s Merle Haggard’s “Rambling Fever” or Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On.” (I know Zep is British, but the song is pure Americana and set in Mordor.) I only saw the TV show “Route 66” once, but it haunts me years later, Buz and Tod cruising American back roads in a hot Corvette with a new adventure, a new cause and a new girl (only one, for Martin Millner) in every town.
A few jobs build this escape in – musicians, traveling salesmen, certain business people. I get a taste of it myself as a standup comic with occasional road runs, driving across the West from California to Montana, but I’m back in Portland every Monday when my daughters get back from their mom’s.
I like that mix, a solid home with all it offers in depth and comfort, with enough roaming to decalcify my habits, meet some people I wouldn’t run across otherwise, and taste a bit of the big sky. I realize most people don’t get even that much chance to ramble.
That’s where these stories fit in, giving everyone a chance to think about what we don’t really need, what we could let go of if we had to, and we’d love to do (if we could).