Queens of the Stone Age- How To Handle A Rope (A Lesson In The Lariat)
“Regular John” by Queens of the Stone Age
Queens of the Stone Age - Mosquito Song
Summer Songs #11
August 2005. The unraveling had begun. Actually, it began right when everything started. Sometimes there are loose ends from the beginning but you don’t see them until it’s all a mess of frayed ends and missing threads that can never be anything. Not anything whole.
We were driving up to Roscoe, New York for a family vacation, headed for the same house on the lake where I spent so much of my childhood summers. It had been years since I’d been there.
I wanted to go, but I didn’t want to go. My anxiety was at a peak then and I was torn between the need to get the hell away from everything and the need to never leave my house again. We hit the road at 5 am and the farther we got from home, the more I realized how conflicted I was about the need for routine and familiarity and the feeling of having a cocoon of safety and comfort built around you.
The tranquility of upstate New York did not sate my fears and anxieties. Instead, it added to it. The silence that I used to love, the open land that I once craved, the vast sky and dark lakes that once made me ache for summer vacations were now all things I feared.
I used to love driving those roads. Everything was beautiful and welcoming. But it wasn’t the same this time. My life wasn’t the same. You can’t escape dark places when they exist inside you. No three hour drive or field of wildflowers or starry sky is going to change the fact that when you say you want to be anywhere but here, here isn’t a place. Here is a state of being. There is no escape.
We drove those roads with Songs for the Deaf playing. And the same scenery I loved as a child and even as a young adult took on such a different shape and color that trip, especially at dusk. The roads were washed in shadows; still black shadows of trees and flitting, gray shadows of bats that swooped and circled. The bumps in the road seemed larger, the hills steeper, the woods menacing.
The slow cadence of “Mosquito Song” performed a fitting tribute to the sounds of the land that played over the music - a constant buzz that was not just one bug, but thousands and thousands of all different breeds of insects waiting for a body to pounce on, a dead animal to feast on. They come in from the waters when the lights go down, hiding from the bats that have come out for dinner. You roll up the car windows to drown out the sound, and to keep out anything that might be lurking in the woods because we all know that things lurk out here at night.
They lurk in here, too.
fat and soft, pink and weak
foot and thigh, tongue and cheek
you know I’m told they swallow you whole
skin and bone
cutting boards and hanging hooks
bloody knives, cooking books
promising you won’t feel a thing
When we finally got home from that nightmare of a trip, I had a panic attack that necessitated a call to 911 and a ride in an ambulance.
In the hospital, a man in a white coat said to me “What’s eating at you?”
Everything, I said. Everything.
Swallow and chew
Eat you alive
All of us food that hasn’t died
This song is summer. Not all summers are the aftermath of spring. Some are just the harbinger of fall.