I think I'll start this blog entry with an example of why I hate trucking. In the last one (or the one before, I can't recall) I mentioned I love trucking because of feeling free while driving all over America. No walls, no annoying coworkers or bosses nearby, take my breaks as often and as much as I want, great money, listen to music and podcasts all day, etc. Sure sure, those are sweet perks, but let me highlight some horrors. A trucker can do everything right and still have his/her day (and week even) completely messed up due to other peoples' negligence. I can drive my ass off for 1,000 miles being as perfect as I can be. Turn signals used every lane change. Mirrors checked every few seconds. Cushion of space between me and the next vehicle. Looking far ahead to anticipate situations. Using the left (passing lane) to pass and then getting over. Knowing which exits I need ahead of time and never cutting people off. Doing the speed limit or five over. Paying attention at all times. Being courteous to other vehicles. Allowing merging traffic to find a hole. Predicting stupidity.
I can do all these things while I'm driving every single day for thousands of miles while controlling an 80,000lb vehicle, but all it takes is one impatient asshole in a 5,000lb car texting while driving to cause an accident that creates a three hour traffic jam on a major interstate to completely ruin everything I've done up to that moment. Now I'm behind schedule and the cargo I'm carrying still needs to get to it's destination at its scheduled time. In order to make this happen, I sacrifice what little free time I have. I forgo my truck stop shower. I forgo the Netflix show that night. I drive longer than I want to drive. I drive a little faster than I would normally. I eat in a hurry and skip my breaks. I get irritated and curse and become less courteous while driving. And then, after everything I go through to make my delivery on time, I finally reach my destination only to find out there are five trucks ahead of me and I get to sit and wait for four hours to be unloaded (or loaded, whichever). And then I get to hurry some more and get to my next stop or race to a truck stop and hope to find a parking spot for the night because if truckers park anywhere other than a truck stop we run the risk of having gov't henchmen show up and beat on our door to happily issue a couple hundred dollar ticket for illegally parking which forces us to sacrifice sleep for more driving in order to hunt a different place to park.
An entire work week can be completely fucked up by one single mistake and several other shitty things. Not a single day goes by where something doesn't happen that derails everything I've done to make everything happen perfectly on my end. I can be a perfect trucker every day, but it doesn't really matter in the end. There's no such thing as perfect if everyone else isn't perfect too.
Speaking of imperfection, I recently broke the bumper off one of my boss's flatbed trailers. In my entire driving career, from having a regular license at 16 to being CDL holder for the past 15 years, I've had a perfect driving history, minus a dead dog and a broken mirror and an accident on my record that was no fault of my own. I pride myself on being extremely attentive and professional, but I guess shit can catch up to everyone at some point. I was making a delivery at the top of a landfill in West Virginia. It was 6:30am, still pitch dark, pouring down rain. Where I needed to offload looked treacherous. I got out and used my fleshlight to inspect and assess. With the direction my truck was facing I realized I would have to make a 45 degree turn to get up to the area, so I decided to search for a place to turn around and make things easier. Bad idea. I ended up putting myself into a situation that no tractor trailer should ever be in. Mud, rain, darkness, steep incline, zero space to maneuver. In trying to turn myself around I managed to back right into a concrete barrier that was partially submerged and hidden by earth stuff. It broke the bumper right off the trailer. I then proceeded to put my truck through hell trying to get out and not get stuck or jackknifed. Basically, I did everything wrong to put myself into a situation which I then had to do everything more wrong to get myself out of. Everything about that morning sucked and it bled into the days that followed. My morale shot down to zero and I've been beating myself up pretty hard ever since. I came very close to quitting everything and looking for something else to do for money.
Okay what next? Recently one of my best friends on this crusty planet asked me which Modest Mouse songs were my favorite. She said, "Mick, what are your top five Modest Mouse songs?" to which I replied by giving her my favorite fifteen. Basically, Modest Mouse is one of those bands that became super awesome by creating about twenty super awesome songs. Mind you, they have something like 14 albums spanning a decade and a half, but they seem to have created a bunch of unlistenable nonsense in that period of time. This is me speaking as a Modest Mouse fan. I'm pretty sure they are aware of this. I mean, they have to be, right? When I write a blog or a story or a poem that doesn't hit, I instantly recognize it and strive to do better next time. I might not do better next time, but at least I recognize my efforts and my shortcomings. Okay, so my point in saying all this is to share the list with you, in case any of you were interested in wondering if you might like this band. I do like them, despite their many misses. Matter of fact, they recently dropped a brand new album in 2015 and none of the songs on my favorites list is from that album, if that tells you anything. Okay, without further adieu, here's my list of best Modest Mouse songs:
1. Baby Blue Sedan ("and it's hard to be a human being, and it's harder than anything else")
2. Never Ending Math Equation (Constantly searching for the meaning of life and a purpose for existence... and also how parents respond if asked: they said they said they said they said blah blah blah)
3. Here It Comes (Kind of how I feel about everything and everyone I encounter in life... "Oh, well here it comes. Let's see where this shit goes")
4. Night On The Sun (Feels like a difficult-to-decipher poem that escaped the page it was written on and transformed itself into a more easily appreciated form of art)
5. So Much Beauty (This song nails it perfectly... what I love about being alive)
6. Ocean Breathes Salty (Deep lyrics here. Highlights the pull between life and death; the necessity of taking a time out and a step back; the importance of discovering your purpose, otherwise you waste life and you waste death.)
7. One Chance (Just a great song)
8. Gravity Rides Everything (Just another great song)
9. Float On (the very first Modest Mouse song I ever heard. The interesting and clever lyrics coupled with the melodic and catchy music... I was instantly hooked. I love how they tied this song into World At Large)
10. 3rd Planet (This is the second song I listened to upon first discovering MM and to this day it remains one of my favorites. Love the melody and how the trippy, hard to understand lyrics cause my brain to spiral away from the moment and live off planet and off script for 4 minutes)
11. Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset (The summary of my depressed life and almost every poem I ever wrote)
12. Fire It Up (This could also be titled 'The Seinfeld Song' because it's just a good goddamn song about nothing)
13. Missed The Boat (My number one favorite MM song. Perfect melody, perfect lyrics, perfect everything)
14. Little Motel (My second most favorite song by them for exact same reasons)
15. Steam Engenius (Some people might equate these lyrics to gibberish nonsense, but I think they ring like bells above a school yard filled with missing children who found better ways to inflate themselves on a daily basis)
*Trailer Trash (an example of when instruments far outshine the straightforward and simple lyrics. I love this musical melody; never want it to end)
*Bury Me With It (a song about a pessimist/cynical outlook on life? hah, count me in)
*Alone Down There (Feels like a shared drug trip between two friends or lovers that slides dangerously close to an over dose. Hard to create that in a song, but they did it here)
*Stars Are Projectors (More drug music. This is the acid trip. Psychadelics are not an easy experience, much like this song. If one decides to try them, expect a long tumultuous ride of thoughts and emotion. Your brain will pulse and swell and your conscious will expand all while you uncover truths about your deeper self and experience feelings of overwhelming fright and disorder)
*Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes (More drug music)
*The Cold Part (More drug music. Reminds me of the first time I tried salvia... the feeling I had under the influence and the moments that followed upon being released from its effects)