The Walking Rock Alphabet: H

I seriously needed some angry punk rock for today’s adventure, as I made the mistake of venturing to the grocery store on a Saturday. Yeah, I know. I’ve done it plenty of times in the past, though, with little aggravation, and I seriously needed some food in the house...especially when I saw the shape of the steak I was saving for tonight. How could a t-bone look so unhealthy a full three days before its expiration date?
I knew I was in trouble when I had to park at the outskirts of the parking lot, and I should have just turned around that very moment. Instead, I grabbed the iPhone and plugged in the ear plugs and decided to make the best of it.
Within minutes, I was enraged. Generally, one of my favorite parts of grocery shopping is the sightseeing. I love seeing the extremes of our population...not only the beauty but the beasts. The supermarket is generally a minor step below the treats I encounter at Target, but today it was on a par with the messes of Wal-Mart. Entire families of heavyweights were the rule of the day, which usually followed the pattern of a mom spending forever comparing prices, followed by a disinterested father who would rather be ANYWHERE else and at least two unsupervised kids who could drop a load on the floor without their awful parents even noticing.
Normally, I can blot out the presence of these cretins, especially when I have music blasting. Not today. On this early afternoon, seemingly EVERYBODY in this fucking joint had no care for anybody other than themselves. Entire families were causing logjams in the aisles; chitchat between multiple families were making it impossible to move around anywhere! I won’t even bring up my rage wherever there were free samples.
I need somebody to explain how I can have more knowledge of my environment while listening to music, tweeting, and checking email. Why am I the most considerate person in this building? The very thought of me as considerate certainly must have ALL of you spitting out your drink. Yet I seemed to be the only person who would step aside to let a person walk by, or would slow down at the end of an aisle to make sure I don’t run over somebody coming from the next aisle.
By the time I finally was able to get out of this hellhole, I was steaming...even after switching from Sticky Fingers to Never Mind the Bollocks. Certainly there was an album worthy of this anger for today’s walk.
Not today. My choices in the “H” section of my iPhone were a bit limited, and I ended up with an album that couldn’t be further from what I had initially desired. Yet it turned out to be perfect.
My album of today was Hollywood Town Hall by The Jayhawks. As most of my friends know, I went through a huge alt-country/Americana phase from the early 90’s to just a few years ago. While Uncle Tupelo is the band most associated with the rise of this genre (and I do love that band), the ultimate band for me during this time period is definitely The Jayhawks. They are my Replacements of Americana, and it’s not just because they’re also from Minneapolis.
Hollywood Town Hall may have been their third album, but it was the first I ever heard. I was in love the moment I heard that crisp opening guitar riff of “Waiting For the Sun”. The Jayhawks are the Neil Young of my generation, and HTH is their Harvest. Not that it’s as laid back as that album. After all, the band has their roots in the legendary underground Minneapolis scene of the 80’s, so even their laid-back country-rock sound has an edge missing from most bands of their ilk.
It turned out to be the best choice possible for this warm October afternoon. It was so perfect, in fact, that I didn’t even notice that the temperature was way too warm for the flannel shirt that I was wearing. Even though I had just ventured out to the grocery store, I had no clue it was 75 degrees out! 
The sweat began pouring within minutes, but I was determined to make the most of this beautiful day. I ended up walking the longest of this series so far; not only making it through the entire 50 minute album but the vast majority of bonus tracks from the reissue. I’m a proud little butterball curmudgeon today...even if I look like I just ran a marathon. 


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