I was in the Intermarché supermarket and I felt myself inflating slightly with American pride when City of New Orleans came piping in amongst the citrus and dried fruit section. Ah, Arlo Guthrie. Hearing him sing the song in person, once when I opened for him at the Keswick Theatre and two summers ago at the Rhythm Festival thrilled me, and it’s moving to hear his recorded version. But a line or two in, it became clear that this was a lame lackluster imitation and I felt a double dose of shame. One for that little moment of misplaced patriotism and the other for shopping at lunchtime in France.
I was relieved when I found out the Intermarché nearby is now open all day Friday and Saturday, because we’re often too disorganized to get to the store before the usual lunchtime closing hours of 12 to 3. But I felt sheepish limping in there at 1:15 pm or so, and paranoid that the often unpleasant clerks were even more disdainful than ever because shouldn’t they be having lunch with the rest of the country?
I’m thinking about America a lot lately. I’ve had this feeling of anticipation, ever since Obama was elected, that it’s only a matter of time before I receive a phone call telling me I’m needed in Washington. There’s a petition circulating asking for the institution of a Secretary of the Arts. I know, voting, making some albums, sweating on stage and knowing a Steve Goodman song don’t exactly qualify me for an advisory position but there must be something I can do!
Just the other day Eric and I got word from World Cafe that they were going to run our appearance on January 20 of all days. On one hand I thought well they’ll surely pre-empt all the regular radio programming that day for inaugural coverage so that sucks. On the other hand, it felt like a call to duty – our way to participate in the festivities, even if was taped back when McCain/Palin was still a very real possibility.
Well, they’ve changed the date now to February 3. And I won’t be over in the US again until late February or so. I’ve got to find some other way to contribute, or at least celebrate. I guess I’ll go to Paris next week. Strange to think it’s the closest to America around here, but these things are all relative.