Mar 13, 2006

PAPA DONE TOLD ME
"Don't blog about your relationship," my father warned. "You'll just wind up embarrassed."

Good call, Pops. But we children listen so rarely... preferring to wreck on the shoals of empirical evidence.

The Moffatts sang it. And the Beatles. Even pelvis-swinging Elvis drawled Arthur Crudup's lyrics:

Mama she done told me,
Papa done told me too.
"[Girl], that [man] you're foolin' with,
[He] ain't no good for you.

But that's all right, that's all right.
That's all right now, mama, anyway you do.
I'm leaving town baby.
I'm leaving town for sure."

Indeed, in six days, I depart for six weeks in Europe, da sola. The Inappropriate Beau hoped we might travel as friends, but that requires compromises and close quarters unsustainable mid-melodrama.

Relief, rather than rage, is my dominant emotion. Much as I adored – adore – IB, we slide more easily into sibling camaraderie than deathless romance. However unfortunate the timing, the breakup was inevitable: no future unfolded before us.

Still, I'm embarrassed, as papa done predicted. What red-blooded American woman likes to be usurped? By a German backpacker? Publicly?

Yet Road Remedies emerged from the chrysalis of IB's departure – and now has a life of its own, however fluttering. And why write, if not to scrape down to the universal truths? Otherwise it's all just pretty phrases: ribbons and swags of rhetoric.

As a pompous young editor, I once threatened to have T-shirts printed for the staff: "The Daily: we spoonfeed you the world".

Eleven years later, I have no urge to be the sugar sweetening that medicine – or that placebo, as the case may be.

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