When driving west from Madison, all the way to the coast, the subtle changes of the landscape leading from one extreme to the other are not completely apparent. The transition from Wisconsin to Washington is not simply akin to flipping a switch; nobody can drive 28 hours straight. Instead one moves west in increments of five hours or so, which is equal to the time it takes to use up one tank of gas.
I fell asleep in Jamestown, N.D., and woke to small celebratory fireworks somewhere off I-94 in eastern Montana. The new millennium hit in the middle of nowhere--or perhaps a bit west of it anyway.
Daylight allowed scenery again as I awoke in Missoula, Mont. The coniferous mountains are quite a change from the hardwood flats of southern Wisconsin. I figure this was about the same time that the last of the flames engulfing O'Cayz Corral on East Wilson Street succumbed to the smoldering ghosts of the little bar that was.
Not a flipped switch, but perhaps a flipped cigarette butt; yet another good reason to quit smoking.
Where will the good bands go? The last venue in Madison to have good shows on a regular basis is gone. What do we have to look forward to now--the Green Day concert? I will let you figure that one out on your own.
I know a fledgling band that was supposed to play at O'Cayz. They do not take themselves very seriously; they just play the goods. Rock stardom and dollar signs do not drive them and they do not sing about cheesy stuff like love falling from the sky.
It would have been these three guys collective wet dream to play at O'Cayz, and their modest intentions, as musicians, would have been fulfilled. What might have been?
And January passed on, and the days got warm for awhile. The snow--remember it all--receded from dominating the streets and now sits depressed, gray and rock solid on the sides.
It is different now than when we left. A new president has been inaugurated, initiating the coming ice age, and nobody really cares anymore. The best thing that happened over break was Wisconsin finally got rid of Tommy Thompson. Thanks George.
Now we are all home and things changed, maybe we changed, but do we remember how it was before we left? The snow was soft and winter was not quite as cold. We had just gotten used to writing \00"" at the end of the date on our checks.
Do you remember how you swore you would study more or stay on top of your reading this semester? Or, like me, do you still not have your schedule straight or books bought?
Semester break brings pause to our lives every year just as summer does. But in a few years, a few semesters or just one semester for some, our lives will be more permanent and time will not be measured in such definite events. Instead, time will be measured in things like mutual funds, presidential administrations, pets, kids, television series and soccer games.
What is the point of all of this? I do not know. What is the point of anything? But heed my advice, young people: Go west. Go whenever and wherever you can, the farther the better.
On second thought, just stay here or go back east. Run America's corporations and I will go west and write you about it sometimes.
Voss is a junior majoring in journalism. He may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Voss's column runs every Tuesday in The Daily Cardinal.