Sleeping with “September in Summertime,” or Falling Somewhere in Ohio, Waking Up in Prague, Mercury Tennis Ball

February 24, 2012

Essay

Posted by Aaron Geer

AyGeeTee — “September in Summertime”

Don’t even ask how weird my dreams were when I fell asleep to London soundmachine/producer AyGeeTee. I felt like I was riding on the Millennium Force at Cedar Point with gauze in my mouth and snowboard goggles on. I saw Lake Erie on fire. I fell through the metal beams of the roller coaster. I noticed a glimmer of sunlight shining upwards through the cracks of the sidewalk where minions of little boys carried balloons and bugged the shit out of their parents, who applied sunscreen to their shoulder blades that rank of fur and pepto bismal. My teeth latched to my gums from the wind, warm like an oven, soft like a cardboard box in a rainstorm.

See you don’t have to ask because I will tell you. 

Once I hit the concrete, or when I thought I’d hit the concrete, I recognized this man I’d met in a park in Prague – during that one month stay last July for a writer’s program – who had asked me for a cigarette while I was reading on a bench outside. In Prague, all city workers who clean the sidewalks and pick up trash on the streets wear what looks like uniforms suited for the people at airports who move the luggage around from terminal to terminal, in little white and orange overalls. His face was ragged, like an unkempt skunk in a French cartoon, and as he sat next to me I envisioned this man browsing through my luggage, thrown around my tiny little dorm room – where bugs would fester in the night when I was trying to write because they’d see the light on and swarm to some warmth because in the Czech Republic they either don’t believe in the purpose of screens on windows or they have a rising botanical industry for carnivorous vegetation (honestly, so many plants that attract bugs, everywhere) – and he’d simply smell them, my clothes escaping my luggage.

Is this the ghost of Hubert Selby, Jr.? I thought the man looked familiar, like a former spokesperson for an insurance company, or a relief pitcher for the Tigers during the 90s, the real bad years, the dark ages. Just as dark as the sidewalk that was approaching me falling from the Millennium Force, oblong, undesirable.

I have a tendency to wake up from my dreams right before I hit whatever I’m supposed to hit. I can recall one consistency of dreamlike paralysis where I’d be playing tennis, returning a serve that just hit the line, and right as I hit the ball as smoothly as I can, to the other side of the court, sharp with topspin, my left leg off the ground to let my body do what my body is supposed to do in terms of recognizing its own physical abilities. But, and I can still feel this feeling, right when the tennis ball, as lime green as the man’s overalls in Prague, hits my racket, it drops, as if filled with lead, mercury.

AyGeeTee’s “September in Summertime” floats somewhere between the surreal and the carnival, where nothing is more real than your own dreams. I feel like there’s so much going on in the 7 1/2 minutes of looped layers, ridden with noise like an ether, that there should be more. So much more. Please give us more. We need more. And I’m thinking this as the track is doing everything that it’s supposed to be doing. And when it ends, I feel like there was everything there, like the first time I stepped off the Millennium Force I had tears running down my face from the wind, something of a smile splattered on my chapped lips.

Aaron Geer is the founding editor of Phiendly. Half the time he doesn’t know what he’s talking about…
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