Despite the instability of the touring lifestyle, Bryan Devendorf of The National has been writing his "Reports From The Road" steadily for three weeks, reaching double-digits in posts today, June 9, 2008. A milestone, no doubt. To mark the occasion, Bryan sends word from Oakland en route to Denver. As always, he goes at it like a pro, not once sacrificing clarity or detail to simply mail it in. In short, he does it for his adoring legions of fans. He does it for you. To reciprocate the kindness, check our shows page to find out where you can catch our road warrior in the flesh. To see Bryan and the band outside the office in a candid fashion, head over to Flickr. Enjoy and take care.
DAY ELEVEN (6/2): Across the Great Divide
German shepherds loll about Oakland security, laconic and menacing. Their tongues hang out of their mouths like little flags at a used car lot. A savage servility slides by on grease...
I had fever dreams all last night. Missing bus call. Wandering, unattended, through the back hallways of a Canadian customs building. Witnessing a plane crash in a place that resembles Oakland. I have had similar "premonitions" before. I glance in the bathroom mirror. I look like a ghost. I'm spending way too much time in airports. This trip is unplanned. Fated. I take three squirts of hand soap and pull the lever on the paper towel dispenser six times.*
On board the aircraft, the flight attendants' faces go blank during the reading on oxygen masks, emergency landings, etc. Their choreography is well known. No one pays attention. The plane is one-quarter full. If that. Whole rows are unoccupied.
The plane begins to seriously accelerate; I genuflect once then kiss the back of my right hand and point up to heaven like I just delivered in the clutch, late in the game. We takeoff, climb and level out. I look out the window over an endless stretch of mountains. I sip a Bloody Mary, take half a Xanax and put on my headphones.
Denver is all lightning and sudden drops in altitude. I grip the armrests, a condemned man. Nothing happens. The arrivals hall is deserted. We pile into a white van and I fall asleep. I wake up under the breezeway of a Marriot in the suburbs. My phone is dead. Adios.
*The tearing of the paper towel being the seventh motion in the series.