I drove my friend home last night. He doesn’t want to go home immediately because his household is similar to that of John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. So we mill around the gigantic smith’s marketplace, in an effort to outlast his parents who , theoretically, should get tired of waiting up to berate him and pass out. He lives south of south mountain and so the culture there is distinctly even more conservative than even Sandy area. We go on this jaunt through the over-lit store, rifling through shoes and cheap plastic lamps and bargain books, desperately looking for coffee, because, I don’t know, the taste of coffee sounded great at that time. My friend was nervous and I was nervous for him. When I get nervous, hot beverages always seem to make things more tolerable. Drinking coffee, even late at night, makes me feel as though I put this caffeinated, warm, armor over myself and I can face pretty much anything. I don’t want him to suffer because he lives this monk-like, golden-boy existence. It’s the incarnation of moderation and self-control. The kind of lifestyle every parent would give a limb for their child to live.
There’s no coffee to be found in that gigantic fuck of a store and it’s simply because we’re in Mormonia and I forgot. So we drive over to Burger King, another over-lit and impeccable building to snatch a cup of salvation before they close the drive-thru.
“Oh hey tyler,” my friend says from the passenger seat when we pull up to the window.
The kid peers past me into my car, “oh dude how’s it going?” My friend and Tyler went to high school together I guess, nearby. “Not bad, just trying to kill the summer.” Tyler relates to this and explains what he’s been doing this summer in the sort of tone that says he wants to blow up the Burger King. I don’t blame him. It’ s an over-lit piece of shit in the middle of an oppressive little district of podunk Utah. I want to do something for him, the same way I wish I could save my friend from the people that gave birth to him. I want to give him a beer, or at least ammunition to blow up this place: foment a permanent escape from these fluorescent lights. But I take my coffee and drive away.
In the same way I drop off my friend and watch him walk this defeated walk back toward his garage. It turns out his parents are still up, waiting to tear him to pieces.