Throwing Muses
Kristin Hersh
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"Walking In The Dark" by Kristin Hersh, November 9 2006
(Originally published on

It’s been raining for… ever. The sky is dark and it dumps water on us all day long, every day. How much water is up there anyway? It’s not that I mind it, really; it’s just strikingly different. It isn’t even weather anymore —- it’s climate. Or another planet.

And I think I might have a walking problem.

Now that the record is done and even the B-sides are recorded, I’ve got no reason to be in the studio and I’ve been asked to “lie low” as far as touring goes, so that the big tour, the one on the record release, will have more of an impact. So technically, I’m “off” which is a good word for it. Without work , I’m just a little off. Well, maybe a lot.

I’ve been hearing this sound, like the industrial noise at the beginning of my song “Listerine”. It’s not unattractive, but since no one else seems to hear it, I’m wondering if it’s really there. Which makes me want to drown it out. An iPod works really well for this. I listen to my friends’ records and feel engaged and loved. My ears are full and so is my heart.

But I can’t sit still, so I walk. And walk and walk. I pretend I’m going somewhere -— running errands, shopping —- but I’m not. I get to the store and just walk by.

This rain is not a cold rain; it’s actually unusually warm, so I wear ludicrously unseasonal sundresses and walk around Portland, drenched. First, I go look at Screaming Bus Stop Man. What he does is kind of horrifying (screaming), but he really throws himself into his work and he makes me feel exceedingly normal. Then I tend to get lost because if I see a squirrel, I move towards it; if I see a human, I avoid it — my only real criteria for walking. And people are everywhere, as it turns out; so I’m forever spinning on my heels.

Lost is good, though, because it means I get to walk more.

When I finally get home, I look at the front door for a minute and then keep walking. Something about stopping, being still, turns me off. Plus, I don’t want to put down my umbrella. Umbrellas! How did I not know this? They’re great…like having a tent and sunglasses combined: protection and no eye contact. Amazing. I’m going to miss mine if it ever stops raining.

I tried to take my dog, Kitty, along with me once. She was game at first, but the wetter we got and the more tired she got, the more frequently I saw that sideways dog-glance that means, “who the fuck are you”? And “where the hell are we going“?

She seemed truly embarrassed as we splashed through the small lakes that Portland puddles have become, past pedestrians trying to navigate their way around them. The wetter the better, I say: extra outside — but now I’ve embarrassed the dog. By the time we got home, Kitty was dismal.

So now she stays home, where things make more sense. Maybe if she could have her own doggie iPod, she’d know that there’s no period at the end of any musical sentence. Every song leads into another song, no matter who wrote it, no matter when. How can I not listen? And then there’s the next song, and the next. So physical that they’re spiritual.

How could I go home when there’s always another song?

So, if no band van pulls up and tells me to get my ass back out on the road, if no studio opens its doors to me, I’ll keep listening to the next song and then the one that follows it, falling in love again and again and again.

Enough sitting still and typing. I have an umbrella and errands to run…