There is a secret cabal following me. They’re always at least a couple yards behind. When I turn around to confront them, they duck into alleys and blend into the crowds and they disguise themselves. When I try to ascertain their numbers, they scatter. When I try to run away from them, I find their speed exactly matches mine. They make no noise. That’s the worst part. They just observe. They watch and they listen. I know what they want. It’s the one thing I can’t give them. They want me to care about Kanye West.
Several times a day this cabal tempts me by engineering discrete opportunities to care about Kanye West. These opportunities are perpetually escalating. Kanye West performs a duet with Paul McCartney. Kanye West runs for president. Kanye West performs a duet with John Lennon. Kanye West becomes the first rapper to orbit the moon. These are tricks, and I know it. At night, I can lock the doors and turn off all the lights and close the blinds. They can’t get me at night. I don’t let them win then. But.
And I’m not perfect.
So they got me once.
That’s why I can’t let it happen again.
July 24th, 2009. Six years ago.
I’m going to Costa Mesa for a concert. I’ve been parked in rush hour Los Angeles freeway traffic for several days. The sunlight is incinerating my truck but I can’t run the air conditioner because the air conditioner seems like it’ll break soon. I’d rather it be about to break than broken. Can’t afford that. My money’s pointed toward Costa Mesa. My brothers and my cousin are with me. They have been drinking.
Progressing through urban sprawl at 10 miles an hour, there’s a lot for three drunk people to say to a driver. Lots of breakdowns and odd buildings and billboards demand attention. The conversation turns to where we’ll stop for gas, even though that’ll happen where it always does – at the first off-ramp that looks a bit more run down than the popular off-ramps. Run down gas stations are always cheaper. Someone in the car decides to make an arbitrary stand at the loudest volume possible.
“Chevron gas is overpriced. It’s all the same gas and you know it. You’re letting yourself get ripped off! It’s the same damn gas!”
Once a drunk decides to turn cowboy like this, the conversation can never be normal again. It will be loud for the rest of the day. It’s a conscious act of reverting to the state of nature. Talking is a war now. You have to engage at his volume and this level of intensity or you’re weak, unless you ignore him outright.
Because 10 miles an hour is too boring, the makeshift mob demands an inciting action, so it manufactures one. We pass an authentically disreputable looking piece of Americana. Some place called Go Kart World. Everybody riding with me is now one voice. Somebody points.
“We have to go there.”
“Yeah, we’re going there.”
Presumably they wanted to do this because it was exactly the wrong decision to make. There is no reason to visit a place called Go Kart World if you’re on the 405 south and committed to wasting money when Disneyland is right next door.
“Get off here. We’re going here. Get off here. Why aren’t you getting off at this exit?”
“It’s the right exit. Get off here.”
I keep on ignoring them.
“Turn around! Turn around! Get off at this exit and get back to the correct exit. Each exit you don’t take is a waste of gas.”
This devolves rapidly into a chant.
“Go Kart World! Go Kart World! Go Kart World! Go Kart World! Go Kart World! Go Kart World!”
They know that’s not funny on its own and it has to cross over into absurd and impossible belligerence. So they go on chanting for half an hour.
“Go Kart World! Go Kart World! Go Kart World! Go Kart – pull over, we’re not going to Costa Mesa to see a band any more damn it we’re immediately going to – Go Kart World! Go Kart World! Go Kart World!”
They did this for the remainder of the drive. Then they did it all the way back home and they’ve done it on subsequent drives and they allude to it during unrelated conversations even now, six years later. Their obsession invited my destruction. They invited the cabal to my door.
When we got back home at 2 a.m., they rallied their energy and began searching for all the Go Kart World information they could find. They looked up pictures of it on every publically searchable image platform. They would become the only non-local experts on Go Kart World who ever lived.
Then the left hook.
Kanye West took a camera crew there once.
It’s not a good video. It has no content. Its one highlight is West stumbling over where to put the emphasis in the phrase “go go-karting.” The video’s power is in the fact that we thought we had a private story. We thought nobody else on earth knew about Go Kart World, and here was Kanye West, knowing far more about Go Kart World than we ever could.
This video was not meant to be seen by anyone. Nobody should know about the video. It is cultural static so singularly pointless and forgotten that pulling it out of 2006 and putting it in 2009 is irresponsible, and putting it in 2015 is madness. This was padding for a TV show 9 years ago. But I know it better than I know any Kanye West song.
I don’t care about the man’s actions in 2015. I don’t need to work very hard to ignore the cabal. Every single time he runs for president or brings democracy to China, I ignore it and sleep just fine. But I ignore it because every time he moves to conquer the planet, I can see him racing go-carts. Other people can’t see that. I know all about how the man rides go-carts, and once you know that, there’s nothing left to see. Nothing he does can impress you. That’s why I can’t let the cabal get me again. I’ve seen all there is to see. They got me already.