Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Op


Originally Posted Friday, March 28, 2014


I'm in a la-la land of nothingness now, or maybe worse.  Nothing to report but that I am scheduled for knee surgery a week from today.  Torn meniscus.  Arthroscopy.  Who knows.  I don't want to, but what are the options, really?  I've run through them.  I've been much too busy and worried to make any pictures at all.  Life in shambles, I'm facing the days like a soldier.  There is no joy in being a soldier.  Better to be a politician.  Or a fucking doctor.

Horrors for Another Time


Originally Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I'm excited.  I have new things in mind.  I just need time away from the factory to stay in my studio and work.  I have ordered new materials. . . incredible things.  Three days of working on new processes, and maybe one will take.  But I must have the time.

And I should have it, for somehow, now, I have become a pariah.  Where once I had too many people wanting to work with me, I have stopped inquiring and now I have none.  O.K.  I will shoot rotten fruit.  I will shoot plants in glass jars.  Whatever.  I will stay away from people.  I will leave them all alone. 

I've ordered things.  They are arriving every day.  Silks and rice papers and transfer mediums.  And I have ideas now for sets.  I will prepare to create. 

But what happens that one day you are hot and the next you are not?  I've gone from hero to zero in forty seconds.  Abandoned.  Alone. 

I will work it out.  There are dogs and cats and fish and vegetation of every kind.  I am clever.  There are no worries. 

I needed to write this tonight for I have a full day tomorrow.  I start at eight o'clock at the doctor's office.  I will finally see one.  I will see what the future holds.  And then ten meetings at the factory.  I will be silent.  I have promised myself to be. 

There are horrors to tell you, but they will have to wait until there is time and circumstance.

Authentic Caricature


Originally Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Authentic.  There's a real word.  I read it in a N.Y. Times book review of a new biography of John Wayne.  His character, it said, was "authentic."  So are Levis, I believe.  I think it says it somewhere on the sewn on leather tag over the right rear pocket.  To be authentic, does a thing need to be verifiable?  I guess not when one speaks of character.  The review of the book goes on to say that Wayne studied other characters closely to create his own, Harry Carry for one, and a stuntman whose name I can't remember for another.  Can something authentic be an amalgam of other things.  I would think that antonym for "authentic" might be the word "derivative." If so, here we can see Wayne through a Derridean lens where the thing and its opposite are innately conjoined. 

I was not a Duke fan growing up.  He represented the old world to me.  His values were conservative in the Age of Aquarius.  He didn't have the cool of Paul Newman or Steve McQueen or even Lee Marvin, and he certainly wasn't anywhere near the cool of younger actors like Warren Beatty or Dustin Hoffman.  He was like Ronald Reagan of the "Twenty Mule Team Borax" t.v. show.  I couldn't watch him. 

I've grown an appreciation for him since.  The trick is, I think, to watch the younger version.  But that is always the trick, no?  That is where true authenticity lies, that derivative, constructed cool, for as we age, as in so many cases, we become entrenched in the character we've created to the point of caricature.  Hemingway.  Huston.  Nicholson.  Madonna. 

But I'll recant a bit.  John Wayne's last movie was one of his best, I think.  "The Shootist."  I'm going to see if it is on Netflix since I haven't viewed it for over twenty years, I'd guess.  I think, though, that he was authentic "again"in that. 

The movie was released the same year as "Rocky," speaking of that awful road from authenticity to caricature. 

The sun will rise in about half an hour.  Authentic.  Verifiable.  I think I'll go back to bed.

Old People: Part II


Originally Posted Monday, March 24, 2014

Let me repeat--it is not as much fun to hang around old people as it once was. I have, like many of you, perhaps, enjoyed the company of my elders most of my life. They were, if they had allowed themselves to live at all, the people with "the wisdom." They passed it down, as is said, and them best of them did it by telling stories. Stories, I learned, do not travel in the other direction. I learned this early on in my twenties when I was hanging with a bunch of older men who were swapping tales over beers on a late Friday afternoon. The stories were endless, and they were, of course, about traveling and drinking and art, and they were about women. They were wry romantics, this crew, with a sardonic edge, most of the irony being discretely self-directed. In short, they were good guys, the types of fellows I wanted to become, able to say something crass without becoming so themselves, big, tender hearted men covered in a keratinized skin. I was enamored by them, but not enough, I recall, to realize my place. And so when a natural pause came (and this is usually a climactic moment when everyone pauses to enjoy and reflect), I made the epic mistake of beginning a story of my own. It was a good story when told to a twenty-something crowd, but one sentence in, I heard my own voice which sounded like tin (if tin were a sound and not a metal, of course), and the force of my own words began to fade as the words themselves came out faster and faster, me trying desperately now to get out of this tale whose denouement receded before me faster than I could catch up to it. The nasally sound and the truncated words seemed infinite, but somehow, finally and without steam, I finished. Everyone by then was looking at the table or over their shoulders as if just having heard his name called. There were a couple of grunts acknowledging that the embarrassment was over, then the long pause before the first of the group said he had to get going which was followed by the inevitable breaking up of the crowd. 

I was a smart kid. I never made that mistake again. I became a very good listener. 

It has served me well. My contribution to conversations became simple prodding questions. I've listened to the most wonderful things, tales that were the summary of the sort of life and experience that mapped out my own desires. It has been the story of the "good life."

And that is the part of getting old that is the worst, I think, the loss of heroes from another time, people who could genuinely say, "You should have been there. You should have seen her. It was all magnificent and marvelous, and you knew it would never come again." 

And so, after leaving the party on Saturday night, as I said, I came home to watch "The Great Gatsby," Fitzgerald's most wonderfully told tale of a time and a place that was madness itself. But the movie--it was a shambles, it was a lie. It was a young boy telling an old man's tale, trying to jazz it up where it need not be jazzed with contemporary music and contemporary sensibilities and factual errors that were historically inaccurate. It was a story told "up," as it were, to me who knows the lines of the novel almost by heart. Maybe some teenagers liked the thing, of course, and maybe that is the way of stories twice told. 

But it left me flat. And Fitzgerald won't be telling any more of those most magnificent of tales.

Old People: Part I


Originally Posted Sunday, March 23, 2014

It is not nearly as much fun to hang around old people as it used to be.  I did so last night at the heralded party I so desired to attend.  It was a pleasant evening and the band was good, jazzy and sexy, the soundtrack to all the good films you have ever seen based on a novel by Raymond Chandler or his ilk.  There was good food and a presentation of fabulous cheeses, and the bar was complex and semingly endless.  But having hit it too hard the night before out and about in my own festival hometown, I was a bit tender and so was gingerly babysitting a short glass of wine and was painfully sober.  I was sitting with a good buddy, a fellow my own age who knows how to live "the good life"(and has), and who is rarely dull though now he suffers from having lived "it" nearly as much as I myself both physically and spiritually.  I don't mean that either of us is in crisis.  It is simply a matter of longing.

The year before, I had taken Red to the party, sort of a "bring your own" strategy, but this year I noticed that almost everyone there was my age or older (even when they were a decade or two younger by birth). 

"Before you got here," my friend offered, "I was sitting at a table with people I didn't know.  They kept asking about people that weren't there.  'Have you seen so-and-so,' one would ask and someone else would say, 'Oh, he doesn't like to go out any more, you know, he just stays at home.  He's become such a recluse.'  Jesus, pretty soon everyone I know will be dead." 

I thought about how little I go out myself, about how often here I write about becoming just such a person.  Jesus, I thought, Jesus Christopher Christ.

Just then a woman walked up and asked my friend if he remembered her.  He clearly didn't even though she said they'd gone on a trip to Egypt together.  And so the small talk started. . . but didn't stop.  I knew the lady as well, but she gave only a cursory acknowledgement of that thankfully, and after a few minutes I excused myself to go for another glass of wine.  My friend, evil genius that he is, quickly handed me his glass. 

"I'll have another one, too." 

I was in no hurry, however, to get back to what he was obviously trapped in thinking that he would have to gnaw his leg off to get out of that one.  And so I strolled around the grounds a bit taking in the view.  These once were the cream of the town, maybe, and maybe they still were, at least financially.  They were, if nothing else, the money that swelled the crowd.  They had travelled and spent money in good places.  Time, I thought, is a terrible, terrible thing. 

Suddenly I was grabbed around the neck and heard my named cooed by a female voice.  I was hopeful.  When I turned, it was a woman I just barely remembered at first, then better.  She was younger than I but had not taken care of herself at all.  She had become one of those skinny legged druggies with an alcoholic's belly, her hair cut short and dry, the skin no longer taken care of.  She had once been a true beauty, and I remembered that the last time I had seen her was over ten years ago.  She was still quite something.  She was living in Palm Beach then and I told her how much I loved going there, and like a flash she had gotten something to write on and copped a pen from the bartender, and she wrote down her telephone number.  She was adamant that I call her when I came down.  I would, I said, and I put the card in my wallet for future reference.  Months later, however, when I was there for a few days, I took the card out thinking to call her, but the phone number didn't quite make sense.  She had written down one too few digits.  And there I had been thinking all along of the much anticipated good times we might have.  Now she was standing at the cheese table serving cheeses from a cheese shop she apparently owned.  She was with another woman I have known around town, an attorney and raconteur, a woman without pretense and someone I liked fairly well, and so I recalled the tale to the two of them for fun. 

"Oh. . . I swear I didn't do that on purpose," protested the cheese lady.  "I must have been high.  Jeez, why didn't you just try adding in the final number," she giggled.

"I wasn't that desperate," I said, thinking that it was even more true tonight. 

Just as I turned to take my leave of them, I bumped into one of my neighbors, a dentist who thinks of himself as a cocksman, I believe, having drawn this impression from seeing him out a few times without his wife.  He is of the type who likes to make his way with money, smoking expensive cigars, eating at expensive restaurants, drinking talk-able wines, driving expensive cars, wearing expensive shoes, etc.  I wondered if his wife were here then thought that she probably wasn't.  We shook hands and he came close in that uncomfortably intimate way some people do with whom your only intimacy is that you live next to one another and are now next to one another once again in an unexpected place. 

"There's some real talent here tonight."  He spoke from the side of his mouth. 

"No kidding," I said.  Here, let me introduce you to someone.  I turned and brought him together with the cheese merchant. 

"Excuse me for a moment," I said, "I have to take my friend a glass of wine." 

When I finally got back with the drinks, Old Bore was still droning on about nothing in some profoundly emotional tone.  I rolled my eyes and handed my friend his wine. 

"Sit down for a moment," I said, "I need to tell you something." 

There was nothing to tell him, of course, but it was the sociably acceptable way of giving him an escape route, and so, in mourning tones, Old Bore wrapped up her insipid tale and made sure to get my friend's telephone number so that they could soon get together for more incredibly good times.

"O.K." he said.  "I've got to go.  My wife's at home.  Been in her pajamas since last night's party.  I may have to drive to the beach to pick up my kid.  I don't know." 

I was disappointed.  I would have stayed if he had, but the specter of falling into another conversation put a pall on things, so half-reluctantly I said, "Hold on.  I'll walk out with you." 

It was still early when I got home, too early for bed.  Perhaps I'd watch a movie, I thought, reclusively nursing a short scotch through "The Great Gatsby" which I had recorded.  "And this is it," I thought, "that life so greatly to be desired."  I wasn't sure if I was talking about Gatsby or Nick or myself, but somehow sitting in the dark light of the big screen t.v. alone at home on a Saturday night, all things began to conflate.  Yes, surely, this was the life so greatly to be desired. 

A Midwest State of Mind


Originally Posted Saturday, March 22, 2014

This is what you look like when you take your fashion advice from Gertrude Stein.  Mustaches are making a comeback among the aging hipster crowd.  This is what you look like when you are about to become the literary icon of your generation.  That is what happens when you take writing advice from Gertrude Stein.  Silly hats have long been iconic among the aging hipster crowd. 

I have nothing of my own to offer. 

I made a mistake last night and went out drinking with a buddy.  We had too many and stayed out too late, and now I feel the wrongness of it. It is that time of year here when everything happens from Spring Break to Bike Week to the PGA tournament to the 12 Hours of Sebring races.  I think there is a large rodeo, too.  There is an Art Festival this weekend and now with Google Maps every hillbilly who doesn't know what to do with himself can find my hometown.  Where once the Boulevard was beautiful, it is now Downtown Disney.  And now they can get an expensive burger which is much cheaper than anything else (I can tell you what it cost me last night--I didn't have a cheap burger).  Everybody is everywhere.  Things are crowded.  I am not a good man in a crowd. 

But tonight is the party I look forward to all year, a clean, well-lighted party in the garden backyard of a friend.  There will be a band and food and drink and I want to relive the feelings I've had before sitting under the soft light on a cool evening listening to a jazz trio under the moon.  It is impossible to relive anything, of course, and wanting such as that can only lead to disappointment.  I will try to go without desire, but it is practically impossible. 

It was wrong to go out last night, wrong to leave my cave.  It was not really fun.  It was at first, and that is where I should have left it.  Never be the last to leave the party.  It isn't wise.  It isn't cool.  Eventually, people will tire of you. 

Old Ernie knew.  He was never up late.  Even at his own parties, he would check out and go to bed.  He wrote early in the morning.  He was midwestern and knew the value of that as a midwesterner is bound to do.  I am built that way, too.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Post-Carnal Equinox


Originally Posted Friday, March 21, 2014


Rumors of my death have been slightly exaggerated.  Q will not yet get his inheritance, a big disappointment to him, I think.  I have received numerous emails and texts wondering if I have quit.  The liquor store, for instance, has been particularly concerned, but so have some of my friends.  In truth, I am dark right now and have nothing to say that is interesting unless I start revealing things about people I know which will make for some very good tales.  But too many people I know have found my little web dream, and I fear reprisal.  I also fear judgement from those who would love to show the world how truly stupid and trivial I am while descrying my lack of sensitivity to the issues of our times. Both things scare me, but being trivial and stupid is perhaps the worst of it.  I give "them" enough fodder on my best days.  I need not help them when I truly am the things they hope for. 

Besides that, I haven't had any photos to post.  I've been making my attempts to work outdoors.  I made this image just a couple days ago.  It is to be a companion piece to another of my old images that actually sold from the "Swim Club" series.  This is not Polaroid (you can tell by the aspect ratio if nothing else), but I think this has some of the same qualities of the images I was making with that film.  I will have to work more on it.  But I did shoot some of the last of the old Polaroid film this day and am in the process of cooking it up now.  I hope it will be marketable.

One of my friends reminded me that I did not have a post on the first day of Spring, what I always lovingly call the. . . what do I call it?  The Erotic Equinox?  No, that is not it.  The Fertile Equinox?  The Venal?  Shit, I can't even remember this!  Wait.  Yes. . . the Carnal Equinox.  I missed that and he missed any fertility pictures I should have put up.  That perfect balance of dark and light, of course, is to be noted being so rare.  But the faeries are not visiting me this year.  I must have been a bad boy.  By and large, they have forsaken me. 

This is as much sociable blather as I can manage today.  People and life disappoint(s) me so, and I am not excluding myself.  I am going back into my dark cave to hide.  I have much ruminating left to do. 

Show and Tell


Originally Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2014

O.K.  This could get boring.  I just grabbed a picture off my little amateur camera to post since I didn't prepare anything out of the studio for today.  I don't want to work in the studio now except for experimenting with processes.  I don't want to interact with humans in the studio.  It has drained me.  I have enough to do going to the factory and to the exercise emporium and to the grocery store, cooking dinner late in the evening.  I want to relax. I want to go places.  I want to see new things. 

But I will need to take some pictures to post here, something interesting.  This is interesting if you like to see how framed pictures sit on the floor in my house.  I have too many to put up.  This is the way the light fell through the shutters on winter morns. 

I have five more minutes before I must get into the shower and fly.  But it is O.K. as my head is empty and my heart dull.  I could tell you about the rain and the banana nut bread I'm eating.  You already know that Bella the Irritating Cat is at my feet.  Perhaps those are the pictures I should make and leave off the telling.

Change


Originally Posted Monday, March 17, 2014

And so it begins.  We'll see what I can do.  Here's a snapshot of my deck looking north.  This is where my mother and I had dinner tonight, a pressure-cooked chicken stuffed with onion and garlic and smothered in wine served with jasmine rice and Brussels sprouts and a garden salad.  The evening was nice and the neighbors passing by said hi.  We drank a nice Sav Blanc and then walked to the lake to see the full moon rise, but the horizon was cloudy and so we were left to sit and look over the empty evening water. 

I continue to feel especially well and look forward to living in the out of doors world.  Tonight we walked and said hello to the neighbors all of whom seemed to be out.  It is like that here.  I have been too long indoors and must begin to take some air.  It befits me.  It is becoming. 

But maybe now that I am showing pictures of the world, I should write more dangerous vignettes.  While showing pictures of people recreating whoredom, I picked up the habit of writing sweeter things to palliate the picture.  The writing has eventually become a longer version of a tweeting teenager:  what I ate, with whom, what the weather was, etc.  Not that weather is bad.  People like the weather or there wouldn't be an entire television channel dedicated to it.  Weather and home are the stuff of life, so they will stay.  Hell, there are cooking channels, too, so I'll have to mention meals. 

Maybe change will be more difficult than I imagined. 



Sunday, August 31, 2014

End of the Voodoo and a Full Moon


Originally Posted Sunday, March 16, 2014

I feel as though my head is clearing, that I am coming back from someplace far away.  I can't tell you what it has been--a spell, perhaps, or a trance--but most probably it has been an illness, whether voodoo-induced or self-induced or the simple result of human contact.  I can tell you what I think is bringing me out of it, though--aerobic exercise.  Since I have not been able to run for so long, I have put on exorbitant amounts of weight.  With the knee crapping out, there is no hope of running, at least for another long stretch of time, so I have gotten on the machines at the sporting club and kept my heart rate in the 140s for half an hour a day.  It is having a keen and positive effect.  It is not as good as running, but it is better than sitting.  I have spent far too much time doing that.  I am sick of working on photos at the computer, sick of trying to master new tricks.  I went to the studio yesterday and experimented with printing, but nothing good came of that.  I have gotten batteries for my film cameras, but I really don't know how that will work for me either.  I've done that before.  I am inspired to do something else, something other than make pictures.  I will crawl beneath the toilet bowl today and see if I can cure a leak on my own.  I will give the palms fertilizer and perhaps the rest of the yard, too.  Small steps.  Baby steps.  Go-go-go.  That's my motto.  Even though tomorrow starts another week at the factory, I feel strangely different.  The evenings stay light 'til eight, and I am scheduling nothing in the studio for awhile.  I am going to enjoy the light.  I am going to be outside in nature.  I am going to relax. 

Exercise beats voodoo, I think. 

I am done with weirdness for awhile.  If I take pictures, they will be outdoors.  Get ready for some stupid things, for surely I will not be profound for awhile.  Pictures of the light falling on the wall.  Onions and flowers and old scissors, etc.  I won't be able to meet the daily demand of the blog for images, perhaps.  I don't know.  I have billions of images I can draw from, but they won't be of the moment.  We shall see. 

Tonight is the full moon.  Perhaps that is the cause of my euphoria.  It is the last full moon of winter, so close to spring.  I will be at dinner with my mother when it breaks.  I will walk her to the lake for a good view. 

But right now, I am going to get started with that toilet.  What can possibly go wrong?

Kafka's Meaning of Life


Originally Posted Saturday, March 15, 2014

Change is inevitable.  Some of it is maddening.  Capitalism keeps taking away the things I use.  Film is the one I'm thinking of at present.  Fuji has announced that it is discontinuing another of the films that I use, films I have bought cameras for at very dear prices.  Elsewhere others are trying to invent replacements, but that, too, is a matter of money.  The Impossible Project can't get me the film I spent thousands of dollars around so that I could shoot it.  Oh. . . it is coming, they say, but it will be expensive and I don't know when.  The New 55 has begun trying to raise money on Kickstarter so that they can make an instant 4x5 film that I would surely like to have, but it also will be expensive, and I may be dead before they ever go into production.

I spent this past week going through the prints I have in my studio.  It has become a mess, but it has been a wonderful trip through the creative processes I have used.  If you could see the prints rather than these digital images, you would know.  I've done so many things that I look at a print and wonder exactly how I made it.  I go through them and know I must do more of that again.  And I will, starting today. 

All that I am going to be left with is digital.  Film is definitely becoming extinct.  I need to give it up completely.  It is the way back.  I need the way ahead.  I must put what creative energies I have now into figuring out how to fuck up the digital image outside of software.  Anyone can fuck it up using software, but in the end, when it is no longer digital, it looks like it was fucked up in software.  I need to fuck it up otherwise. 

But maybe I should quit thinking that way, too.  Why do I need to degrade the image to make it appealing?  My friend who is an encaustic artist of some repute and I laugh sometimes about the process.  "Scrapbooking," we'll say in self-denegration.  Mixed media is sort of that, though, isn't it?  You begin the same way, find elements, add them to the mix.  How is it different?  You can tell yourself lots of things, but it is just saying.  I've seen some pretty good scrapbookers.  I have a friend whose artwork is in museums around the country, and in the end, she is something of that.  She has a workshop this weekend teaching people the techniques.  The people who come to her workshops are already very, very good. 

But this way lies madness.  Or at least doubt and depression, and those are the last two things I need today for I am one step away from destroying my set so that I am not tempted to continue doing what I've done.  It is almost Spring, and I feel the need for something new.  I will spend the day thinking of what this "newness" will be.  It must be scary.  It must be do-able. 

These are the thoughts that have been filling my head this past week.  Now I have spat them out.  Maybe they will find soil and grow.  Maybe not.  I read an interview with Philip Roth this morning.  He quoted Kafka on the meaning of life.  "The meaning of life," he said, "is that it ends."  I need to get busy. 

Sophisticated Wildness


Originally Posted Friday, March 14, 2014

A friend sent me this image.  He said I should be in some of the pictures I make.  What is he suggesting?  Did I refer to him as a "friend"?  I, of course, wouldn't wear those hideous sandals.  Otherwise, though. . . .

The trouble is not with the way we think, but with the way we live.  I should say it is both.  For the most part, we are neither wild nor sophisticated.  We try living on some sliding scale in the middle of the two and we pay the price.  Our bodies and minds would be much better if we practiced a sophisticated wildness.  I'm not talking about the sort of prissy sophistication of conservative money which means nervous money.  I mean a sort of Paris Hilton crazy ass sophistication that has inherited all the rules in order to gently break them.  There is a wildness in that. 

Paris and I would look perfectly natural like this, a beauty and the beast sort of loveliness.  Of course, it takes money.  Otherwise we become more like Crazy Jane in the Yeats poems (you'll find something here).  Remember, Yeats had monkey nuts implanted in his abdomen in an attempt to retain his virility and youth. 

He was silly, though.  All you need is a camera and the crazy wisdom.  But for Paris, I'd have the operation, too.  But wait. . . it will never work out.  I just found this!  Paris isn't looking for Jove.  She's found some ugly young thing to keep her occupied.  Perhaps she has heard of the monkey ovaries operation. 

I recant.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

On a Happy Note


Originally Posted Thursday, March 13, 2014

On a happy note--the tulips enjoyed the tonic water, I think.  They have grown and opened and done what cut tulips are supposed to do.  And tonic water has the added advantage of being clear in the vase and thus unobtrusive.  There is more I can turn into a happy report as well.  My new dishwasher arrived yesterday.  It is a gem.  The fellow who came to install it was older than I, hair completely white, his body a bit stiff.  I wondered at his age and how he does it.  He asked me where the breaker box was and I took him around the house.  When he opened the lid--KABOOM!--sparks flew, there was a loud explosion, and smoke charred the box.  He was glad he didn't have a firm grip on the lid, he said.  I was hoping his heart was good.  It took out the power to about 1/4 of the house including the air conditioner.  Fortunately, the day was pleasant if a little humid.  He was able to continue the installation while I called electricians. 

Did you know there was a shortage of electricians?  I called four big places and none of them could send anyone out that day.  Finally I found one that thought they might be able to send one out in the afternoon.  I spent the rest of the day fretting.  What if he had to replace the box?  Surely he couldn't do that in a single day.  I would be without television, heat and a.c. (you need both this time of year in my hometown).  Fortunately, I still had the internet.  I needed it as I sat and waited for the electrician's call. And in the very late afternoon, he finally arrived.  With trepidation and worry, I showed him the box and told him what happened. 

"The screw probably touched a wire when you opened it," he said. 

I wondered if this was bad or good.  He opened the front of the box and said, "Yes."  He showed me the wire, the plastic cap melted completely.  He was a good man.  It took him five minutes to fix the problem.  What a fellow! 

Of course the bill was $114.00. 

I decided to be happy about it rather than lament.  Everything was working.  I'd lost the day, but I'd gained. . . something.  I had a new dishwasher.  I called my mother who got the same one as I, or rather I got the same one as she. 

"Did yours get installed?  How old do you think the installer was?" 

"76." 

"You asked him?"

"Yes." 

"Jesus.  I don't think I'd want to do what he does.  He was down on his back and belly looking around and hooking things up."

"He says he does a couple a day."

It cost $90 for him to bring the new one, take the old one, and install everything. 

"I wonder how much of that money he gets to keep.  I tipped him $10 since he almost got killed.  The money is probably all under the table.  He's got to be getting social security." 

Everybody is not like me.  Hardly anyone is.  I am lazy and not practical.  I'd bet the fellow never once in his life thought to himself, "I feel depressed," let alone said it out loud to anyone.  Practical Paul, the stuff that made the country great.  Any country.  Guys like him are the backbone.  Me. . . I'm a brain.  That's how I see it, anyway. There are backbones and there are brains, and then there are rotten little extremities that need to be doctored. 

In the late afternoon, I went to the studio where I had planned to work all day.  I did some organizing and sleeving of prints and talked to the artist in the studio across the lot behind me.  I'd lost a day that wouldn't come back, but it turned out o.k.  I poured a vodka and sat on the studio couch and thought about things.  I looked at two film cameras that hadn't worked when I tried to shoot outside the day before and figured out what was wrong.  I un-boxed a strobe light I had bought on eBay to replace one that has been acting squirrely.  I marveled at the number of big, beautiful prints I have.  Where did they all come from?  When?  How many hours do I have invested in making all of this?  It felt good.  It felt like no one had ever done this much.  I didn't think anyone could ever catch up.  That is what happens when you work at a thing, when you are diligent. 

I began to think about dinner.  I needed to buy coffee beans before I went home.  I thought that I would make something simple and light.  In this new time, it was lighter and later than I thought.  At eight o'clock, there was still the afterglow of the day.  I was alright, I thought.  Everything turned out O.K.