Friday, December 4, 2020

A Need for Rest

  


Mr. Fixit has finished for the week.  The tiling in the bathroom is finished.  Now we wait for the new vanity and the shower doors to arrive.  Mr. Fixit needs some time off, and so do I.  So, I could have slept in this morning.  My life is my own for the next three days.  

I slept poorly all night long and finally got up just before five.  I may go back to bed after writing this, though, which is something I could not do if he were here.  So. . . there is that, anyway.  

As I write here this morning, I realize that I may not be coherent enough in thought to put together a post.  My body tingles with fatigue.  My brain is fog.  I am consumed by anxieties and fears that would do me no good to confess.  

Such is life. 

And such are movies.  Films, if you prefer.  I have decided that the best parts of most films are the exposition.  Nearly all filmmakers can start a movie well.  After introducing the conflict, however, after the movie takes its dramatic turn. . . .  I've decided that I will only watch movies up to that point.  Sometimes you can get a good half hour or more before the dramatic arc takes you into terrible territory.  I've learned all I ever will from conflict.  I'm schooled in it.  Neophytes must learn from it, and it is best if they can learn much from dramatic narratives and cautionary tales.  They don't, of course.  They go out to see if it is true.  But perhaps they will remember the lesson that drama tried to teach them after they are burned.  

Me?  Oh, I'm done with that.  As I say, I'm just going to watch the pretty part of the movie now.  That has always been the best part, anyway.  

I will post this now, but I may come back and add to it or change it after I get up again.  Now, I must return to my bed and try to get more rest.  I feel I haven't rested for months.  

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Oh, I Wish That I Cold Be Richard Cory

  


I'm a little disjointed, disoriented, and melancholy tonight.  I've been scanning and listening to music and drinking, of course.  It is the drinking that does it, that sends me down that rabbit hole.  But the old photos and the music certainly play their parts. 

I sent this photo to my mother when I scanned it last night.  The t-shirt was made by the drummer of the band as was the poster on the wall at the top of the frame.  He was more talented than I gave him credit for, I realize now that I have been watching documentaries on tagging and the street art of the time.  Oh. . . the photo is from the very early 80's.  That explains my girlfriend's hair.  Nothing explains mine.  

This was taken in a pub on the Boulevard we played quite often.  The owner thought we were the shits.  The pub served a largely Country Club College crowd, and that is where I learned to talk without saying anything.  Prior to this, I was prone to analyzing things.  But here, I learned to speak in monosyllabic code.  I learned you could be more popular that way.  

Zaxxon was the only video game I've ever played in my life, I think.  

Oh, yes. . . and at that point, we were "The Stereos."  We were New Wave before we were Punk.  MTV had just started.  Etc. 

The bathroom is coming along.  Mr. Fixit is quite grumpy, as I said this morning, and he warned me of the big bill coming tomorrow.  The tiling is finished and the toilet is back in.  I ordered a new vanity and hardware and a clear glass shower door.  He will paint the walls and be ready to install the doors and vanity when they arrive.  But tomorrow will be sticker shock. 

Mr. Fixit left in time for me to go over to see my mother today.  I had not seen her for three or four days.  I asked her if she got the photo, and she said yes.  She also said she would not have recognized me.  This is scary for a couple reasons.  One, of course, is that I have aged, but the other is her memory.  She told me something tonight that scared me.  She said she didn't think she would live another year.  This was when I reminded her that her birthday was just over a week away.  Fuck.  The worries never end.  

And so tonight, after my mother's forewarning and Mr. Fixit's inevitable expensive exit, I felt an aloneness that I haven't felt before.  Perhaps it is all the photos and letters, and perhaps it is the holidays without Ili, but I felt broke and alone and despondent.  

Thusly. . . drinking and scanning and music.  

"Musica!!!"

He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
The papers print his picture
Almost everywhere he goes
And the rumor of his parties
And the orgies on his yacht
Oh, he surely must be happy
With everything he's got
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Forgive me for this mashup.  As the kids used to say. . . "Whatever."

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A Pair of Ragged Claws

  


I'm fucked up.  I feel I have no control over anything.  This flies in the face of my Existential philosophy, of course.  I can always choose how I feel about what is happening, can choose my reaction to it.  So I did.  Last night I chose to ingest a nerve pill.  I got up when Mr. Fixit was knocking on the door.  Out of it.  So I made the coffee and sat down with Mr. Fixit.  He is grumpy.  He is tired of the long drive each day, sore from manual labor he had not planned on.  I know.  I don't blame him.  But I am worried.  I need Mr. Fixit.  He said he is going to need a big check tomorrow.  Yea.  Yea.  

He has gotten to work and I am having coffee and writing this.  The inequity is palpable.  It is driving the cost up, I think.  

Today I have to make some decisions and purchases.  I am not good at that.  I do not make good decisions and then I am stuck.  I have to choose a shower door, a faucet set, and a toilet paper holder.  I have to get plumbing and a toilet seal.  I am as tired as Mr Grumpy, but the money only flows in one direction.  

Would anyone like to buy a big print?  Retirement is not going so well.  

I can't sit at the computer while he works.  I need to be a gofer.  One day, maybe, I will be clever again.  Now. . . I am just a mewing steer, here to take a goring and calm the bull.  

"I should have been a pair of ragged claws/ Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Road Taken

  


Again, I'll write a bit tonight in case I am prevented from writing in the morning.  The moon is full and the temperature is dropping.  I've been scanning some as Mr. Fixit is laying tile and has no need of my "expertise."  It has been long and tedious process.  The scanning, I mean.  Mr. Fixit assures me that the tiling is as well.  In the end, I wonder why I bother.  Scanning, not tiling.  But I know why.  I know. 

This is my girl in some restaurant on a trip we took from in 1983 from our own hometown to NYC, up the coast by ferry, then by rental car, from Mystic to Maine and back to Newport.  There are tales to be told, but not tonight.  '83 must have been a long time ago.  It sure looks like it.  

* * * 

I didn't write very much last night, but Mr. Fixit is not here so early in the morning, so I will continue.  I had trouble writing as I was playing the first holiday music of the season (link).  The station is not as good as it used to be. . . but what is?  Why was I listening to it, anyway?  The hallmarks and touchstones of my holiday season will surely all be cancelled.  The downtown lighting of the Christmas tree (yes, we still do that here), the outdoor concert by the Bach Choir, Vespers at the old chapel, the Christmas parade. . . surely none of that will take place.  Perhaps that is why I was listening, though.  Maybe I felt there needed to be something.  

Or maybe it was nostalgia from looking at so many old photographs.  I'm thinking of decorating the exterior of the house a bit.  Well. . . if we ever get finished fixing it.  We won't.  There is no way.  And maybe, that, too, fueled the holiday music urge.  

"Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"  I thought of that line last night as I looked up in the cold, full moon sky. 


Crummy phone photo.  Night photos are always over-sharpened.  Still, I had to take the shot.  Winter weather swept in on the last day of November.  It is what passes for cold here in my village.  My old house has no insulation.  The cold air seeps in from the windows and floors.  I will have to dig out some different clothing.  Or not.  The cold won't last.  

I was on a Zoom meeting yesterday late afternoon.  It was my college roommate's last day of working at the factory.  He, too, is now a retiree.  I thought that I was going to a party, so I poured a drink and busted in like a gangsta, interrupting some formal statement by one of his colleagues.  Oops.  It was a staid affair, I'm afraid.  I wasn't very good at it.  

Well. . . at least they can't fire me.  

I will scan more today, and the next, and the next.  There is no end to the scanning I can do.  No matter how much I scan, I will never get it all done.  I've been asking around about the number of photographs and old letters and cards and such that other people have.  It seems not so much.  They don't have so many stories, either, in the main.  At least they don't seem intent to tell them.  I will.  I will get started soon.  Should I go horizontally or vertically?  There is no way I can tell the story chronologically.  I will not even attempt.  I will satisfy myself with a random jumping around, a stream of consciousness ordering, associational thinking, if you will.  

Maybe.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions, or so Hemingway says in "The Sun Also Rises."  It is, I think, the road most taken.  

Monday, November 30, 2020

Aged Aquarius

  


Again, writing at night as Mr. Fixit will be here when the morning comes.  That's what they say.  

Today the new shower was tiled.  I didn't put in a tub.  I listened to my mother and to Mr. Fixit.  Just a shower.  I have a tub in the other bathroom.  I already regret it.  Of course.  I've had sticker shock after sticker shock.  Vanities and glass shower doors.  Holy shit!!!!  I'm upside down and inside out.  

Whatever.  Isn't that what they used to say?

I left Mr. Fixit alone after lunch and began scanning old photographs.  Oh, boy. . . you all are in for the C.S. show coming up soon.  Yup.  All three of you will have to read about ME and MY LIFE.  With pictures!  It is a little bit of coming out of the bat cave.  And did I tell you. . . it is about ME!

The photographs are fascinating. . . to ME.  They are part of MY story.  You'll see.  

Oy. 

I don't care.  I want to show and tell it.  

In the meantime, you can watch this (link).  

I went through the new box of letters I found today.  I read through what my wife had written me and what my uberrich girlfriend before her had.  I hadn't remembered how much they loved me.  Adored me.  Fawned over me.  All I can remember is what I felt.  I will explain it all when I combine the letters and the photographs.  But fuck me. . . I was a lucky fellow.  

Which makes today all the more unpleasant.  But I complained yesterday, so there is no need today.  

Tomorrow is the Full Beaver Moon.  The weather will begin to turn cold here for the first time this autumn.  It won't last long, but it will be fine.  Perhaps it will get rid of the mosquitos.  They still torture me when I sit on the deck.  Perhaps the weather will put them to sleep.  

Alright.  If I have time, I'll write more in the morning.  Until then. . . . 

* * * 

Mr. Fixit arrived at 6:30.  At least that is when he knocked on the door.  He said he had been sitting outside for half an hour.  My days are not my own.  

He told me that starting December 21, we are entering a new Age of Aquarius.  Good for me, he said.  

I heard "Aged Aquarius."  "Ay-jed."  You know, Shakespearean pronunciation.  Now I can't get the loop out of my mind.  

"It is the dawning of the Aged Aquarius, Aged Aquarius. . . ."  

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Factotum

  


I should have taken more pictures like this one.  I am putting this up tonight as Mr. Fixit will be here bright and early as he was this morning which kept me from posting.  Things go slowly.  I am fucked and in the dumps.  I'll explain sometime. . . later.  For now, in case I can't write in the morning, there is this.  

(link)

* * *

It seems I have a bit of time this morning before Mr. Fixit arrives.  

I am breaking down.  There seem no positives in my life right now.  My routine has been exploded for over a month.  My house is a wreck of construction materials and dust.  I spend my days with Mr. Fixit, either gofering or hauling or simply making coffee or getting food.  And there are questions I must answer.  Too many decisions to make.  My health is failing me.  I won't go into it.  Mentally, I am exhausted.  I cannot hold things together much longer.  I see no lights at the end of the tunnel.  There is only tunnel.  

I remember being frivolous.  It was fantastic.  

I remember being in love.  

I read this morning that the number of suicides in a single month in Japan is now greater than the yearly death toll from Covid.  I read the article wanting to know the most common form those suicides take, but no such in formation was forthcoming.  The article pointed to Covid-19 stress as a major cause, this though Japan has never shut down.  The article spoke of social isolation, though.  Hmm.  More than 23,000 suicides per month in a country of 126,000,000.  That's million, not billion.  

Well. . . Mr. Fixit lied.  He has come early once again, so I must become the company factotum.  It is how I exist.  

Friday, November 27, 2020

Heritage Celebrations

  


Let me be controversial for a moment.  My phone and computer inform me that today is "Native American Heritage Day."  O.K.  Cool. But who in the hell thought to name it that?  

"What?" you might ask.  "Are you against Native Americans?" 

Well, I know what you mean, but think about that moniker for a moment.  It says that a group of people were Natives in America.  The whole concept of "America" is a European invention.  The people who lived in what is now called "America" were not Natives of that land.  Indeed--Natives?  They were a group of Asians who crossed the Bering Land Bridge and came into a people-less place they never called "America."  And they weren't a cohesive body.  The brutalities of one faction or tribe against another. . . well, I mean, they had slaves, didn't they?  Is that the "Heritage" about which we are speaking?

All I'm saying, yo.  

But if there are any people who deserve something special in America, that European invention, they are of African and Native Americans.  

But you know, when the Swedes start paying reparations to the Norwegians. . . at least according to my Norwegian friends.  Sort of like "Native Americans," right?  Weren't they all Vikings?  

O.K.  I've steered WAY out of my lane and knowledge base here.  Just pick a side, I guess.  Everyone's heritage is pretty terrible when you look at it.  

So let me sway back to something experience based--my Thanksgiving day.  It was O.K.  My mother and I did what we set out to do.  I set up the table outside, put on the table cloth and what passed for the ice bucket.  It turned out, however, that heating the Whole Foods meal was a bit of work, more than my mother had intended on doing.  Still, it was only heating, so I made mimosas and we sat down and soaked in the beauty of the day.  

Nobody--not a soul--walked by.  

My mother managed to burn up the green bean casserole--one down--but she opened a can of green beans to make up for it.  I tried carving the turkey which only served to prove to my mother that the money she had spent on my B.S. degree in Zoology was wasted.  Still, we got everything plated and served and sat outside to eat.  

Nobody--not a soul--walked by.  

When we were finished eating, it was very obvious that we had not eaten half of the dinner for four, yet we both were stuffed.  There would be piles of leftovers for later.  

Having cleared the table, we sat back to relax.  And that is when people began to show up.  Neighbor after neighbor.  Corks were popped and the rivers of champagne began to flow.  I had gotten bottles of Veuve Clicquot, not impressive but good--ish, and much better than the Freixenet that lot would serve.  My mother's 96 year old neighbor came over, cute as a bug in a sweater with a holiday flamingo on the front, and had a glass, too.  She is very thin and elegant but also very deaf, so conversations take some strange turns.  At one point, she said she had never bought a bottle of champagne, and then she asked me if I drank.  I said maybe a little.  She said, "Sit tight.  I'll be right back."  When she came, she brought this.  


It was her stash of airplane liquor bottles.  Her husband had died many years ago, but she still had his bar intact.  She had a piece of paper on which she had written down the contents of the bar in a precise hand.  All of the bottles were labelled "3/4" or "1/2" meaning they had been opened for a very long time.  She asked me if they were any good, and I told her probably not, so she said she would dump them.  It was very sad to me to think of her dismantling the bar she had shared with her husband who by all accounts was a very interesting man, a career Air Force officer who had flown in WWII as a bombardier.  I was touched, however, by her gift.  

Having had enough champagne for the day, I opened the little bottle of Calvert, a blended whiskey.  You know. . . it wasn't all that bad.  

When the neighbor left, my mother began the final clean up and division of leftovers.  That done, we sat down for a final moment as the sun began its daily retreat.  

"Well, that was fun, eh?"

"Yes," my mother said, "it was."  

At home, I decided to take a hot Epsom salts bath having pulled a muscle in my back earlier in the day.  I soaked in the tub until I could soak no more, then dried and poured myself a scotch.  I do not usually spend so many hours drinking, and I told myself, "Tomorrow, we begin a new healthy regimen.  Nights will be full of herbal teas."  

Yup.  That's what I told myself.  Then I turned on "The Crown" and watched two episodes, then took an extra powerful pain reliever and a Xanax and went to bed.  

 Mr. Fixit won't be here until tomorrow, so I have another morning to myself and a free day.  What to do?  

As soon as the fog clears. . . . 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

I'll Be Festive Nonetheless

 


Yes, indeed.  We race through the holidays now hoping for a better year.  At least on some level.  

I was MIA yesterday.  I had a nuclear stress test on Tuesday.  The nuclear part knocked me down.  I felt more than odd, greater than strange.  The fellow who injected me with the radioactive material said I wouldn't feel any side effects.  I am considering going back and putting a metal pipe up side his head and telling him he won't feel any side effects.  My arms and legs didn't want to respond to my brain.  I was foggy and couldn't stay awake.  I thought, "If this isn't a side effect of what he shot me up with, I'm in VERY serious trouble."  

I felt much better in the morning.  But I am seriously pissed off.  

More tests coming.  The sleep test kit should be arriving any day.  Two nights of sleeping with devices.  Sleeping?  I doubt it.  It is an insurance scam, I think.  They don't need a test to tell you you snore.  They should just give the fucking aqualungs away so you can use them once and then put them under the bed.  

Whatever.  

Yesterday was busy.  Mr. Fixit was here at the crack of dawn.  As he worked, I tried clearing out more of the junk I have stored over the years.  He was done for the day by eleven and headed home for a long Thanksgiving break.  I headed out for my beautifying project.  Three hours of it.  It was just me and my beautician and another beautician laughing and listening to a Paris Cafe station on Pandora. It was the most awesome station I have ever heard.  It was new and strange music to my pretty little Russian Jewess, but it was just the soundtrack to my life.  The other beautician, learning how much I liked it, cranked it up full volume.  She sat and marveled at how blond I was becoming.  

Oh. . . the results are quite pleasing.  

It was time to see my mother when I was done, so I stopped and bought some beer and headed over to her place to start the T-day party.  I brought over the table that we would set up for dinner and a table cloth.  I have to find the champagne bucket yet.  You see, mom has some neighbors who are widows--89 and 91--who will come down for mimosas.  They like to party!!! 

Beers done, my day was not.  I headed off to the liquor store to buy many bottles of good champagne, after which I raced to pick up the sushi takeout I had ordered.  When I got it home, I had ordered the sashimi rather than the nigiri, but it was fine.  Garlic edamame and miso soup and sashimi and a cold, unfiltered sake, and I was good.  

Then it was off to Whole Foods to pick up the Thanksgiving dinner for four.  Yes, there will be just two of us, but, you know, leftovers are the best part.  When I picked up the packages, though--holy smokes--there will be plenty.  

I took the works back to my mother's house and drove home.  I am rarely out at night any more, and everything seemed dreamlike.  There are actual holiday lights.  It is strange, really, like being in an aquarium looking out.  When I was on the table at the cardiologists with the imaging machine whirring and humming, Christmas carols from a radio in the other room came in tinny waves like a weird soundtrack to a David Lynch movie.  That is what it feels like, yes.  Everything is quite strange and far away.  Nothing actually seems real.  

But the sun is out here today, and there is likely not to be a cloud in the sky.  I am going to take a long walk and do a little exercise before I go to my mother's.  We will eat early, around one.  That way, we can have turkey sandwiches for dinner.  Mmm.  

And so it is that I try to keep the hollow emptiness away and bring some cheer where I can.  Let the holidays begin.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Just a Cup of Coffee

  


Wow, right?  Woman walking into frame.  How could I have ignored it for so long?  I have billions of photos and things get overlooked.  Lost, in a sense.  But hell, it is pure cinema.  

I want to make photographs again.  

O.K.  Maybe it is not that good.  But it is something I like.  It is more street portrait than street photography.  I like the look of people when they are not aware of being noticed.  What was she thinking about?  How is she doing now?  

My bathroom is finally beginning to come together.  It might be finished next week.  And then we can get back to what was originally intended.  So much more to do. So many thousands of dollars.  But as we creep toward fixing things, I feel somewhat liberated.  The sun is shining.  The sky is blue.  Perhaps I will live again.  

It is morning now, and Mr. Fixit is not here.  He has some car stuff to take care of, so I am alone.  Without coffee.  I am not allowed to have caffeine for twenty four hours prior to my test.  I am to fast for four hours, so I can't eat, either.  No coffee, no food.  It is silly how much an inconvenience this is.  It is also an indication of how far I have fallen and how weak I've become.  I am truly the Rain Man.  I can't stand having my routines disrupted.  

Selavy.  

The Biden train moves along.  He now has access to Presidential information.  He now has transition funds.  Lucky Joe.  Members of his own party are already complaining about his cabinet appointments.  Huh?  Go figure.  Biden will be president of a Mad Land.  Mad Land of America, the disjointed, depreciated republic.  Good luck, Joe.  You're gonna need it.  

My next few days are hectic, and it makes me anxious.  After months of sitting, having to do things, having to perform tasks, is making me anxious.  Doctors and beauticians and wrecking crews and Thanksgiving dinner--suddenly my life is a whirlwind of activity.  I am in no shape for it.  

It feels like holding your breath and swimming to the other end of the pool underwater.  You know you can manage it, but it isn't really something to which you look forward.  

I may be wrong about the bathroom.  I just made a list of what still needs to be done.  I doubt it will be ready next week.  

After today, I still have a bevy of medical tests to undergo and a home sleep study where I am supposed to attach sensors all over my body.  How am I to sleep?  Of course, the whole idea is to find apnea and sell me an aqualung or whatever it is called.  Just a little something to make me more attractive to the girls.  

"Uh. . . you don't mind if I wear this tonight, do you?  I mean, you didn't want to snuggle, right?"

I sure would like a cup of coffee.  

Monday, November 23, 2020

A Day Off

  


Mr. Fixit didn't come today.  He texted me at six this morning.  Rain, he said.  Bad.  In relief, I agreed.  Sit by the window and sip your coffee, I said, and think about the disaster that is your life.  No, I only said part of that.  The second part was only for me.  

And so I did.  I drank coffee and then went for a walk and an outdoor workout at the outdoor gym a few miles from my home.  I felt like shit and didn't want to do it, but after sitting for hours without ambition, I felt the need to do something.  

When I returned home, I showered and did nothing.  Not exactly true.  I went back into some old files and cooked up photos like the one above.  So in a sense I was right.  I did essentially nothing. 

Something is hideously and terribly wrong with me.  I am a barely walking corpse, a meat puppet lacking vitality or drive.  Indeed, it hurts to move.  Covid long-hauler?  You know what I think. 

At the appropriate time, I took beer to my mother's.  Guinness.  It was the draft in a can kind with the little carbonation balls in them.  I tried to explain to my mother.  The Guinness was sixteen ounces.  My mother said that it was a lot of beer, but she finished hers before I finished mine.  

At home, I felt no need to cook once again, and for the fifth night in a row, dinner was an avocado with minced garlic, salt, and red pepper, after which I opened a can of Amy's Lentil Soup.  Cooking meat has not interested me in some time now.  

After dinner, I poured a whiskey and surfed YouTube.  WTF?  I found this. 


Now, two ice cream sandwiches later, I am here, writing as I imagine I won't be able to in the morning.  But the dishes are washed and the coffee pot is loaded and ready.  I have a very busy week including a cardiology exam, a beauty appointment, and picking up Thanksgiving Day dinner at Whole Foods and having dinner with my mother.  

When I got home tonight, my mother called to tell me that one of her neighbors asked about me tonight, an attractive lady my mother thinks I could be interested in.  Sure, sure.  Not bad for an old guy who hasn't been out of his pajamas in nine months.  

Confidence is everything.  

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Stale Bread and Old Cheese of Life

  


Oh people. . . my life is like stale bread and old cheese.  I mean, they can sustain one, but it is not the stuff of life (or is that "staff"?).  Alone night after night, I have nothing to do but avoid thinking.  Avoiding feeling, however, is an entirely different matter.  Those letters, you know. . . they make me feel things.  And in the morning, Mr. Fixit comes in fresh off whatever he is dealing with, and we talk.  Oh, brother.  Life is arduous.  



Of all the thousand or so letters I have, I get a kick out of these most.  "Kick" is not the right word.  The word is too dismissive.  These letters are simply pure emotion.  What can I say?  One can argue with intellect.  I've done it my entire adult life.  But the way someone feels about things?  It is like trying to grab a lightning bolt.  

And yet. . . and yet. . . I wish I could have been there with her for the intellectual journey.  Why wasn't I? 

As I say, I try to avoid thinking at night, but you know how that goes.  Everything gets tangled up and the mind won't stop.  I try to.  I do my best to narcotize it each night, but then thought only bleeds into what I am feeling, and the emotional me kicks the shit out of the intellectual me.  

"The heart wants what the heart wants. . . ."

I realize I was happiest just sitting beside her.  I felt safe.  Oh, not Emily.  Ili.  I didn't really care where we were.  I just wanted to sit by her.  That is where I felt best.  She was smart, you know.  But we laughed like idiots.  I didn't care where we were at all.  It didn't matter.  I just knew that things were o.k. 

Until they weren't. 

It is 8:30 on a Saturday night.  I'm already too deep into the scotch and it is having its effect.  My mind is going stupid.  I've put on some Kathleen Edwards music and can only think through her lyrics, but mostly I just feel the music, the subtle shifts in instruments, the hollow emptiness between notes, the quiet harmonies.  Writing becomes impossible.  

"Do ya love me?"  

I am done for the night.  My mind has shut off.  I will drift now, drift with the music and the emotions and memories.  Mr. Fixit will be here before you know it.  Another day in Paradise.  

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Condensed Version

  


What can be done?  Pictures like this will be illegal to make soon.  Street photographers are to blame, of course.  They are no different than the rest of humanity.  They make everything impossible because of their aggressive and selfish ways.  Selavy.  We all lose, in the end.  But. . . it is like everything else.  Things were better in the past. . . except for the things that weren't.  Times are great.  Times are rough.  

They are rough around my house.  It is Friday night, I hear, but it might as well be Monday.  Mr. Fixit will be here in the morning before I have had a cup of coffee.  My time is not my own, so I write tonight in order to post tomorrow.  The bathroom comes along, but ever so slowly, and Mr. Fixit was not in a good mood today.  I can't blame him.  He did not come to do such a big job.  So I am the castrato, the steer who takes the bull's horn to calm him down.  I've run with the steers and the bulls in Pamplona.  I didn't want to fuck with either. 

I tried to make some room in my house today as I find that we will not be done anytime soon.  He is hoping to be finished before he leaves on a Christmas Holiday.  What?!?  

I had no idea. 

But the hogs are greased and out of the gate and there is no easy way to get them back in at this date.  We are in for the whole rodeo.  

I'm not saying it is a good photo.  My friend Jan is a much better photographer of street life than I.  Jan.  He is Swedish.  A Swede.  It is funny, that "ish."  His name is "Yon" phonetically, but I, being American, always say Jan--rhymes with "man"--in my head.  I'm Americanish, I guess.  

Remember that Mailgram I posted yesterday?  That is a loooooong story that includes my friend and mate at the factory.  Want to hear?

O.K., then.  Here is the tale.  

I had a friend in elementary school who lived down the street.  His name was Tommy.  He lived in the "spooky" house.  Nobody was allowed in.  His father kept the lawn immaculate which was much different from the rest of the sandspur infested Bahia grass and dirt yards in the neighborhood.  Tommy was a lousy athlete.  But he could draw, and he was funny.  His stepmother was a flouzy blonde who would buy us Playboy magazines if we asked.  We did.  Tommy's mother and father were divorced, and his father got the two oldest kids and his mother got the two youngest.  When Tommy's father wasn't around, I was allowed in the house.  One Friday night, his dad and stepmother were out and Tommy's older sister had a girlfriend over for the night.  His sister and her friend put on records and got me to dance with them.  His sister, hotter than a firecracker, taught me to kiss.  

Turns out Tommy's father had been diddling his sister for awhile.  She said so when her boyfriend got her pregnant when she was sixteen.  She married him to get out of the house.  It was after that that Tommy went to live with his mother.  

His mother was married to Rex.  They lived in a 10x60 trailer in a marginal trailer park on a lake.  I used to go over after I turned sixteen and got a license and a car.  Tommy, his younger sister and brother, and his mother and Rex lived in the two bedroom trailer.  I often stayed over on weekends.  Tommy dropped out of school in the 8th grade and got a job to help out with money.  He worked in gas stations and tire shops, by and large.  He was in love with Deana, the sister of one of his trailer park friends who had also dropped out of school, but Deana was in love with an older fellow from Alabama who, on occasion, came to visit.  It was a big deal when he came.  

We later found out that Deana's mother was fucking him.  But Deana got pregnant by him, too.  And that was the last we saw of the gentleman.  

Deana got another boy to marry her and be her baby's daddy.  

Tommy, realizing he didn't have a chance with Deana, began "seeing" another girl in the trailer park, Debbie.  We would all go tot he drive in movie and they would screw in the back seat while I watched the movie.  I saw "Romeo and Juliet" many times and could recite the lines with the actors.  

Debbie got pregnant.  

By that time, I had graduated high school.  Deana's father was a construction foreman and was able to get Deana's brother, Tommy, and me, into the Labor Union so we could work at the big new resort being built on a floodplain in a connected county.  We worked ten hours a day, seven days a week.  The money, however, was too much to turn down.  We made more in overtime pay than for the forty hour week.  

Tommy couldn't take it, and he started skipping work.  Meanwhile, Debbie was getting more pregnant.  

By summer's end, I had decided to go to college.  Tommy and Debbie decided to get married.  

In college I met a girl, and when I had an operation that kept me in bed for a very long time, she would visit me every day.  And one night, she decided I should be her boyfriend.  What could I do?  

In a few months, I went away to the University one hundred miles to the north.  

Half of those thousand letters I've been culling of late are from her.  

O.K.  So the Mailgram you read yesterday was from her.  She was going to see Debbie who had just had twins.  I was living with my college roommate when she sent it.  

Sherri came up to the University a year later.  She had a roommate in her dorm that my roommate began dating.  Oh, what fun we all had.  When I graduated, however, after my long hitchhiking trip around the country, I had to go back to my own hometown and try to find work.  

I got the teaching job.  A few years later, I got my college roommate a job at the college, too.  He had come back to town after his girlfriend had broken up with him.  

One night in a bar I often went to, I saw Debbie.  Tommy had abandoned the family and she was going to college and trying to raise the girls.  My roommate needed some romance, so I introduced the two of them.  They moved in together and later got married.  He raised the children of my friend Tommy.  

Weird, right?  I mean, I was living with him when my girlfriend sent the Mailgram.  

Just to make it weirder, Debbie's father married my roommates mother.  Debbie and he got divorced, but they were still connected by their parents.  

Now that is the Reader's Digest Condensed version of the tale.  It is the best I can do on a Friday night.  I want to watch some t.v. and drink a bit more before bed.  Before I know it, Mr. Fixit will be here.  I hope.  I mean. . . I can only hope.  

For fuck's sake, I hope your Friday night is better than mine. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

For A Little While

  


I was ecstatic for awhile today.  Here is the message I sent to my friends.

Holy shit!!!! Great lab results!!!! I’m on a cloud!!!!!

Yea.  My lab results came back "excellent."  I had been sitting in the doctor's office expecting the worst.  Why?  Because that is how I am?  Well. . . although I eat well and exercise, my consumption, sometimes, is less than healthy.  

My buddy had been to the cardiologist the day before.  He, too, was tremulous, but his results were fine.  

We will live another day.  

But then I began thinking.  I mean, I still have the cardiac tests coming, and I haven't been to the dermatologist nor the gastroenterologist yet.  Some of my organs seem fine, but there are others.  Besides, my blood pressure was still too high and my doctor upped my dosages.  So there is that.  

And the house, of course.  

Given all of that, though, I was happy.  My mother was as well.  She has been worried.  She said I looked ten years younger.  Worry, etc.  

Two more weeks of testing.  



Remember these?  I didn't.  But evidence has it that my girl sent them to me. 


Circa 1973.  I guess these were same day delivery.  I have several from her.  There are crazy things to remember.  

Mr. Fixit comes back tomorrow.  We will begin, once again, working on the bathroom.  Perhaps we will finish before the maids come next Friday.  I am anxious to have my house back again . I am anxious to get back into my routine.  

I am anxious.  

I want to write about that Terrible Trump bunkered in the White House.  I want to ask Q what drug I should rumor that he is taking.  Ibogaine has been used by Thompson on Muskie.  There must be some internet rumor I can start about Trump's drug use.  I am not as savvy as Q on such things.  He surely can help me come up with a theory.  I, myself, have been considering which drugs might make my latter years more bearable.  There isn't a lot of time to procure and store illegal substances any more.  Whatever it takes, I'd better begin now.  

There are so many letters sitting on my study floor.  I'll never get to all of them.  There are things, though, that simply thrill me.  


I mean. . . what can you say about a girl like that?  

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Don't Hurt Me Now

  


I've been saying it and saying it and saying it.  Now, so are others.  Covid-19 is an airborne disease.  Wiping down surfaces does not stop transmission.  But people go to gyms and wipe down the equipment but do not wear masks.  They are idiots.  

I am back to exercising outside.  

Yesterday afternoon, with nothing to do and no motivation to do anything, I decided to get back to sorting the double garbage bag full of letters.  They range from 1973 through 1985.  There are probably a thousand of them.  Letters, notes, old paychecks, travel brochures. . . everything.  I am a packrat, I guess.  I spent the afternoon in another time re-remembering things long forgotten.  There I was--we were--still and again.  There were letters and notes, almost exclusively from women, that reminded me that in the main, we do not really change much.  We repeat the same patterns again and again.  I was a handsome, sweet, sad boy who was excited by life but vexed by the mundane.  There were notes from women I had forgotten and some I cannot remember.  I kept them all, I guess.  The majority of them, though, were from two women.  There is much that is too painful to read.  

There are letters from my mother and father.  I took one of the letters to my mother yesterday to let her read it.  I laughed and said, "This sounds just like our every afternoon conversations."  Her life, too, is a pattern.  

Both my mother and father were concerned about money.  My father was working much overtime.  My mother was selling things.  They sent me money every week while I was in college.  I remember going to the mailbox and getting their letters.  I don't remember writing back.  

I don't remember writing to the women, either, but their letters report that I had.  Apparently, I said sweet things.  They were reading books I recommended and wanted to see movies I had written about.  Fellini, for god's sake.  Was I really already watching Fellini?  And the books--works of literature.  I don't remember being that sophisticated.  In memory, I was a hillbilly boy trying to catch up.  But I do recall the seriousness of my quest.  I immersed myself in the cultures around me, and at the university, everything was at my fingertips.  

The women were often worried about me.  I was hopelessly moody.  

No, I have not changed.  Women were my alpha and my zeta.  Art and literature were my mainstays.  Zoology was my major.  My roommate and I played in every intramural tournament no matter the sport.  I wanted to be everything.  

I graduated and travelled around the country, then went back to my hometown and looked for work.  I had forgotten about some of the jobs that were offered me from the schools and colleges where I applied.  I took an adjunct teaching job at one of them.  

I met a girl.  My life got complicated.  It wasn't all my fault, but it was my fault.  I can't stand to read those letters.  I just have to put them away.  

I prefer the sweet ones, of course.  

I've tried to find out how Emily died.  I know, I know.  I could keep it a secret, but I have.  It seems others have reached out to her family to find out, too, and have never received an answer.  Considering the brevity of her funeral services, I wonder if she overdosed or committed suicide.  I can't tell you why I am so determined to find this out.  It is irrational, but that makes little difference.  One is not allowed to get the cause of death from the state unless one can prove to be a close relative.  I want to find someone who has access to state records such as these who wouldn't mind doing what Lt. Joe Becker does for James Rockford every week on "The Rockford Files" or what Lt. Jacobi does for Peter Gunn.  

Yea. . . I've gotten sucked into the past.  Its a vortex.  I stayed up past midnight watching old music videos from the 60s.  I am tired today.  But I had a text from Mr. Fixit who said he needed another day off, so I felt rather free.  I have another stressful doctor's appointment in a bit, though, and my mania is already reverting to depression.  When I think about it, my stomach turns to stone.  

There are still stacks and stacks of letters to sort.  I will return to that today.  



I am a moody boy, and I am nothing else if not an idiot.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Fear

  


I have a moment of respite.  Mr. Fixit is not coming today.  It is an agitated respite, however, as the house is a war zone.  I am limited to a very few spaces in my home.  I have been sleeping in the single guest bed for a couple weeks and my back aches.  I will have to get a better mattress for it.  

I should probably not write today as I haven't a positive thought in my head.  I am going through several simultaneous "tragedies" alone.  I place the word tragedy in quotes, for I know its proper usage.  I am as tragic as Willy Loman.  Sitting alone in the evenings with my several plights, however, is laying me low.  This seems the culmination of a retirement year that hasn't had one good thing.  Or so it seems.  I know I overlook the obvious.  There has been some mundane goodness.  There is coffee in the morning and t.v. shows at night, etc.  But my nerves have been shredded and frayed.  I am prepared to submit myself to some doctor prescribed medication, though with my luck, I would be referred to counseling instead.  Everyone else gets Xanax and anti-depressants by the yard.  I have never had such luck.  

I need consoling, not counseling.  I need to narcotize away the fear.  Ultimately, I think, that is what it is.  Fear.  

Maybe we (I) never realized the truth that Mr. Thompson spoke of.  Perhaps it was a fear that drove his drug fueled madness.  Perhaps he was not brave at all.  Fear had made him insane.  

Or that could be me simply projecting.  

I will exercise today for the first time in a week.  I look forward to a long walk.  Nothing else.  Just that.  

I will order the Thanksgiving meal for my mother and myself today from Whole Foods.  Dinner for two--well, I'll probably make it for four.  You always want leftovers.  

My hands shake.  My body quivers.  It seems nothing will ever be good again.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Nothing Clever

  


I wrote a really horrible post last night that I can't post today.  It is far too angry.  Dangerously so.  My anger and anxiety have me by the throat now.  The bathroom is a horror show and Mr. Fixit is tired.  He did not expect to do all this.  My hands shake.  My whole body trembles.  I have multiple medical appointments spread out over the next month.  All in all, I'd have to say that things are not good.  I cannot be clever about any of it.  


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Morbid

  


So. . . it looks as if I don't post early, nobody looks.  WTF?  Do you ever just want to say fuck you?  Whatever.  I post every day, not most days.  Show some loyalty, motherfuckers.  I'm dying here. 

Maybe.  Literally.  I mean we all are, but some more than others.  We are culling the aged with Corona, of course.  "We" being an attitude that aligns with nature.  Of course "nature" is a metaphor like "god."  Right?  It has congregational meaning.  There is actually no "nature" any more than there is anything else outside of our language construct.  But if we are all in agreement about what "nature" means, then we can proceed.  

I mean, the aged are fucked.  

So is my house.  We tore out the floors and walls.  Three layers of subfloor--three!!!--were wet and covered in mold.  The wood is waterlogged and scary.  I have a cardiology appointment on Monday morning, and I will be even sicker when. . . I find out what lies beneath.  I know doctors are supposed to be there to protect your health, and I believe that they believe that by and large, but we and they all know why they are really there.  It is the foundation of capitalism.  

I have always been an advocate of preventative health care.  Now I feel as if the information I receive will only lead me to despair and depression.  I'd rather not have to hear from them.  But there is no other way to get the needed drugs.  

If I receive the expected bad news, the only drugs I'll want are LSD and heroin.  

Oregon here I come!

There are better ways to die than nursing homes.  

My entire body aches tonight and I am worn out beyond reason.  I've decided to take Xanax and a giant Naproxen and drink some scotch.  I thought I would forego all drugs and drink tonight, but it makes no sense.  Whatever happens tomorrow, I want it on my terms, not the cardiac salesman's.  Perhaps it was a mistake to watch this tonight (link).  

Of course, I am being morbid.  I have no other way of being tonight.  Tonight, I say, for I have no idea what time Mr. Fixit will arrive tomorrow, and once he gets here, my day is shot.  

If I can write in the morning, I will.  If not. . . well. . . this is it.  If you come.  It is obvious you never share the site.  "I'm melting. . . I'm melting. . . . "  All of my evil talents are shrinking, that's for sure.  Perhaps I would be better off resuming the old position.  Remember?  Hey. . . both of you. . . I'm talking to you!!!!


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Rot

  


I am not able to write regularly now.  Mr. Fixit gets here around 6:30.  Today we ripped apart the bathroom.  Much damage, more than he expected or really wanted.  He is dismayed.  Breaking out the 600 plus pound cast iron and enamel tub was exhausting work for him.  He cut it with a metal saw and then beat it with a ten pound sledge hammer.  As he busted things up, I pulled them out.  See the pvc pipe on the right?  It had two pinhole leaks that sprayed a fine mist of water.  For how long, I don't know, but he says it looks like a long time.  The water has wicked into the studs.  The entire bathroom subfloor needs to be removed.  All the tile on the floor and walls is coming out.  Mr. Fixit is exhausted.  

I am, too, in a different way.  

Old houses are for young people. 

More destruction tomorrow.  Monday, I have been ordered to go to a cardiologist.  Bad ju-ju.  As I said, the house is emblematic of the character who lives in it.  If it is bad news, I won't let you know.  At least not at first.  

The weather has changed here now.  Out of doors is extremely pleasant.  We are in for some good days and nights, I think.  

But I swear to you, this has been a truly bad year for me.  It is surely one of the two worst years of my life.  I'm holding up, though.  Chin up and listen to the bagpipes.  No whining or crying boys.  We salute those of you about to die. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Otherwise Engaged

  


WTF am I going to do?  I haven't taken a photo in many weeks now after carrying a camera every day and taking photos like this.  It might be awhile before I am able to take photos again.  The house repairs go slowly.  Mr. Fixit worked half a day today.  He will be back tomorrow and work through the weekend.  I won't be able to think about anything creative until my house is put back together again.  I do not think it will be so by Thanksgiving.  Just in case you are curious, he doesn't work for free.  I am growing ill with poverty, but more than anything, I want my space and peace again.  

Whatever. 

I went to the liquor store tonight after visiting my mother.  There is no way to not drink with what I feel I am enduring.  I needed liquor and had no desert.  Maybe, I thought, they will have desert at the liquor store.  

Nope. 

WTF?  How have they not figured this out?  One stop shopping.  They need rich chocolates, expensive cookies, and gallons of milk.  I may have to apply for a liquor license so I can show these fuckers a thing or two.  Scotch and rich chocolate.  Heroin and sex.  One is legal and the other only in Oregon, the state that allows you to end your life when the time comes.  I AM Oregon.  

I am writing tonight because Mr. Fixit gets here so early.  I do not know if I will have time to write in the morning.  Tomorrow, I believe, we begin ripping apart the bathroom.  "We."  Like I am doing anything.  Well, like I said. . . I worked a lifetime to pay for this shit.  

Fuck!  I haven't updated you on Batgirl.  She had the rabbi shots.  Oh. . . Q informed me that I had written "rabbi."  Autocorrect, I guess.  She did not.  She had rabies shots.  I don't know if you can actually get a rabbi shot.  

* * * 

Sorry.  I'm late posting today. I was asleep in the dark when I heard a tapping on my bedroom window.  I didn't believe it, but it didn't stop.  I was hoping--"Girlfriend."

It was Mr. Fixit.  He got here a little after six.  I've been otherwise engaged until now, so I will make a quick end to this post.  Such is my cursed life at present.  

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Thar Be Bats

 


I slept in my bed last night.  I didn't sleep well.  When morning came, however, I had to force myself up.  Five minutes later, Mr. Fixit showed up.  My day is already upside down.  It has been raining for three days and won't let up until tomorrow.  Tropical rain downpours, not the misty stuff most people are used to.  Everything is a mess.  I am gripped, as climbers say when someone is stuck on a rock wall and can't find the next move.  

Gripped.  

I won't be normal until this is all done.  I think Mr. Fixit will begin tearing up the bathroom today.  Fuck. 

I have only one interesting thing to report.  I got a call from the tenant.  She was walking at dusk, she said, and a bat flew into her face.  I laughed about it, but she was freaked.  She wanted to know what she should do.  I didn't take it seriously.  I told her to watch for hair growth on her arms and to keep an watch on her eye teeth.  She asked me if I thought she should go to the doctor.  

Yesterday I called her to see if she was o.k.  She did not answer her phone all day, but in the late afternoon she called.  She had gone to her doctor.  The doctor told her to go to the emergency room.  There, she got gabaglobulin and rabies shots.  What!?!?!  Reportedly, she had a nick on her chin where the thing hit her.  Take no chances, they told her.  She told me her mother had been bitten on the head by a bat once and had to go through the rabbi treatments, too.  She told me that a number of her friends and acquaintances had gone through it.  

I've never known anyone before who had to have rabbi treatments.  Am I an anomaly in this?  

She said that she wasn't feeling so well, that the shots were making her feel weird.  This is a common side effect, she said.  

I asked her where she was when this happened.  I reminded her that many years ago when her son was young, I had made a treasure map for an elaborate treasure hunt I created for him, and on this map, I had written, "Thar be bats" just where she was "attacked."  She then remembered.  

"See. . . I tried to warn you."  

The rest is just rain and disruption.  He is painting as I write  this, guilty in my sloth.  It doesn't matter that I worked all my life to pay for this.  I am still sitting on my ass while he toils.  I am no good at that.  

So. . . 

"Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go, 

"With a shovel and a pick and a great big dick,

"Hi ho, hi ho."