Sunday, April 24, 2022

One of the Things I'll Miss

I'm late writing today.  Q has been lecturing me on the efficacy of not getting an education.  At least not the formal one.  He prefers the wisdom of Burning Man or something.  I'm not sure.  He keeps telling me I'm missing the point.  Probably.  I mean Burning Man is where I would go to have surgery if I were ill.  

If I remember correctly, the conversation began with camping.  I said, like canoeing, it is the perfect way to end a relationship.  Or maybe it was the clipping I sent him about Tucker Carlson's cure for low testosterone.  I can't remember.  I may have said something about the love/hate relationship republicans have with pedophilia.  They are absolutely obsessed with it.  Nothing makes them as excited except Krispy Creme donuts that are coming hot off the line.  I'm pretty sure, though, I know what they are thinking about with that first sumptuous bite. 

Anyway, as my mother loves to begin, I had quite a day yesterday.  I was a man walking on a waterbed that was moving on a roller coaster.  I'm not as young as I used to be.  I "partied" too hard the day and night before, I guess.  Dancing around naked with my guitar at one o'clock in the morning singing "Born to Run" may have been what did it.  Not believing I was fucked up enough, I needed just a few more chemicals before bed.  

Saturday was my just reward.  

After writing my post, I went back to bed.  I got up around one, but I wasn't feeling so great.  There was an open beer in the fridge.  I needed to hydrate.  

I called my mother and asked her if she wanted to come over.  I'd grill steaks.  She said she didn't feel like it, that she had been "off" all day.  I told her I was too.  

"Maybe I caught something from you," I said.  "We probably have Covid.  I'm not coming over tonight.  I just feel like shit."

She, of course, was concerned.  

Having that off my plate, I lit a cheroot and poured some hair of the dog and sat on the deck.  The tenant came by.  

"Are you going to the party at the lake tonight?"

The neighborhood was having a celebration.  It is 100 years old.  My house was apparently one of the first ones built.  Aha!!!  Now it makes sense to me.  The party was a 1920s theme.  Jesus Christ. . . I'm slow.  

"No," I said.  "I feel like shit.  I overindulged last night, I think."  

"Really?  That's not like you."

What she meant is that I never have a hangover.  I'm not sure that it was the booze, though.  The billions of calories I consumed, the pasta and pizza and curry rice and the sweet coconut soup, the many French pastries. . . I think that is from what I was suffering.  

Eventually, though, I was driven to move.  I thought to go out and take photos with the Babylon 13 film.  Moving would make me feel better.  

It didn't.  I decided to simply stop and get groceries.  Crossing the parking lot was torture.  The prices were worse.  I shopped minimally--asparagus, little red potatoes, and a New York strip.  Well. . . on the way out, I couldn't resist some taffy.  

Taffy?  WTF?  I'd be lamenting that later.  Chocolate.  What I needed was chocolate.  

A stop at the liquor store.  I was going to drink water and tea Saturday night, but an empty library gives me the heebeejeebees.  Is that a bad sign?  Seriously, though, you can't eat steak without a good red.  And steak and scotch. . . I mean, c'mon.  

I collapsed when I got back home.  Still, I cut the red potatoes, oiled and seasoned them, wrapped them in foil and put them on the top shelf of the grill.  Then I lit a small Romeo and Juliet and sat down to "chillax" as the idiots say.  There is little an idiot likes more than special language.  It makes them feel like an insider in the Just for Morons club.  

Oh, Christ. . . I've been like this all morning. 

After the appropriate amount of time, I seasoned the steak and prepared the asparagus, took them outside, and put them on the grill.  Just then, the gas went out.  Done.  Kaput.  Fuck, fuck, fuck.  

I pulled the tank and headed to the grocery store to make an exchange.  

While I was waiting for someone to come and unlock the metal storage box, I stood beside a small, young Black woman who seemed to be an off duty employee of the store.  She had a bunch of those shitty plastic bags they put groceries into so that there are more bags in the dumps and in the oceans, the ones that break all the time and spill their contents, the ones you can never quite pick up right, the ones that only awkwardly hold their contents.  Those ones.  She was talking to herself and futzing with a little silver chain with a heart locket.  

She didn't look complete, but she was functional.  

"Do you want some help with that?" I volunteered.

"Oh. . . yes."  

She handed me the locket.  I'm like a bear cub playing with his pecker when it comes to stuff like this, a real klutz, so I was fumbling and grumbling and she was trying to help me figure out how to open the clasp, but in a little while, I had it fastened around her neck.  

"Voila!" I exclaimed in triumph.  

"Thank you.  Those are my sister's ashes in here."  

I grinned.  "She wasn't very big, was she?"

Her eyes popped open in surprise or maybe dismay.  

"It's not all of them," she said earnestly.  

"Oh," I said, picking up the full gas tank the store helper had given me.  I left her standing there waiting on a ride or the bus or however she was getting wherever she was going.  

In the car, I laughed all the way home.  This, I thought, will be one of the things I'll miss when its over.  It is what makes life enjoyable, such silly moments.  

Back home, I connected the gas and took the steak off the grill.  You don't want to slow cook a steak.  I'd wait until the girls had been at 500 degrees for a few minutes before I put it back on.  

What the fuck--I poured a scotch and lit another Romeo and Juliet.  Obviously, this night was not going to go as planned.  

As my steak sizzled, neighbors began walking by the house on the way to the lake in Flapper style, I smoking and drinking and looking quite like Ted Kosinski.  

In a bit, I plated my food and performed a deep pour of the new bottle of Cab.  The cat had not shown up for dinner, but many birds had returned and were heading to my empty bird feeders.  

Just as I finished dinner, my neighbors came up.  They were going to the lake. 

"You come, too."

I just gestured to my outfit.  I hadn't even showered.  I told them I was still suffering from a rough night.  They looked at the wine bottle and glass and at the whiskey sitting on the table.  I just smiled.  

I lit another cheroot.  These Romeo and Juliets are tiny.  

I really didn't feel well.  The right side of my neck had a weird pain.  My right ear must have some congestion, I thought, as it was constantly making a popping sound.  

"I've probably given myself tongue cancer with these things," I thought.  

"Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch. . . . "

After awhile, I did the minimal cleanup required of a meal prepared on the grill.  Dinner had been quite good.  

"Shit," I thought.  "I should pour a drink and walk down to the party."

I went inside and looked in the mirror.  I put the blow dryer to my hair like that would fix it.  I slipped on my groovy Jap pants, put on a black t-shirt, and went to the library.  I wanted to make a rum and coke, but there was no coke and I was out of tonic.  I poured a giant scotch instead.

It is a short walk to the lake.  It is beautiful there in the late afternoon, the breeze a constant.  A woman at the gate asked jokingly where my hat and bowtie were.  

"Oh. . . I'm dressed as a '20s railroad worker," I said.  "You know. . . a coolie."  

That's the way I like to talk to rich people.  I'm the Nigger of the Narcissus here in my own hometown.  I have the smallest home, I think.  Most are now 4,000 square feet and larger.  They are tearing down all the houses they are celebrating here at the 100 year anniversary to make these giant faux-Mediterranean beige things.  I don't blame them, but I lament the historical loss.  

I walked down the lane and into the opening.  There was a tent and a d.j. and an empty dance floor and small groups of people standing around in tedious conversations with the same people they most often talk to anyway.  There were kids running around having the most fun.  Big drink in hand, I strolled the perimeter.  There was really no one I wished to approach, so I walked to the water's edge to enjoy the view for a minute.  Just as I got there, a fellow jumped up from his table and ran over with a very hearty hello, shaking my hand as if we were great friends.  After speaking to him in generic terms with the required orthopedic smile, I remembered who he was.  He told me he was selling his house in the Marina district of San Fran.  Politics and bums, he said.  He was keeping his house in Switzerland, though.  I wanted to tell him I was thinking of buying a fifteen foot camper, but he was being too nice to fuck with.  

When he was finished, I headed home.  

I made a cup of tea and turned on "Paterson," a film by Jim Jarmusch.  As I wrote to my friends, it was "a  slow, tone poem on a road to nowhere."

I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  But I'm certain about the music.  Yes and Yes.  


There'll be more tomorrow.  

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