Yea. . . I got out for a bit yesterday. . . to the same old place. Whatever. They have unbelievably good tea and I wanted some. It was about an hour before my visit with mother. Doesn't that sound quaint? A momma's boy, like "Marty." Surely you know the Oscar Award winning movie. Holy smokes--I just looked it up and Marty meets his girl at the Stardust Ballroom! That's the real name of the Cafe Strange. My, how the world turns.
It is good to get out of the house, but it is hard to break habits. The cafe is pretty empty. A tall--6'2", at least--thin female with big, emblematic tats, takes my order. She is very striking, short bangs and shoulder length brunette hair, a fresh, friendly face and small shoulders in a black strap dress. I look at her and wonder, "why?" I almost. . . almost ask her if I can get her to stand on the red velvet stage. It is on the tip of my tenuous tongue when I ask her if her father owns the place. She says no, but two of his children do work there. Oh, I say, you look so much like his wife. Oh, she says, she is so beautiful. It is true. I don't mean you look like her, I stutter, I mean, you look like you could be her daughter. The mother/wife is tall and angular, too. I do want to photograph this girl, but I need an entire plan, not a simple urge. Selavy.
A beautiful young girl in a 1950's dress with auburn hair that is styled like a debutante from that era stands at the opening of the Photo Booth. A boy sits inside. She smiles and closes the curtain. She walks back to her table, her tightly belted polka dot dress falling mid-calf, and takes her seat. When the boy emerges, he, too, looks out of time, a loose, grey striped shirt unbuttoned to a V tucked into his double pleated belt-less slacks. He walks around looking at the bookshelves while he waits on his photographs. He looks like a club singer in old New Jersey.
Them, too. So many pictures.
I photograph only myself in reflection.
When I get to my mother's house, I have to see about her computers. She can receive but not send email. I figure it is something dumb that I can fix in a second, but I can't. It is a problem with the IMAP something or other. It wants a password. I futz around inside her system settings, in the mail settings. I restart the computer, restart the modem. After an hour, I don't know what happens, but the iMac works. I go to the laptop. I try everything that I did on the desktop computer, but half an hour later, it still won't send mail. I am frazzled. I give up. I tell my mother I will have to call the cable company and see if they can help, but not tonight. It is past my dinner time now. I go to Fresh Market to get a tuna bowl, but they are out. I pick up another noodle bowl and some sake and head home.
After dinner, sit down with a drink and continue rereading "Rules of Civility." I'm absorbed. I had forgotten everything. When I first read it, I told my friends it was a book that reminded you of literature. It was light reading, I said. But on rereading it, I'm not so certain it isn't better than that. It brings to question, of course, what constitutes "literature"? Obviously it is the ability to reread the work. Popular novels are story based--that is, once you know the outcome, there is no point in rereading it. But "Rules" seems rich. It doesn't change the landscape of writing the way Wolf or Hemingway or Faulkner did, but the attention to language and detail are outstanding in the way the Fitzgerald's writing was. It's not Fitz, but it is something.
I reach a stopping point and decide to look for my fly rod. It is one of the dark recesses of my closet. I dig into a crowded corner and find it in its hard shell carrying case. I pull out the case and open it. The rod is in two sections. I put it together. My god, it is so light. But it is nine feet long, a #8 rod. I haven't touched it for more than twenty years, probably. It is made for catching tarpon. It is far too big to fish lakes and rivers and streams. I search for the reel. I KNOW it is in the closet somewhere. I look on the top shelves. I get on my hands and knees and look under the dresser. I pull out things I haven't touched forever. There are prints I traded for with other printmakers in college. Coins from my father's coin collection. Things that have fallen here and there by mistake. I find old camping gear, audio recording equipment, everything but the reel. Things are dusty and I am sneezing. I give up for the time being. But I know it is in there. . . somewhere.
The sun stays up forever now. It doesn't even seem to get dark at night. As has been the case for awhile, I am ready for bed but not sleepy long past my usual hour. I need more Sleep-Eezzzz to help Mr. Sandman send me off to Dreamland. But my dreams are weird. At one point, I get up and remember the dream I was having. The dream was a memory, a kind of instructional version of a memory. A forgotten part of a sad story came clear. Yea, good dream. Not a happy dream, but a point of clarity.
"I am over it," I thought.
It doesn't seem the life-changing thing I thought might happen will. I am disappointed but not devastated. Just a little. But I have taken to looking at what is in front of me instead of what is in my head and that is helping. Some. A little.
Not so much?