Sunday, February 4, 2024

The Way It Goes

Another unbelievably beautiful day.  I sat inside.  Oppressed?  Repressed?  Paralyzed?  Catatonic?  

Beats me, really.  By one, it was clear to me I wasn't going to go on a photo safari, so. . . I put on some shorts and went to sun by the pool.  It was the only thing I could think to do.  Fifteen minutes per side.  Then home to shower.  

* * *
I just wrote a loooong piece about a girl I saw yesterday.  It was an indictment.  Not of her.  Of me.  Then of you.  She was beautiful, of course, tall, not thin but well-built and strong, with a shock of blond hair that hung halfway down her back.  All of that.  And she wore the ubiquitous jeans shorts cut to show just the undersides of her glutes.  Still, this is so much the uniform at Country Club College that it is notable but not much to write about.  The coup de gras of it all was the knee-high white cowboy boots.  I had never in my sweet life ever seen anything like it.  I'm a visual junky, you know. . . Meisterstuck Mont Blanc pens, Leica M cameras, The Chrysler Building,  Herreschoff sloops. . . .  This was right there with them.  More so, in fact, due to the absolute rarity of the thing.  But the look you shoot me, the tone of your voice, the utter disgust and absolute indictment. . . . 

"Would you like it if I dressed like that?"

Whatever.  I should not even mention it.  Maybe it is a disease. . . but if it is, I've been afflicted since early consciousness.  It could possibly be genetic.  

* * *
As I say, though, I wasted the day.  I showered.  My cameras lay at the ready.  It was mid-afternoon.  I went to my mother's.  

* * *
Remember her?

My cousin had driven over from the coast to see my mother and my cousin from Ohio.  She brought the girl with her.  When I got to her house, my mother looked worn out.  The cousins were hauling garbage cans full of dead vegetation to the curb.  When they went inside, my mother said, "They cut all those down and now they will be complaining about doing it."  

It was true.  They would.  It made me laugh.  

When they came out and sat down, they asked me about a restaurant on the Boulevard.  They were going to go there for dinner.  They got dressed up in their best baggy tourist t-shirts with popular resort names in big letters across the front.  Did I want to come along?  Oh. . . no. . . no.  

Then the girl walked out of the house.  She is ten now, in the fourth grade.  She is very tall for her age, and I would never have recognized her.  She has a complicated life, a story that is too common among the poor and dysfunctional.  But she was sweet enough. . . for awhile.  As the time to go to the restaurant grew near, however, she became petulant.  She had a pimple, she said.  She didn't want to go, but she had no choice.  Mad, she went to sit in the car.  

"She got her first pimple," my cousin said.  "You know what's next."  

Girls are teens at ten now, I guess.  Tenteen.  

* * *
It was five when I left my mother's house.  I had opened a bottle of champagne when I got home from the pool.  Champagne in a coupe glass.  I loved someone who loved Sundays more than anyone I'd ever known, I think.  She'd rise and have her coffee, and then it was time for mimosas.  She loved brunch, too.  I was not a day drinker, but I learned.  The champagne and coupe glass reminded me of that.  But I was thinking now about a spicy skinny Margarita.  I decided to eat at the good Mexican place.  The restaurant was full, but I was able to squeeze in at the bar.  I sat next to a woman with long curly blonde hair.  She wore some kind of old canvas Air Force jacket and jeans.  Her back was toward me as she talked to what I assumed to be her husband.  Three large screen t.v.s above the bar were tuned to sports.  Across the bar, on the indoor/outdoor side, sat a very pretty but seemingly severe woman with her boyfriend.  I assumed.  I did not envy him.  As I ordered and the barman brought my drink, I felt the woman next to me turn.  I caught her shooting me a look.  Did I recognize her?  She was familiar, I thought, maybe someone I knew vaguely a long time ago.  She would have seen me as I passed her on my way to the bar.  When her husband got up, she turned to look at her phone.  I felt her glance my way a couple more times.  Who was she?  I had the feeling I should know her.  That's what happens when you live a long time in a small town.  

* * *

Back home, I read Joan Didion's "John Wayne: A Love Song" (link).  1965.  My god, kid. . . what a piece.  I didn't love Marion Morrison, aka, John Wayne, when I was growing up.  Several things, however, have changed my mind a bit.  Didion captures "the moment" and seals it in amber.  

I download the few images I had taken that day and worked them up, some of them.  I forget to turn on music.  It is dark, and the house is a mess of boxes and camera gear.  I am lazy to the point of uselessness.  I want some woman to write to me.  I remember the pleasure of writing long nightly emails.  A glass of whiskey, some music, and my fingers on the keyboards.  There are no emails anymore.  People don't want them.  Too many words.  Abbreviations and emojis now.  My phone pings.  I look.  

It doesn't matter.  I don't care so much as I did.  It is late.  The show I was watching ends.  I turn off the television and prepare for bed.  Champagne, tequila, and whiskey.  The day went that way.  Maybe I should eat a gummy.  No more harpies' voices, I think.  I want pleasant dreams.  

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