Sunday, March 24, 2024

The Melody a Cowboy Holds So Dear

I'm becoming a shut-in, I think. Rather than driving to the beach and photographing the famous German filmmaker, I stayed at home. Not just at home, but in the house. I didn't even take a walk. It wasn't until 4:30 that I left to go to my mother's. I didn't shower. I won't. I'm going nowhere. What, you might ask, do I do inside all day? Lately it has all been music and photos. I have been going through my MASSIVE archives and have become endlessly fascinated. I think the only things that are real are these photographs. They are as accurate as any memory you or I may have. They are not "literal" for sure, but neither are memories. I manipulate photographs consciously. Memory manipulations is. . . you know. . . we all do it. Defense mechanisms the shrinks call it. Good music and old photos and I am suddenly in a time warp. I don't mind, either. The hours pass unnoticed.

But tonight I had to drive to the liquor store just after dinner, just past sunset, and oh my goodness. . . there are things you just do not see from the windows of the house.  I love the world, really.  It is a marvelous place, worthy of pictures and of words.  

But I get ahead of myself.  I am writing tonight in case I don't tomorrow.  My plan is simple.  I will leave the house early in the morning, and begin my day.  In case I do, I will have this to post.  

How far back do I go?  Nothing really happened until I got home from mother's, so. . . . 

I went to the grocers.  I was going to eat a simple meal, Amy's Organic Macaroni with tuna and broccoli.  It is a go-to standard here.  But. . . the grocers had no Amy's Organic Macaroni.  I wish this blog had millions of readers so I could lambast this chain who has essentially run every other big chain grocery store out of town.  Oh, they used to be good.  Once they had monopolized the market, though, they became greedhead pig fuckers raising prices and narrowing selections.  It's all about the money.  

"You know I used to love her, but it's all over now" (link).  

I had to make on the spot decisions.  What would I cook for dinner.  I stood in the frozen food aisle for a very long time. . . thinking.  I had some mushrooms.  I had whole grain spaghetti noodles.  I had already put the broccoli in the cart.  A green pepper and a jalapeño and an onion.  Sautéed with the mushrooms.  But what else?  O.K.  Whole grain spaghetti noodles and garlic over a can of tuna topped with sautéed vegetables and. . . I got it!  I'd top it all with some shredded cheddar.  Kosher salt, pepper, red pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  

Too much prep, but kid. . . it was good.  

I needed beer.  Beer rather than harder stuff.  *F&^#S--the fuckers didn't have Dale's Pale Ale, either.  I bought a six of Funky Buddha IPA instead.  

Checkout.  The pig fuckers have gotten rid of most cashiers, too.  Self checkout by the score.  O.K.  Scanning isn't hard.  Put the jalapeño pepper on the scale.  Now find "jalapeño peppers" from the alphabetical menu.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope!  

"Hey. . . lady. . . . "

The half simple grocery store helper comes over.  We go through the menu together.  

I wish this blog had a million viewers.  

After dinner on the patio as the sun went down, some neighbors walking their dog waved.  

"Haven't seen you for awhile.  How are you doing?"

"Couldn't be better," I lied.  

"Great.  That's what we like to hear."

Yea, I know.  That's what people want to hear.  Nobody wants to hear your problems.  

It is later than usual by the time I clean the kitchen.  What to do?  I can watch the March Madness highlights on Max.  They whittle a full game down to ten or fifteen minutes, virtually every play but nothing else.  Why do I watch it?  I am not a fan any longer of college sports.  Kids no longer play for colleges.  They play for "athletic programs."  I am stunned at the brazenness of announcers saying this though I know I shouldn't be as both they and the kids are part of a billion dollar business.  It has nothing to do with college any longer.  Still, people wear the colors and cheer for the uniform.  I am not immune.  

Each morning and night, I text my old college roommate about the games.  We used to watch them all.  March Madness held a special place.  It was magical.  We loved hearing Billy Packer and Al McGuire argue about the games.  We, of course, admired McGuire who had quit coaching while he was on top and bought a motorcycle, let his hair grow, and toured the country like an Easy Rider Jim Bronson, a rebel at heart.  But we watched all sports together.  We played them and watched them and we talked and talked and talked.  And today, I realized that was the magic.  It wasn't the games or anything else.  It was the talking and talking and talking.  

I can't watch the games now, but I realize I could if. . . . 

We are older now and have gone our separate ways long ago.  He has something now that diminishes him, Parkinson's or Lewy Body. . . .  So I watch the games in fast forward and text him in between.  But I know I cannot sit here and watch a game alone tonight.  

There are the 8mm films I took of us in college and all the stills.  They are true.  Good God, we were beautiful in our youth.  

But of course, we all were.  

He and I played basketball every day.  Incessantly.  He was a lefty and had a sort of beautiful game.  That is what the fellows say.  Mine was not so beautiful.  I was more a workhorse, a battler and a garbage cleanup fellow.  He was six-four, I was five-ten.  We were like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid or Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick.  Minor league.  But we won or placed in tournament after tournament against elite players, NFL alumni and graduated NCAA b-ball players.  We were slow white guys, but we were smart and knew the game.  We beat teams that on a physical level we should never have beaten.  We walked like heroes.  

Much later, when we formed a band, we played in front of crowds in the thousands.  We had "something." 

Now, during March Madness. . . whatever.  

Sitting with the old photographs is much the same.  My god. . . my life has not been mundane.  I become, of course, conscious of all the mistakes I have made.  Too many.  But Christ. . . don't YOU judge me.  Look at your own life now.  

That is how I feel tonight.  

That picture on top is Paris in October.  It was rainy.  It was Fashion Week.  We stayed in a fabulous apartment on the Isle de la Cite just across the bridge from the Isle de St. Louis.  It was owned, I must admit, but a woman who did social arrangements for Donald Trump.  But it was pretty near perfect.  Per usual, there are very few photos of me on that trip.  When I look at the ones that do exist, however, I think it is probably a good thing.  A year after my accident, I didn't look so good.  Those pictures bear a great resemblance to Quasimodo.  Our apartment was only a block from the Cathedral de Notre Dame, so. . . you know. . . apropos?

I have written away the evening now and will go to watch those game recaps on Max.  Then it is off to bed.  I have this in case I get an early start.  If not, though. . . you don't mind reading two, right?

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