Sunday, June 9, 2024

Burma Days

It was marvelously hot yesterday like a Burma day.  That's what I tell myself.  You couldn't stand in the sun comfortably as it neared 100 degrees.  So I didn't.  I didn't go outside at all.  Rather I lingered after reading, writing, and drinking coffee.  I lingered into the noon hour and realizing I had no real need or desire to go into the world, having no plan whatsoever, I sat down at the computer and spent the rest of the day working on the surf series.  I am shocked at how long it takes to make a picture right even with most of my Photoshop actions automated.  How did I do the Lonesomeville series while working a job,  shooting and processing all the while?  It is incomprehensible to me now as it was yesterday while working on the scanned images one by one by one by one.  

At four, I paused.  It was the usual time for going to see my mother.  I stepped outside.  98 degrees with increasing humidity.  Nope.  I'd wait another hour.  Surely it would cool a bit.  

I thought of books and novels set in warm climates.  Orwell's "Burmese Days" came to mind.  Many novels by Lawrence Osborne.  I wanted a gin and tonic, just like those colonial Brits.  Or maybe a trip to the absinthe bar.  

I sat with my mother in the shaded heat, fan stirring the sticky air.  She is not doing so well since her fall.  She doesn't hear.  Her voice is weak.  Her body aches.  It is a terrible thing to helplessly watch.  She's living in a new place now, here but not here.  I get angry, but my anger is futile.  It seems a slow, inevitable march.  She has many doctor's appointments upcoming.  

"But all your blood work came back good," I say.  She nods.  She won't die, she says, because she doesn't want to leave me alone.  She feels a need to take care of me.  

When I leave my mother's house it is late in the day, but there is still much daylight left.  I don't have it in me to go sit in a bar and drink expensive absinthe drinks.  I stop at the grocery store on my way home.  I unpack the car and make a Campari and gin.  The addition of gin is dangerous, but these are Burma Days.  I sit outside with the cat.  She is hot.  I have never seen her breathe with her mouth open before.  She is panting.  Poor kitty.  Summer will be long, hot, wet, and buggy.  She must dig into the dirt somewhere to find whatever relief she can.  The Do Gooders have done this to her with their catch, spay, and release mentality.  She has become wary even of me again.  She runs at my slightest movements.  She is a wild animal, that is certain.  

But I am sitting in the shade and a late afternoon breeze is stirring.  I smoke a cheroot and sip my Campari and gin from a viciously sweating glass that drops water over my newly painted deck.  I still have part of the outside wall to paint and have not returned the wrought iron table with it's big glass top, nor the smaller side table versions, nor the wrought iron chairs, nor the planters and pots.  I sit in the shade facing the house looking across the blank deck when the phone pings.  I sit the sweating glass on the deck thinking that I need a coaster.  It is Tennessee.  He wants to know what I ordered at the Japanese sushi place the night before.  I inform him, but a few minutes later he tells me there is a two hour wait.  

"It's that kind of town now," I write.  "You can't get in anywhere good without a reservation.  That's what I go so early.  Blue Hair Special."

It is a hassle to go anywhere now.  The hoi-polloi all have money.  They are like Faulkner's Snopes family, rising up from nothing to become business owners, buying and selling land and real estate, running for local and state offices,  replacing the old aristocracy.  There is a maddening sameness to them as they gather in the newest hotspots, and there is something else, too.  Their numbers swell like a maddening horde.  

So. . . drink done, cheroot smoked, I go inside to make a simple dinner of brown rice, beans and lentils, and teriyaki tofu with sautéed garlic and wilted spinach. A simple, delicious bowl.  

I turn on the television.  I watch a silly YouTube show as I do sometimes with meals.  It is pretty and decorative and ridiculous but calming.  You can watch it, too.  Don't read, though.  Unless you are as forgiving as I, it will make you crazy.  Maybe you will want to turn down the sound and put on your own soft music, too.  

This is a silly secret.  I am revealing my soft underbelly.  Don't judge me.   

After dinner, I clean the kitchen and pour a drink.  It is getting dark now.  I was going to work on more of the surf series, but my former secretary wrote to me that she was thinking of me.  She was watching "Baby Reindeer."  I had seen the preview for the show and thought, "fuck, no!"  But the show has gotten a lot of press, so I thought I might try it.  

It was worse than I thought.  Why, I wrote my old secretary, did that make you think of me?!?

Maybe, though, it is because I have had stalkers in my life.  Many.  I've had to call the police on two of them and have been able to just patiently wait out the rest.  There have been home invasions and the trashing of girlfriend's cars.  There have been very public lies told in the places I used to frequent by the crazy grandchild of one of the city's wealthy matrons.  An ex-girlfriend continued to interfere in my life with my hacked emails, and another told my friend she has put voodoo curses on me.  

O.K.  Still. . . I can't watch the show.  If you do and like it better than my Nidones YouTube channel. . . well. . . good for you.  I'll stick with the silly Euro-Japanese decorative thing.  

Darkness comes late to an early night.  My curse is that I know how to be alone.  I was an only child in a rural farmland, then in a wicked southern cracker neighborhood where I enjoyed books more than people.  I've travelled alone, hiked alone for weeks at a time, sailed alone sleeping in coves at anchor with a lantern, a bottle, and a book.  I'd rather be in love, of course, but at what cost?  Not so many people I've met can stand solitude let alone need it.  I've read too much, perhaps, for my own good, too many novels where the world is a universe of two.  But you read alone.  You write alone.  

And desire a world for two.  

As I say, it is my curse.  Most people I know have the other curse, the easier curse, I think, of needing noise. . . distraction from the interiority of silence.  They cannot be alone.  But, I think, in some ways, they are better fitted to the overcrowded environment of social engagement.  Walking, driving, they are lonesome and must look to their phones.  

And when nobody is there? 

Sunday.  It will be gloriously hot again today, hotter than yesterday, hotter than before.  It may surpass 100 degrees.  I will walk early this morning, camera in hand, through what will surely be mostly deserted streets.  This afternoon, perhaps, I'll drink a mimosa at a cafe then come home for a nap to escape the steamy heat, naked under the ceiling fan, belly pointed toward the heavens.  Decadent languor.  Dinner with mother.  An evening whiskey.  Perhaps some work on the photo files.  Soothing music.  

It will be rainy next week as we get the late spring monsoons.  They are not monsoons literally, but they are.  I will attend some social gatherings in the evenings, group things that are punctuation points, of sorts.  Burma days, Burma nights.  Campari and gin with soda and lime.  Absinthe at bedtime?  

There's an idea.  

1 comment:

  1. Do we really write alone? I suddenly wondered. Pondering the posts implications and assertions. Of which I agree with many.

    Back to writing …
    I’m not sure you can separate the experience from the artifact.


    The artifact should arrive with its sole/soul attempt at all times to be as much as the experience as possible.

    Tell me people who think like that don’t hear fucking voices.