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I have a few minutes. I always have a few minutes. I will always have a few minutes until I donít anymore. Oh there it is again. I feel like I need to apologize. I dwell too much on mortality. Thatís what I think. This is not something new for me, not something that has come suddenly with the passage of time as I have matured. No, I have been this way since I was very young. It is an old friend, this obsession, for what else can we call old enemies after the passage of much time, if not friends?
I have a few minutes. I often start with a few minutes. Actually I have nearly as much time as I want. Well, within the confines of a lifetime, within the confines of an afternoon, within the confines of this afternoon. And given that I want to play the piano a bit and we are planning to see a movie, there is not much within those confines but a few minutes. The piano is negotiable of course. I am not completely sure why I play it. I play it because it pleases you. It pleases you because it pleases me.
Iím listening to Neil Youngís song, After The Gold Rush. This is the Michael Hedges performance. In any clothing it would remind me of Matthew and in this moment I think of Matthew. All that is left of Matthew now are the memories that others and I have of him. When these memories dissipate, Matthew will disappear. Perhaps during those long periods of time when none of us is holding him in our minds he does not exist. Do memories exist when you are not actively reviewing them in the present? They must exist in some form in our heads.
I have a few minutes. It is a day like any other. What is the other line I have been using here? I donít remember it just now. It seems there was another line. I will remember it though. I forget things. I remember things. I am not sure the distance between a thing forgotten and a thing remembered. I donít know what makes one thing forgotten and another thing remembered. Memory seems such a spotty thing anyway. It is as if even the things we remember are just quick summaries of the real things and bear little resemblance to them.
The large red square pillow rests up against the end table. I think it is an end table. Maybe more of a lamp stand but it still sees use as an end table. The red pillow is square, not square in the sense of a carpenterís square because it is soft. It is not a hard object like the end table. The end table is covered with square edges, hard square edges. It is one oblong square edge. Perhaps twelve square edges. Then too there is the possibility of subdividing each square edge and making an infinity of square edges.
I have until 3 oíclock. It was two-thirty and two, but those have come and gone without my achieving my expected results. My anxiety and phobia workbook says to beware of expected results. Perhaps it only implies this and I have an expectation of this warning. There was something else. It has slipped my mind. Oh I remember. I had thought maybe I had read this book before. However, if I had, I have forgotten. I have anxiety about forgetting. I do remember that. I also have anxieties about getting the verb tense wrong. I should read this book twice.
The remote jar rests on the coffee table. My daughter Amanda made the remote jar in her high school ceramics. It was a bowl, not intended for TV remotes, but remote jar is what it has become. The sun is shining, flowers shouting out to it after a deep rain last night. It is hot today. I will walk to my piano lesson in the sunshine. It will be very hot. It will be humid too. I hear voices on the deck next door. Thinking of the sun baking the deck boards reminds me of an apartment many years ago.
I sneak over here when I am not paying attention to anything. Now I throw out an anchor so I do not drift away. The wind is blowing outside. It is a brisk summer wind threatening to lift the deck umbrella away. I am suddenly sleepy. Perhaps this is because I have relaxed. This writing thing seems to relax me. I should do it more often. I would if I didnít sleep when I did it? That is, I would be writing were I not sleeping. You are looking out the window. Are you watching the birds at the feeder?
I pass by. Tomatoes are ripening on the vine. They develop black spots before they are ripe. I am thinking too much water. I am thinking the pot is too small for the plant. I believe I have read that the root system of a plant is roughly the same size of the plant above ground. That would give the tomato plant a big root ball. I pass by. It is evening and starting to cool. The fan is annoying. There is something about its sound. Perhaps I let it annoy me and there is nothing inherently annoying about it.
There are several games I could play on the computer. Today is Thursday. Perhaps there are a couple of games I could play. Actually there are probably thousands of games I could play. Games is what computer is all about. I could go out and download or play a game on-line. Of course I would have to learn how to play it first. I could go for something old and familiar like Pac Man or Space Invaders. I do not understand these new games. It seems to be much waiting for something to happen. The developers like to punish you.
I am leveled off a bit here now. The room seems to be cooling. I am supposed to be writing my 100 words entry here but I donít see how this can be it. It is not going in any particular direction. Of course I can make that work for me. Like the short series I did where I stopped by, typed in a couple of sentences and came back. I think I made that work. It is not like there is any voting or feedback on this stuff. I wonder who some of the other people are in this.
I used to know who some of the other people were in this site. I guess I still do. I read their stuff. Yes, I read your stuff sometimes. Heh. And all this time you thought you were safe, that no one was really reading any of this. Now what? What are we to do when just anyone can come in and read what we have written? Are people aware that this is possible? What are the implications. The doors have been left unlocked. We are all undone. We will be overrun by thousands of readers looking for free words.
Oh, what the heck. I will go read some of your stuff now. What do you mean you have a few minutes, Michael? Oh wait, that is me. Alright, here is the next one, an entry from July 1 of this year. Ha! Flow is beginning a week late and planning to write two entries a day to catch up. Didnít think youíd be caught out so early, eh? Yard Bird is writing a narrative. That is a bit different. Who is next? Staring. Itís another narrative I believe. Now Iím thinking about your use of the phrase "over analyzing."
Oh, what the heck. I will go read some of your stuff now. What do you mean you have a few minutes, Michael? Oh wait, that is me. Alright, here is the next one, an entry from July 1 of this year. Ha! Flow is beginning a week late and planning to write two entries a day to catch up. Didnít think youíd be caught out so early, eh? Yard Bird is writing a narrative. That is a bit different. Who is next? Staring. Itís another narrative I believe. Now Iím thinking about your use of the phrase over analyzingÖ
I went for a walk this morning. I didnít go past the railroad track right away. I did walk alongside it for a while. I walked down to Michigan Ave. where the Condos rise against the sky, where the Mugg and Boppís gas station and convenience store sits on the corner of Clinton. I walked down past there, not stopping in, passing up the opportunity for a lottery ticket or a donut. I walked all the way down to Grand River and then cut a path back toward home, turning in at West Street. Then I walked around the park.
We didnít win the Mega Millions lottery. What are the odds? The odds of my being struck by lightning are greater. The odds of my being struck by a bus or dying of cancer are greater. The odds of my being inexplicably elected president are greater. There are many scary events whose odds are greater than the odds of our winning the lottery, even for a smaller amount of money, say twenty or thirty million. I donít know why I bother to buy tickets. Itís not like winning the lottery will keep you from dying. It is something to do.
It is after 2 p.m. I should be starting on the piano by now. I should have crawled out of the shower by now. I havenít done either yet. We went to East Lansing this morning and that sort of threw my schedule off. But soon things will happen. I am starting to wake up a bit. I am actually writing here. That is a sign of life. It is also a generator of life. So it is a start to starting. My fingers hover over the touch pad between sentences and their proximity starts the cursor to quivering.
You are heating something in the microwave. I wonder what it is. Maybe it is something for the dog, although that doesnít make any sense. Most likely you are heating up another dose of cheese dip for the nacho chip crumbs. The microwave kicks off but you do not come back. So much for the cheese dip theory. It is too hot for coffee and you do not make tea that way. I suppose I could get up and investigate but that would require a certain amount of effort, an amount that I do not have as I sit here.
The plug that does not go anywhere. On the table, the table in the hall, is a plug that does not go anywhere. It is attached to a small, tall, flat lamp that sits on the table. The plug dangles down beneath the table and dips behind a leg. So I guess that technically it could be said to go somewhere even though it is not plugged in. Perhaps I should have titled this ďThe plug that is not plugged in.Ē That would have been more accurate. However, I like the feel of ďThe plug that does not go anywhere.Ē
Across the park sits a white pick-up truck. It is one of those crew-cab pick-ups that are so popular. It is for people who cannot decide whether they want a pick-up or a car. Or perhaps they are merely practical people who want both a pick-up and a car. With one of these vehicles you get the gas mileage of aówell of a tractor and the parking agility of a semi rig. I read that the pick-up truck is the most popular vehicle in America and that it has been for a long time. That makes me want one.
I have maybe fifteen minutes. That is a kind of artificial deadline. I had made up my mind at some point that I wanted to start practicing the piano at three today. There is little that is hard or fast about that. Perhaps I want to take a shower after the first half-hour of that. The phrase ďfirst half-hourĒ implies that there is more. Yes, there is. I practice for an hour every day. It is really a dumb amount of time to practice. It is enough to be disruptive for the daily schedule but not enough to make progress.
I should have taken a walk this morning while it was still cool outside. Now I tell myself it is too hot. I could have gotten up and gone for a walk in the cool of the morning. Could have, should have. There are those words again. I have been walking a bit more lately, but not the ten thousand steps a day I was doing last summer, not to mention the ten-mile bike trips I was taking the summer before that. My life is changing. I could affect that and maybe I will. Just not today. Not right now.
We brought the dog home today. It is not our dog. It is not even your dog, really, although I am a little unclear on this point. It is your daughterís dog. You went and got it. You actively rescued the dog and a good thing that was because the dog would be likely dead by now if you hadnít. It wasnít eating and by the second day it wasnít drinking either. Turns out it had Cuterebra. It is a little brain parasite that crawls around inside your skull. We saw the actual worm they took out of this dog.
The sun slides in and out of focus. The laptop keyboard slides away from me as I try to keep up with it, my fingers dancing for a moment on the wrong keys. Rhia ia hoq ir Hppwna. This is how it happens. My eyes lose focus while a large jay moves from one limb to another out the window, wings aflutter. Flutter is a word with that there onomatopoeia. Let spell checker chew on that for a while. Tomatoes are ripening on the vine. I am nearly as happy as a man trapped in a mortal body can get.
Iíve been eating M&Mís again. The peanut ones. How big was that bag you bought? Two pounds? Five pounds? They are so good. It is the perfect candy with just the right amount of chocolate and the right amount of crunch. They seem to be a good balance of protein and sugar too. It was like writing a 100 words entry, eating the M&Mís. Iíd walk by and grab a handful. Iíd walk by again and grab another handful. Pretty soon the bag was nearly empty. I think I will let you finish it off. Iím just not hungry now.
Itís happening again. It happens nearly every day. The sun is splashing down, the birds riding the crests of sunshine in small flocks to and away from the feeder. The dog presses his nose to the screen. He wants in. I am not sure why he wants in. There is nothing here. Oh I know. He wants to be closer to you. He gets all anxious when he is not close to you. But you put him out there. He was eating grass which means he will throw up soon. You did not want to clean up the doggie puke.
The squirrel appeared to be unafraid of you. You took some bird seed out and poured it onto the ground for it. I donít think I can get into a squirrelís head. It is too small for one thing. Likely the squirrel doesnít know that we once hunted squirrels for sport and for food. I certainly did when I was very young. The squirrel sits there looking at you, watching. We have stopped being the predator and have become a source of food. The wheel will most likely turn again. We will run out of food and start hunting squirrel.
I hear that Merissa and Aaron are living together in a pole barn. Dirt floor and no running water. I am not surprised. Well I am a bit surprised that Aaron had made it to close to 40 without pulling his shit together. But once I get past that the rest falls into place. I wonder if there is electricity in the pole barn. Perhaps they have a TV plugged in, sitting on a crate. Maybe they even have a refrigerator. No doubt they are in someoneís back yard so they can run into the house to use the toilet.
Iím in this little pool. My arms barely fit inside, the plastic inflated pastel tubes bending around me. It holds me in, breathless. I hear the fan humming like an oversized white noise machine. Why do they make such noisy fans? Why do we continue to use them? We could replace it with a less noisy fan. Thatís it. I will offer to buy you a replacement fan, a nice stand fan. You like those. And then we can throw the noisy one out. There is no way you would ever go for that. You could not stand the waste.
Iím listening to a Chesky sampler. It is a gorgeous recording of vapid music. Well it is so far. Maybe it will get better later on. Even vapid music is difficult to perform. I know. I try to play the piano. I am amazed at the ability of professionals to play long pieces error free. The amount of time they have to put in to do it must be amazing. Or perhaps they simply have a talent that I lack. I could put in more time, but I doubt that I would ever achieve anything near that level of ability.
The sun comes through the window and washes over my legs. I can feel the heat from it on my bare thigh. In a few months there will be snow out there and we will be running the furnace in here. Over time that furnace will wear out and we will need a new one. All things will wear out over time. My father would say, ďNothing lasts forever. Not you. Not me. Nothing.Ē Speaking of forever and infinity and big numbers, I checked my lottery ticket this morning. What are the odds now? Something like 250 million to one.
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