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It was grey today, a little snow falling down. I was able to step outside to check my mail while wearing sandals. My feet did get a little wet but at least I didn't get any mail. The town I'm living in is also having it's winter festival; dogsled races, snow sculptures, purty things to buy. People are dressed in the highest regional fashions. Bright colors, mukluks, parkas, beards, jaunty and whimsical hats. I wore a baseball cap and my hair sticks out the sides like a grizzled crazy old man. At this time, I can't afford a hair cut.
Again, it's grey. Gray? Grey? There was little sun. I walked around my house. I tried to send an email to a bunch of people but it didn't work. My session logged out during my message. I guess I shouldn't take my time when I speak to my friends. I was trying to send pictures from a virtual tour of my town. A page of pictures that are just my everyday reality. A message of little importance, just a kind of hello. A million miles of wires, massive amounts of energy and circuitry, thought and advent have failed my intent.
An article written by an old man who knows he's right. No argument, little logic but written with emotion and experience. There can be little challenge to that. Let the old man think what he wants as the young engulf and pass his earned wisdom. Let him stick to his tried ideals when we are faced with new problems beyond his comprehension. There is little to say when one story runs into the next, when proving one point brings an old memory to witness and ends at a completely different point. It's enough that he cares but dismiss his means.
I put my clothes in the washer, the owner was taking dollars from the machine and stocking more quarters. His cell phone rang loudly with an distinct (to me unnamed) battle charge. He spoke loudly to a friend who he was going to meet and soon left. By this time, I had my washers poised for convenience but I needed quarters. Two bills changed but on the third, I jammed my dollar and had to forcibly pull it. The out-of-service light began to blink. I had enough but when someone else walked in, I just watched their reaction.
I did little today. I woke up with a hangover and threw off my sleeping schedule. I knew that when I got home from the bar, I listened to a couple albums. I must have also fell asleep on the couch watching Harry Potter because I woke up on the couch and Harry Potter was on the TV. I have a huge bruise on my hip that I must have got wrestling in the snow. I also remember introducing myself to a young woman who I've seen around. Her name is Jenny and she was wearing a "Fuck Censorship" shirt.
To me, a "Fuck Censorship" shirt doesn't really say much. There is the collision of the naughty word "fuck" with "censorship". I'm sure most people don't need to proudly and ironically exclaim that they are against censorship. I'm sure most are not against personal expression. I believe a "Fuck Censorship" shirt says a lot about the wearer. They must be a person aware of fucking, censorship and censorship's illogical sense. They must be a person who is not satisfied with things but with thoughts. And not just satisfied with thoughts but with the uninhibited flow of expressing those thoughts. Fuck.
I was travelling from the town I go to school in to the town I used to live. A very bumpy road. An old car with bad suspension. A windshield full of midwinter slush and debris. A departure that coincided with the sun being in my eyes the whole couple hours of travel. Debris refracting the glaring sun. I bent my elbow to drink some hot cider and at this moment, hit an unseen bump and spilled all over myself while at the same time, a truck decided to pass near a curve. Heavy concentration made me tired. Insight; weary.
This bar will never collect character. The latest franchise has moved in. Stained glass lights hang from the black corrugated ceiling. The means of control and regulation remain hidden. Workers wear uniforms, ask how you are doing, no really how, and then walk away to push a touchscreen. The bar surface is brushed copper and beautiful. Brings out the color in rum. On the walls, signs made to look old and charming. An unnumbered hockey jersey. The end of the night, every inch is scrubbed and made to look like every other franchise. Before they leave, workers remove their uniforms.
I'm always 'backstage'. The layers of the status set onion have been peeled. I hate to have any type of symbol or act that defines my different roles. I don't wear uniforms. I remove the logo's that are attached to everything. When I'm interacting, I have to remind myself that I have a physical self and that people look at my presentation. I don't think my mind coincides with my necessary presentation. Mabye the roles have been internalized. But I don't care if people see whatever is left because I'm not acting. I hope that they don't even notice me.
A dime. The clerk asks me if I need matches. I leave to walk other aisles. An attractive young woman who I don't have to excuse myself to get around but do. I've seen her around. An old joker grinding coffee. He looks at me and almost laughs. Later, he looked at what was in my cart. Two old friends talking near the condensed soups. A stocker on the phone, he mentions a bar I drink at. Two young sisters, one pushing, one sitting, both smiling and following their mother. Checkout. A dime. We joke on what we will buy.
He doesn't seem to like me and he doesn't seem to like his job. He is large behind the counter, his face hangs with chubbiness but his skin, although somewhat pale, is leathery. When I approach the counter, my view of him is cut off because of the reach-up cigarette case. I have to bend at the waist to order and then I stand up again while he makes change. I lean down and say thanks. He looks at me and there is nothing but a small scowl. I hate him as well. Waxed moustache and contempt for opportunity.
There's a dull glow on all the reflections. The floor, paneling and countertops. Walking around the house, the same scenery but a different view. I have a schedule but it doesn't change much. If I'm in a hurry, I'll turn the stove to a higher temperature. If I have to wake up early, I'll set the clock that I've made fast in a hope be punctual. When I wake to it, I calculate how fast it's set and how many "snoozes" I can allow. Usually three but on the final, I lie awake and just wait for it to ring.
The cars pass by and sometimes I look to see who's in them. I read the paper and sit in the sunlight of the front window. Children pass without noticing I'm looking. Snowmobilers cruise the sidewalks and at night, I hear the klaxon from the hospital. I noticed that my upstairs' roommates sometimes watch the same television shows that I do, only much louder. This winter has gotten to me. I'm waiting for the weather to warm although the sun has already started to shine. Nothing but stale air and little to talk about.
When I was younger, in the sixth grade, I approached the teacher's desk. I was handing in a late assignment. I remember how much room there was between the aisle, how large the room seemed, how long the walk seemed to take. I gave the teacher the assignment and he said to me, "Old Grose, always a day late and a dollar short". I don't remember the walk back to my desk. He told out class that we were special enough to be the only ones called "sweathogs". I learned, much later, that he gave this name to every class.
I thought her birthday was a couple days ago and I called her then. She told that about her internship and a waitressing job. Some days, she will work from 9am until 10pm. I thought this seemed like her because her workload was intense before she graduated. I don't know what else seems like her. I known her for so long. We talk, send occasional cards or emails and meet each other if near but I want to know more. The ideal of her is usually with me. I'm wearing her old college sweatshirt right now. Only sweatshirt I have.
In that sliver of light, he puts on his clothes. Dust and skin mix with the light as he pulls on his socks. It seems very late in the day but he is just now going through the rituals. Hunched over the bed, half dressed, he looks at the floor and sees days of clothes. Washed, dirty, filthy. He looks out and the streets are empty. The inertia of the town has escaped him and now, he will be entering into a foreign momentum. He dresses and makes plans for the day. What is left of it. The door creaks.
She writes before I have the time. She ends each letter with a goodbye in a foreign language. I guess she has traveled but she has only told me about her overseas apartment. I can't catch her details but I can feel her enthusiasm. She doesn't respond to my jokes but has that overt sense of encouragement and, "hey, why not tell me how things are when you get the chance". She told me that she was planning on visiting. I told her I lived far away. I'd told her that I would write infrequently. She responded the next day.
The snow that fell has slowed the city. People don't seem to be in a rush and if they are, they will be late. I'm walking leisurely. I'm looking at the city and it's beautiful. A clean coat of pure white on everything. The house have a permanence against a blurry snowfall and the motion of the people is slowed. The black coats of swaggering old men who usually blend in unnoticed are clear. The bright colors of children and wives radiate through the slowly falling snow. People have a simple subject to discuss and they talk with their personalities.
Keeping the ancient equipment running. In the cold, the engine barely turns. At it's peak, the circuits act too slowly. I can't complain. They still perform. Everything is not the cutting edge but who competes with their means. I remember my grandpa's farm equipment. In shambles, noisy, irregular. When he died, they auctioned everything off. There was a half inch of grease on the tractor's engine. He didn't know how to fix anything, couldn't pay anyone to so he just greased. Didn't even grease the right things but used a lot. They burnt his tool shed too. Thick black smoke.
This guy had a tattoo on his arm and it was a circle surrounded by rays. It could be seen as a sun but I looked closer and it was a circle surrounded by swimming sperm. An egg and sperm on his arm. "Yeah, conception, that's what it's all about." I've seen this guy around before. I saw him at the bookstore and he asked the lady if she had any essay's by Einstein. Good logic, smart guy, must write good stuff. He's got these wild unfocused eyes swimming behind thick glasses. Uses the word "pissed" as a compliment. Fucker.
3:00am, we are outside and talking about birds. Raptors. We talk and share stories of watching different types of hawks and how they killed things. We use our hands to describe the motions. We talk about different places to see them, he mentions different species that I don't know. We found some common ground. It's late, I'm drunk and I keeping smoking after he's put his out. My voice harsh. It's too late to act, to be anything but the raw self. The beer has stripped that, the laughs have eased me and any topic is fine to share.
We shared a little small talk. Plans for the weekend, the last time we've seen each other. We spoke in low tones, it was the end of the day. The bell affixed near the door jingled. We spoke until another couple entered. Their presence was boisterous. They spoke loudly and addressed everyone by their names. She sat down and looked straight ahead with a foolish grin. The man excused himself to get a beer. We spoke again, the same subject that we left off on. She was leaving soon, with her husband. "Anything is fun, if you see it live".
All the smiling faces. All the preconceived ideas. The stereotypes. The promise of lasting happiness but the delivery of diminished gratification. Every commercial shows a smiling face or shows the transformation from sad to happy that only this product can deliver. Children, animals, colors, peace personified. An emotional response. A comic ploy. A wise choice made only by the few. A confidence so great that they don't have to show the product. A sexy woman. A goal of having the best and newest. Of being content. Finally, you are acknowledged and accepted. Your loyalty is the price. You poor rube.
I heard water running. Then I heard water dripping. I looked there was a small drip in my bedroom. I got a bowl and placed it. I saw another drip so I set down another bowl. There was more drips starting to form and the original ones were getting faster. I moved quickly to save my books and papers. Water was hitting me on the back of the head and I could smell a musty odor. My feet were now wet and most of my bedroom was in the kitchen. I stood and watched the water run. It's slowed down.
The first one to make footprints in the new snow. The only one on the sidewalk watching out for few on the road. I walked on the road and could watch the snow fall instead of focusing on the crossing traffic. The birds flew in spite of it. They called out from the trees as I passed. I heard voices in the distance but I didn't see another person. I would look down the blocks as far as I could. Trees overhanging, not a person to see. Just the snow falling, embracing and forcing the town to into deep warmth.
We've got the same idea but no one wants to be here. Amusing ourselves on the mundane. Speaking of the obvious. Not even a hello from one man entering and just a quick nod from another. It's bright today. The temperature is below freezing but the sun is very warm. Icicles are forming but it's dark inside here. The machinery whirls. The traffic from outside creates an unsteady lull. Distractions everywhere. A woman brings a book, sits down but then rises almost instantly to check on her machines. There is a box offering free bibles. Paperbacks with a camouflage cover.
Everyone thinks that would like to be a dog every once in awhile but no on wants to be a dog all the time. Someone might think that it would be great to be a dog because you get fed, you get pet, you get walked, your bodily and satisfiable needs are taking care of but a dog can't think of what it would be like to be a person. A dog can't consider what it would be like to have an intelligence capable of learning new concepts, understanding relations and discovering the unknown. Well, at least my dog can't.
Wake up and find that everything is dirty. Dishes in the sink with an array of colors stuck to them. Dust and grit is felt underfoot. Grime clings to all flat surfaces. If the air wasn't so dry, a smell might be present. How long has this been going on? How long did it go unnoticed? Why has it built to this level? The mirror is even dirty but not as much as the reflection in it. Not as dirty as what that reflection sees in itself. There's only one way to solve this. It starts with a fresh breath.
The Tip Jar