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Iím not sure. I think I broke the rules last night by staying up late reading. I donít know what time I got to sleep, and so I donít know how much sleep I got. It was a good book. I got sucked in. I can make up for it today by taking a nap at some point. Or, maybe reading counts as sleep. Counts as rest? So was that irresponsible, or was I being human? Most likely it was both. It is a rainy day today, a good day for napping anyway. Iím not good with the naps though.
There are no tigers here at the London airport or in Africa. This is what my daughter assures me in a text message that wakes me at some point in the morning. I can hear the beeping in my sleep, but it takes several cycles before I wake up enough to retrieve the message. She is on her way to Kenya, and we havenít yet sorted out the time difference. She is responding to my message about whether she has been eaten by a tiger yet. I fall asleep thinking about tigers, India, and the vast scrambled mess of Africa.
The Crone has given me an assignment today, to apply for a job at the bookstore in lieu of my job at the video store. This is falling somewhere in the same category as making an offer on the condo, an unresolved idea. Yes, I agreed to do it. Yes I trust The Crone, but does she understand all the issues? I think she understands the pros and cons on the condo thing better than the change of jobs, yet she had made no recommendation on that, electing to move me in this way instead. Does she understand Iím afraid?
They were blowing the maple seeds from the lawn next door with great gasoline blowers, blowing them into a pile, raking them into a large bag to be tossed into the back of a truck and hauled away. The only lawn on the street devoid of maple seeds.
Susan looked at Matthew in disbelief. ďWhat kind of statement are they trying to make?Ē she asked.
ďA socio-economic one?Ē I guessed.
ďBut the gasoline aloneÖĒ
ďAnd theyíre just seeds. They just sorta get picked up by the mower anyway.Ē
ďOr they sprout.Ē
ďAnd then they get picked up by the mower.Ē
I believe it was still cool this morning when I took Dallas out for his walk. I wore a jacket. And, it was early. Iím sleepy now, and Iím going to want a nap later on. A young woman came out of the next building at the same time that Dallas and I were leaving. She asked if she could pet Dallas. She knew how. She got down with him and scrubbed on him and thumped his sides filling the air with loose flying hair. He wanted to get in her car when she left. It would be that easy.
I really have too much to do today. I should be cutting back and planning a rest cycle before it all comes to a bad end. If I do the pruning and planning myself early on, then I get to choose what is left in the day, and what gets ďsavedĒ for another day. And best of all, I get to end the day in a pleasant way. I get to bring it to a smooth and comfortable stop, properly parked, and ready for another day, and not dangling from a tree or bridge abutment by a broken shock absorber.
I bought Junior a bag of bagels and cream cheese today. He likes that and never seems to be able to figure out how to do it himself. I just have to not eat it myself because I gain weight when I eat bagels. But then, I have been losing consistently for a while now. It is like sleeping. Iíve been going to sleep earlier. I donít know why. Maybe it is the dog. I will blame it on the dog. I blamed the jelly drips on the carpet on the dog the other day. That worked out very well.
I read that Bo Diddly died, and that Ted Kennedy may soon. I have friends in both situations and I wonder as they face this transition, whether a continuing awareness waits for them or whether it is different one, or a thing so different that the word awareness has no meaning. It is not what they face we fear so much as what we ourselves face, both our own uncertainties and a world without them.
I know that I, as a human being, have difficult stepping cleanly into a new vision from an old one. Iím not alone in that.
Itís nearly noon. I have a problem and a moment of panic. The things I have not done are beginning to pile up like dirt shoved before a front loader, and I am already coming to a position of having to choose things to dump and things to keep. What happened? What happened to the day before noon?
Truthfully, I spent some of it writing, and thatís why I donít have as much writing time as I wanted: I was writing. It doesnít seem fair. I ought to be able to take time to write whenever I want without penalty.
Amanda is back from Kenya. I had to return Dallas. The Dog. No, give him some dignity. Dallas. Just Dallas. There is a large swatch of hair in the back seat where he sat patiently as I drove him the forty miles home. I havenít gotten my car cleaned yet, no. I did run the vacuum in the apartment, emptying it twice as I did so. Dallas sheds a lot. Even more than I do.
The question is whether I miss Dallas. The answer is I donít know. I am frequently aware he is not here. Would that mean anything?
I think it is warm today. It is 90 and sunny. I was out for a while and while walking there were times I felt cool, and times when coming out from some shady area that the sun felt good on my back. So I am not at all sure. I think I am becoming more sure about things in general, and even some things in specific. I am beginning to pick up pieces of that clarity that I have been so frantically seeking. I wanted to say desperately seeking, but that phrase has been spoiled for a while now.
The locust blossoms have turned to cottonwood seed, the way they do every year in this town. I suppose it must be this town, because while I have seen the one or the other now and again, Iíve not seen the combination of both, as if one were merely cocoon for the other, the way I have in this town, no matter where I live in it. There must be places near here though, away from the tall trees where the blossoms donít fall, where the seeds donít flow. Maybe downtown, or some sun-baked subdivision. Iíve just never paid attention.
The hail woke me this morning, banging on the windows. I lay there wondering if it was going to break the glass. And then I went back to sleep. It wasnít until after I got up, after I did the treadmill and showered and left the building to go buy some eggs for breakfast that I realized how bad the storm had been. Large limbs were torn from trees nearby. As I passed the retaining pond, I saw two mature willows had been ripped off at the kneecaps, and a twelve-foot Scotch Pine had obviously been blowing around like tumbleweed.
Driving by the cemetery I saw two large trees, tall thin old men, torn out of the hillside, root balls dangling. Forty yards or maybe more. I got to the store, and the power was out. I asked the greeter if we had had a tornado last night. She said she thought they were calling it high winds. All the freezer cases were covered with plastic. I wanted cream for the eggs. The boxes were soft and had strange bulges in them. I was thinking we have a lot more of this to come. I was wondering if they know.
Tom and Heather spent the weekend. The dragonfly returns to the chair on my balcony to peer in at me. Tom and Heather slept on the floor in the living room. The dragonfly may be a god who has come to see if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. But then, why would not Tom and Heather be gods come to see what I was doing? Why would I ascribe god to an insect and not to my own children? It is that much easier for us to see divinity in a bug than in ourselves.
I can hear the roar of the chainsaws this morning. They are cleaning up from the three days of storm. I remember how I used to scavenge wood with the chainsaw, the bow saw, and the axe for the fireplace for the house on Christine. There were always so many fallen and dying trees on Christine to cull out. Eventually though, I converted the fireplace to gas. I drove so far to work, and worked so late, that by the time I got home and got the wood split and the fire started; it was time to go to bed.
More flooding down the Mississippi as the levees fail one after the other like a rank of dominoes. ďThis wasnít supposed to happen,Ē reports one man. I am sorry for the people who are facing these terrible floods. It seems that every news report we read any more has more of this kind of stuff. We are facing significant global climate change, and it is accelerating. Sandbags, dams, levee's, and the like are the kind of temporary thinking that got us here, and they are making matters worse. Our thinking on a large number of issues needs a significant change.
I think my son has moved out. I asked him if he had, and he denied it, but he could be just saying that to mark his spot, to have a backup. I think this for several reasons. I used to see him several times a day. Now I see him several times a week. He used to sleep here six nights a week on average. He hasnít slept here in over two weeks. I know his girlfriend has an apartment. I heard she bought him some food. He always complained that there was never any food at my place.
As I was out walking today, going to the bank and the grocery, the patterns of shade, the close-cropped grass and weeds, and perhaps even a curve of sunlight on a piece of cement momentarily tricked my mind into a memory of a very young boy in Ohio, walking down the sidewalk; Walnut Street. It might also have been the shorts I was wearing and the feel of the sun on my thighs. I was thinking that over the years there would be very little the same now, even on Walnut Street, where even then there were no walnut trees.
The slats in the vertical blinds are sleepy. Hanging there, they can each feel the full weight of their seven-foot length, and they try to hide behind one another from the morning sun. It is always too bright. The breeze feels good against their raw sides. The birds singing seem incongruous, too much way too early. The slats slump, dropping firmly into their hooks. Less and less aware of the patches of light, of the sounds of the street, they are one by one falling into a dark dream. They are dancing. They are marching. They are a red fan.
I made a mistake at the video store last night. I essentially gave away four movies. By the time I got home, walking in the dark, I figured out how it had happened, how the computerís apparent malfunction was really a correct calculation, and how my nineteen-dollar credit was a straight-up mistake. I felt bad about it. The customers, a young couple, loved it. They had sixty dollars worth of stuff and wound up paying thirty-nine for it. No sense in worrying about it now. If they ask about it, Iíll just say I fucked up. After all, I did.
Son appears to be stuck at work without food again. He will call when he gets a break and I will run something over to him. I initially wonder how this happened, but after some thought, I remember being nineteen and hungry myself. I often still find myself in that situation only because employers have become confused (?) with new work rules as to how to treat their employees, whether to give them lunch breaks or breaks at all any more. Employees are equally confused as to whether to rest or eat or whether these are positive things at all.
My calendar says it is time for an annual visit to my doctor. It has been saying that for three months now. This is the appointment for the general practitioner. This is the one I generally avoid. I think Iíve been avoiding it for about three years now. Iím not sure it has any value. He doesnít really seem to do anything. He doesnít even seem to be very interested in me. The blood tests have value I suppose, but blood tests are another problem. I think I still have the last set of blood draw orders he gave me.
I may or may not have a busy day ahead of me. To be sure there are many things I could do, probably should do, have planned to do, and even want to do. However, at some point any day seems to take its own shape regardless of any plans I have and arrives at its own destination. This can be due to outside forces, such as an unanticipated visitor, or a call from work, or it can happen when I just run out of energy and the plans, always too many anyway, just slide off onto a metaphoric floor.
Last night was book club night, so I drove to Ann Arbor with my copy of A Conspiracy of Idiots tucked under my arm. I got there early, so I ordered a decaf, which is one of the reasons I was up until three am this morning. The discussion was interesting. Amy brought in questions from some web site that was aimed in a literary fashion. Who in the book was rescuing whom, and what success were they having? What do you think of Ignatiousí virginal state and that possibly of his girl friend? Give examples from your own experience.
After Book Club, I went to visit my son Tom and his squeezle Heather. We went out for dinner at Applebyís. I wasnít very hungry because I had eaten at the cafť during the book club meet, but I ordered an orange glazed chicken bowl of slurry anyway and a Tangueray and Tonic. Heather, curious about the TNT, sipped it with predictable results. She is still at the sweet drink phase in life. So am I, come to think of it. I just make exceptions for gin when I am having an especially bad time of it. Question for discussion:
The food at Applebee's was disappointing. It frequently is. My bowl of orange crusty chicken was spicy for my taste. Fortunately the drinks were good. Tom ordered a strip steak, which he said didnít taste like steak. It didnít look like steak either, despite the grill marks stamped on it. Heather tasted it. She pronounced it rubbery, like a dogís squeaky toy. Prodding it produced no squeaks however. When the waitress asked how things were, Tom and Heather said everything was fine. I, of course corrected them, explaining about the dog squeaky toy which had been substituted for the steak.
After Applebeeís Tom, Heather, and I went to the Ann Arbor Blockbuster, because they wanted to buy a Blu-Ray copy of National Treasure II. They wanted some other things too, including to make out behind the 4 for $20 dollar rack while I watched The Robinsons on the Blu-Ray display. Tom had pointed out that the display was defective, that you could see trails behind movement of objects. I couldnít see them at first, but under his tutelage I made them out. Damn! And I was thinking about buying a Blu-Ray player! I could never live with such poor quality.
It would seem, that locked into our four dimensions as we are, we are hopelessly limited. If we are indeed to be recycled, one would hope for a being with fewer limitations in perception; maybe an ability to comprehend six or seven dimensions. But then, it is our peculiar limitations that allow us to understand the things we understand about life. If we were given more dimensions to explore, what would happen to the richness of this one? Does the passage of time suddenly cease to be fluid once you comprehend it in two dimensions? Does it blur in three?
Iím looking out at the cottonwood drifting like daytime fireflies across the glen, under the bush of the tall trees over the pool and the bikiniís and cutoffs. The eye always follows the ground to the left, down a shallow slope to the base of the trees. There is a small ravine there, part of the pond, and in the confusion of trees and water a large crane has made her nest. But the eye goes down, not up, down into the small groove of mud and broken limbs. You canít see it from here, but I know itís there.
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