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Archive for June, 2008

 
|| June 28, 2008 || 3:03 am || Comments (0) ||

“I’ll make you a proper hat.”

or

It’s really a bison, not a buffalo.

or

Just today I said to myself, “Oh God, stop with the Idealism already.”

So for a couple of years there, I carried a nineteen-thirty-five buffalo nickel around in the lovely little Saturncar with me. I don’t exactly recall how I came across it, but it rode there in my console’s cup holder steadily, patiently. As I marked the miles upon miles driving the back roads of various red dirt towns, that nickel was one constant companion in the sea of chaos and instability that my job was wrapped up in.

(Thou shalt not end a sentence with a preposition. I do it all the time because it’s comforting, I guess: Ending a sentence with a preposition is like warm, hand-whipped-into-peaking-submission mashed potatoes on your grandmomma’s table. You know what I’m talking about. You have a secret passion for marring the language with your own internal dialect, don’t you?)

I know I talk about Luck here from time to time, but the truth is that I don’t much cotton to the overall notion of it, not really. Despite my best efforts to the contrary, I came to think of that nickel as My Lucky Nineteen-Thirty-Five Buffalo Nickel. Sometimes, waiting on an errant client, or running to my car in the middle of a long docket day, I’d pick it up, holding it between the middle finger and thumb of my right hand, thumb ringing its surface in measured and thoughtful loops.

When I roughly kissed that tractor –it’s in the archives, May of oh-five to be exact– just about everything made it out of that car. There were exactly three things, though, that did not:

+ a neatly-tied little circlet of pale blue ribbon strung through a dozen brightly-colored plastic beads –all heart-shaped– that Scout had given me a couple years earlier. She handed it to me while saying earnestly with her slight, elementary-schooler’s lisp, “This is for you to carry while I’m not with you, for luck. For you to remember me.” I looped it across my turn signal lever and there it remained….

+ my Peter Gabriel ceedee, So, which was in the player on impact. Kate Bush was helping him sing ‘Don’t Give Up’. I’ve yet to replace that album, I keep forgetting, and it pisses me off because it’s one of my very favorites. Like, ever.

+ My Lucky Nineteen-Thirty-Five Buffalo Nickel

Sometime last fall I came to possess the updated version of that nickel, where both the Indian head and buffalo are larger and slightly different. The year on it, ironically enough, was two-thousand and five. Seventy years past the first nickel, and also the year of my accident. I saved that nickel in the center of my door’s armrest, because the cupholders in the Magic Superior Stealth Vehicle are part of a collapsible, sliding mechanism and therefore not solid. Sometime just past the first of this year I was waiting in line at the bank and absent-mindedly picked up the coin, only with my left hand. In a sudden spate of melancholy, I remarked to myself that I was glad of this replacement, but that I sure did miss the original, the My Lucky Nineteen-Thirty-Five Buffalo Nickel.

Within two weeks I found myself in possession of another vintage buffalo nickel; would you care to guess the date it was struck? That’s right: Nineteen-hundred and thirty-five. I remember thinking (and slightly sardonically) that I wish I had a head’s up on which wishes were going to actually count, which ones would actually be weighted, so that I would better know how to dispense of them.

I digress. I was thankful for the nod from the universe. And I put that nickel with its updated cousin, right there in the driver’s-side armrest.

Now I have two nickels, two buffaloes, where I used to have only one. That feels as if it has some meaning, but damned if I can decipher it as yet. I’ve no doubt it will sledgehammer me on some random Tuesday afternoon, because those Tuesday afternoons are good for that sort of thing.

But meaning is meaning, All You Folk, and I’d be a fool not to suppose that is enough for now.

I hummed the chorus to Bon Iver’s Skinny Love for most of that time.

I did it. I got into my studio for six whole hours tonight. I aimed to straighten, to finish the last bit of the organizing I started so long ago, but there were things on my worktable just yelling-yelling-yelling to be paid their share of attention, to be picked through with hands gentle in pursuit but rough in the actual laying-on.

I picked up a ceramic and wire statuette I have been working on passively; I turned her over in my hands and looked at where she is thus far, willing her to give me a hint as to what she’d look like when complete. She does not sing, though: She whispers, a low one that I have to be particularly still to hear. Even then I miss parts of what she is saying. The only thing I know for sure about her is her name (that came tonight) and the fact that she already looks nothing like the something I saw in my head months and months ago.

So there was this busted alarm clock, formerly my favorite. There was a map of Columbus, Georgia, with the Chattahootchie running down the left side, depicted as so many black wavy lines. There was creamy crimson butcher paper and a clay cross and an empty brass locket. A watch chain. A tiny slip of vintage paper. The photograph of an old woman, squinting into the sun, her grandchild perched beside her on the concrete of the porch. A chipped glass cabochon. A blue plastic medal, the Virgin Mother stretching her arms outward from it. A messy pearl earring that maybe hung from a delicate nineteen-forties earlobe. These things got my attention tonight. I was directed away from the other piece I am working on into a Whole Other Something Entirely.

Steps. Everything I do in that room back there –in my studio (and it is still hard to imagine that I finally have one of my own)– goes in painstaking steps. Like right now, waiting for all the appropriate pieces to dry so that I can fit the domed glass back into the clock’s frame and caulk it in there nice and snug. Only then can I lay out all the elements on the circle of map that will serve as the story’s backdrop. Then more glue, maybe some wire, and more wait. Then I can affix the finishing details, cover the back neatly and call it finished. This is the only time in my life I can be effortlessly patient, because I have the end result so clearly framed in my mind’s eye.

Even when the translation has yet to be made –as with the laydeh– I can be patient, because I know that once the barrier is broken, amazing things will occur and I will be soul-satisfied with what comes of it.

That’s something worth the wait, in case you didn’t know.

I ignored all the phones, I ignored the dog (who came to the door to bark at me in remprimand sometime after midnight), I drank a bottle of champagne that I toted out of my cousin’s high-falutin’ but no-holds-barred country club wedding last month. I stained my hands an amber color and decided that getting up to scrub your hands is for pussies and/or whiners and/or momma’s boys, but I did get up to pee whenever nature called. I had to have more room for the champers, yes?

So just half an hour ago, I checked my voice mail to hear The Prime Minister tell me that his daddy died. I don’t know what to do about that emotionally, not just yet. That man hosted me at his table, oh, I couldn’t tell you how many times. This was so that I would not starve during what may have been one of the most trying periods of my entire life. He always made out like it was because he thoroughly enjoyed my mealtime company. A man that fills your belly and stays mindful of your dignity is a remarkable man indeed.

And, let’s not forget that he raised up someone who would go on to be one of the best and most selfless friends I’ll ever know.

I don’t mind telling you that I am slightly wigged out at all the death that has flitted in and out of my life in the last couple-three years. That whole, “Who is next?” hand laying itself on the back of my neck is terribly unnerving. Or, at least, it will be when this week’s round of the Pro has worked its way out of my system and leaves me to be fully enmeshed again in the things I am feeling and thinking.

 
|| June 17, 2008 || 11:13 pm || Comments (1) ||

I am in love with wonderful things, mostly.

Okay, today I recalled that I’d forgotten how very much I like the band Pavement.

Today I pulled into the drive, leaned my head a little to the left, and saw the clothesline. Well, clotheslines, four of them to be exact, electric blue. They are strung taut between two white iron Ts and today as I gazed proudly at them, there were sheets calmly flapping there: “Hiiii! Good to see you!” I strung the lines last week, finally, after all these months years of being here. I did it elaborately, with an engineer’s clumsy precision….there were u-bolts and other needlessly complex shit involved as the sun beat down on my rebellious-haired head and I might have even pinched some skin with the needlenose pliers I was using because SOMEone had relieved me of the second set of plain ole, slipjoint plier pliers. But my cursing was only from the minute bit of pain and not from frustration at the offending, plier-moving party. And we have used the shit out of those clotheslines since, which is the best part.

Last Saturday found me in north Florida buying exquisite pottery from strange little women. I hadn’t planned that on Friday. Not really Saturday morning, either. At one point I was gnawing on a turkey sandwich, and then there I was on a swift little jaunt. Let me just tell you something: The whole of the great and awmightay Southerin region of yon United States has nothing on north Florida in the way of hillbillies, rednecks and just plain strange, squirrelly folk.

Please exclude (most) Navy bases from that estimation. Another animal entirely.

What do the previous two paragraphs have to do with my love of wonderful things? WELL, I can tell you that I am pretty stoked about a life that finds me in unexpected places doing unexpected things with people I’d not predict filling the ’sidekick’ roles. I remembered that today.

Today I got to say, “This has the potential to be slightly bogus.” With a straight face and everything.

Some of the side effects to my one-week-per-month medication are great, in that they are a bit tricksy and can be planted just as solidly in the ‘PROS’ column as the ‘CONS’ one. Who knew this Temporary Chemical Imbalance Thing could be so complex? Today I was mellow and proactive, who has ever heard of such!(and also ?)

At dinner we said this:

ME: I never would have figured it.

DINNER COMPANION ONE: Me either, but I guess it makes sense.

DINNER COMPANION ONE: Hey, what do you think his apartment smells like?

ME: *laughter*

DINNER COMPANION TWO: *startled, nervous look*

DINNER COMPANION ONE: Like the inside of a band-aid box and pork rinds, all mixed up.

ME: Nono: Like Uno Sex+ and green crayon!

DINNER COMPANION TWO: I need you guys to shut the fuck up now. I am trying to eat this food here.

DINNER COMPANION ONE: Like stale fuzzy navel drinks and vinyl shower curtains!

DINNER COMPANION TWO: I’m also aiming for what I’ve already put down my gullet to continue southward rather than eject itself violently.

DINNER COMPANION TWO: YOU ASSHOLES.

Today I was tempted –like no other time before or since– to pull my gum (in a long, slowwww string) from between my front teeth, wrapping it all beehived around my index finger. So I did just that. And blew some gigunda bubbles, none of which stuck to my face. Go me!

Just a few minutes ago, Chip Midnight and I did a Facebook volley on why Crocs Are To Be Avoided (my stance) and Crocs Are Good, Clean Family Fun (Chip, who is obviously insane). Please witness:

CHIP LOBS ONE OVER MY BOW

“All the Midnights, and I mean ALL the Midnights, are proud Croc wearers, myself included (brown, thank you very much).”

I SEND ONE STRAIGHT TOWARD CHIP’S HULL

“It’s okay, I tried to warn the world about crocheted ponchos, too….sadly, you can perhaps recall that they took root again a couple of years back despite my pleas to the contrary.

“And now, damnit, there are a mess of pictures from all those hillbilly parties that my friends (and nameless others) attended, clad in sparkle-yarn poncho and jeans and maybe those fucked-up Wallaby (sp, for god’s sake, sp??) ankle boots. You know the ones, suede-y and with four-inch-long shoelaces? Gross.

“Yeah. And they’re drinking shit beer. I don’t care what anyone says, sir, THAT MILLER LITE IS SHIT BEER. Unless, of course, you are broke(n) and it is free.

“You can _totally_ delete this comment if you need to. Both language and grammar are horrendous. I was traumatized (but only slightly, nothing serious) earlier in the day by some personal revelation. More onnat later.

“But them there Crocs? Even though I love your family’s sweet litte feets0rs, I say, ‘Nay, son, I canna get behind that decision.’ “

CHIP QUITS SHITTING AROUND AND BUSTS OUT THE BIG GUNS

He posted a picture of his (hideous and excessively brown) Crocs, along with those of his wife (the Made-of-Awesome Kate) and his three small daughters, who all seem to own two pair apiece. They must be souping those kids up with Benadryl, for I know that Abby and Olivia are far to rrrrrock to ever volunteer their future hot song-writing chick feets be installed in some Crocs. Piper is still a baby and therefore excluded from any decisions beyond having spaghetti or grilled cheese for lunch. She is gifted, though, and I expect that accountability will settle in at any time.

Chip, I don’t care if you have monstrously amazing taste in music, your footwear choices must be re-examined.

I somehow managed to let the season premiere of the ohsodelicious Weeds slip past me, and I rectified that situation tonight by using my embarassingly large cable package’s OnDemand feature to watch it. I was terrifically gratified by lines like, “But here we sit, two milks and a cappucino, being rousted by The Man” and “Hey, I get laid all the time and I shit like a Swiss train. You should be so lucky.” Of course you want to run to your television and make it start spitting out Weeds right this very now, beginning with the very first episode.

So that you may do that (or either toddle on down to the video store to rent seasons one and two on deeveedee), I’ll go on and wrap this up now by telling you that my son wrote a song for me. He spent a chunk of time today recording it and two others, and I dropped it into the computer’s player before I opened up this window to let you people know I’m still breathing. I am breathing deeply, so deeply and the oxygen is doing its trick.

+ that is, ejaculate brought about by self-pleasuring in an alone-type state

 
|| June 5, 2008 || 9:55 am || Comments (2) ||

the speck that blinds

Getting excited is not an abnormal thing for me. Being greeted with the unusual, that’s pretty par for the course, as well. Being knocked for a loop by the unexpected, that’s odd. Last night’s events left me –and those that know me best– startled and grim and exhausted. Dazed. I just jumped in to help without thinking much about it. Sometimes things don’t go according to fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants plan. (Dear Bob Larson, hahhhhdeehah!)

But I slept like a fucking baby afterwards.

This morning as I pounded away, the pain that has recently settled in above my left foot’s arch melted into something else altogether, the music in my earbuds became a far away and near-dead pulse and all I was aware of were two things: There were the complex reams of words that wanted to coalesce into something greater than me and there were the steady droplets of sweat trailing systematically down the fine hairs that had strayed from under my ballcap and become wild, only half-hugging my blissful and strained face.

After moving and moving and moving, what was to have been this post was whittled down to its essential core, which is this:

I am a strange mix of the sacred and profane that astounds me.

I work out partly for the sense of accomplishment the strain brings, partly for the ensuing pain that brings with it pride in exertions and partly for the clarity that remains after my efforts have burnt away the chaff.

UPDATE, 5:11p: Today’s horrorscrape reads, Find some way to work out your feelings today — it shouldn’t be all that hard, really! Whether you’re talking things over with a friend or running a few miles to sweat out the stress, you should feel great afterward. HA!

 
|| June 3, 2008 || 10:55 am || Comments (3) ||

and now here we are at one more summer

poker face*
:: poker face ::

Scout turned fifteen at the beginning of last month. Lemmy (center, above) and Christopher graduated at the end of it. My God….I swatted the behinds of those boys when they were in elementary school.

I called the first school Christopher applied to and recommended they give him the full vocal scholarship that he auditioned for. I did this with neither his knowledge nor consent. They gave it to him, so I called them back to thank the head of the music department, whom I’d spoken to previously. When I was told that my recommendation weighed greatly in the positive decision, I got a verbal pinky swear that he would never be told that I called in the first place.

Some blessings should only be blessings. Favors are many times laced with a compulsion for recompense.

Fuck that. I don’t want anyone to be obligated to me. That kid comes around and calls to say “I love you” because I feed him good chili and because I don’t pull any punches with him. I kiss him and scold him in equal measure, with the same intent for both: He knows I value him and his outcome.

I’ve been thinking a whole lot lately about how we can and do bless others just by being ourselves and doing things that we don’t really think much about otherwise. I want to do good in a way that’s as inherent as blinking. What harm I do I want to be purposeful, calculated and as nonexistent as possible.