It’s like saying a word so many time it loses its meaning and for the first time since you were three you hear its sound unmasked by meaning, feel the vibration of your throat and the way the phonemes trip down your tongue to spill out into the air – I want to paint sunsets until they stop seeing an idea and look at the beauty.
I can’t cry and it worries me. I can’t stay in any one place for too long, and that too worries me.
Actually it worries me that it doesn’t worry me, but that’s not true either. Nothing worries me and I know that should worry me, but it doesn’t.
Should I be worried?
My mom is, I know that. She worries a lot about me. I know because she tells it to me often enough, whenever I get around to calling her.
If this were the stone age or the middle ages or any of those other ages I would be dead by now because I lack the self preservation instinct. But in the information age self preservation doesn’t seem so important. Not that I’m seeking death, but neither has death sought me, so I have no cause to think of preserving my life in case of an attack.
I’m a puppy and I know it.
You know how, when you have a new puppy, you’re always worried that it will fall down the steps, or go outside and get lost?
I know that’s me.
I know because I do things like that – not go outside and get lost per se, or fall down steps but put myself in needlessly dangerous positions or do something that, to an adult person, would be puzzling.
Take for example last week: I misread the schedule – and when I say misread the schedule this isn’t taking a quick glance at a schedule posted at work and then buggering and not seeing a small change, this is a good, hard sustained look at the schedule on the screen of my very own laptop – and missed a shift at work. Of course they called me, a lot actually, but I didn’t hear my phone because I wasn’t paying attention to the outside world – I had more important things to be doing like cleaning, reading and messing about on the internet.
Yes, they were pissed, but I managed to get by with a few words here and a few words there and my boss loves me because I’m a puppy dog and I look at her and crack a joke and she manages to smooth things over. Besides, other than a couple boneheaded mistakes like that one, I’m good at my job and I take it seriously.
Sure it was shaky for a while, but in the long run it worked out. In the long run it always works out so I’m not worried.
This latest bit, however, has me on edge. I mean metaphorically, or something. Not really metaphorically, well yeah that too obviously I’m not on any type of physical edge, but on edge at one remove, like I know my parents would probably be worried for me, and my dad’s usually pretty chill about letting us learn from our own mistakes.
So, I’m worried that it’s not really affecting me, but worried in a intellectual type way, in a way that’s not really affecting me but is just burrowed somewhere down in there, like Waldo: some guy that’ is conspicuously different from his surroundings yet is difficult to find.
It’s like it’s there and it’s not.
So rewind to about a week ago, right, no wait further than that. Like rewind a year, maybe two years. I don’t know when it started.
But I had this friend, really good friend, or at least I thought he was. I guess he probably started to act kinda strangely. I don’t know how, because I never noticed it, though I do remember a couple old friends commenting on how he was acting strangely, but they seemed to fade from our lives after a while; I don’t know why.
So he was acting strange I guess, doing things out of character or some such, but I didn’t notice. I guess this went on for years, it probably got worse. A couple months ago he scaled back his work schedule so much that it seemed he never worked at all. But, I mean, he always seemed to have money, and I knew he hated his job, so I was happy for him. He seemed really excited, always full of energy and positive thinking. All he ever wanted to do was go out, man. Just go out. Do anything.
And then he stopped calling.
I assumed he went to go see his parents or something. People do that all the time, right? I wasn’t so attached to him that he needed to tell me when he went on holidays. So, I thought nothing of it.
Then I got a call, from the hospital, to identify a body. His body.
And there it was on surgical steel. And they didn’t show me anything but his face and it looked bad. Like white and the skin sagging off and someone had shaved his head.
And I just nodded to them, signed some papers, and walked out.
Then this Friday, today, I was wondering what I should do, and I called him and got his voice mail, ‘Hi. Just leave a message and I’ll get back to you when I get back to you.’ Which was creepy after I woke up from whatever haze had clouded my brain and dredged up recent memories.
But, still no tears, and I know It’s sad and everything, and maybe I should be worried, or at least call and ask why it was that he died, but everything’s been getting foggy lately and it’s hard to keep track of these things.
Yesterday I came home with skim milk. I have no idea why, but I did. It’s like pearlescent water, gross.
So calling up the morgue, or his parents or whatever, I just always forget to do it. I’ve forgotten a lot of things recently, which I haven’t told my parents because they’d be worried about me. I forget to call the morgue doing business hours, or his parents during non-business hours.
And I haven’t cried, which doesn’t seem healthy either.
A movie is just an extended photograph, a record of a moments strung together to mimic life, but in its moments it fails to capture the grinding details. No matter how your eyes may trick you, the frames remain moments trapped in time, so that these illusions claim life to be just moments, in that movies have no way to capture work. Happiness is the all–enveloping moment, but work stretches into the future as far as you can see. Perhaps that’s why we like to smoke and drink coffee or beer, it compresses the world to a defined moment: the length of a cigarette or a good conversation. When you think no further ahead than three inches in front of your nose, work stops having meaning and sadness becomes temporary as you revel in the moment. The clock, however, does nothing but go in circles, making and marking no progress. The movie, like a cigarette and a drink, starts full, and slowly, with each drag or drink, winds its way to completion. Each drag is a scene, each gulp an act that encourages focus on the moment. Life winds in ways unknowable, and yes, we know the ending, but we don’t know the path it will take. We have all control and no control over the course of our lives when taking the long view. It can enrage or sadden us, this unwieldy thing, taken in a single bite, and that is where depression and rage creep in. A movie, contained as it is in moment and photographs, has no power to convey that.
We get mad at traffic cause our cars are static;
We thought planes would set us free from gravity;
and Steve Jobs told us computers are magic.
But there’s traffic jams and layovers and that fucking spinning ball
Because your magic’s just a way for you to get it all,
but life is strange and fey
and life gets in the way.
The city is an insomniac
bruxism and night terrors
(oh, the night terrors)
The city is an insomniac, snoring alarms and ambulance sirens, mumbling muted mating calls cough and sneezing drunk bums and dump trucks dumb luck and some numbnuts on the street yelling at his girlfriend how she meets new guys every week and the city is an insomniac cause I just can’t get the fuck to sleep.
All I hear are siren calls from bars and pool halls, circadian rhythms trapped in triangular twists of neon light and in the street we somnabulate as we somniliquize about that last drink and did you see her eyes (they were gorgeous) and every night a new treat and every night a new street new lights and new feats of strength and stupidity and it keeps calling me: I just can’t get the fuck to sleep.
This city is an insomniac and I love her for that, but she’s one hell of a bed mate.
It was the beginning of something that went sour, the initial hit before everything gets normal, then complicated and starts to fall apart, because it was me and you and her staring at the ocean and you’d both moved out and moved in and the future sat in front of us like that field of stars reflected in the lapping waves. It Began with those lame adventures you find yourself on when life seems to call for something a bit unusual so you through yourself out into this new thing to great it in it’s entirety, a walk that in six months becomes routine or something you would never consider doing as the distances contract with your familiarity and expand with their mystery and everything gets trodden under the day-to-day with the paper cuts building and the inertia setting in. But then it was new and we’d probably had a couple drinks after I helped both of you move in, so we walked to the ocean, not knowing the way there but knowing the direction so that we had to jump low walls and cross rail tracks before we picked our way down the rocks to stand by the Pacific and stare into it’s expanse and talk shit.
You buy your future with your past, transacting the exchange in the eternal present.
Everyone’s always about being on their grind, hustling: I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Me, I like Salvador Dali’s work ethic : ‘Give me two hours a day of activity, and I’ll take the other twenty-two in dreams.’
The sunset was the colour of her skin. Everything was the colour of her, but the sunset more so. The gulls, they danced freckles across her chest, backlit by the failing light. Soon, the sun would set and take her away from me to lands beyond the Pacific, just as she had done. It would dissolve the world, revealing only the cold stars, and even those would be different than she would see. But perhaps now, as my sun sank, hers would be rising,dragging the same miracle sky from the ocean depths of early morning sunrises that separates the blind night from the translucent day with a layer of cream.
I’d like to compare
the blue of your eyes
to the colour so fair
of clear summer skies
but the latter, hun,
is pantone 7461
and your eyes are closer to
pantone number 312
as a graphic designer…
It’s a different colour completely.