The Unswung Bat

Sunday, September 10, 2006
 
Inconceivable!

Today certainly was a day. School tomorrow. Jiminy jilikers! I'm confirming, on a personal level, the notion I had going into university, that I wasn't going to get onto a particular career path, but for experience, you know, with things like breadth and depth, and also length, that would help me be better, possibly in some sort of way. It is three English courses for me, plus another half course for my Writology minor in the winter, and meantime jobs and internships or some funky "extern" program the U of T is running, which I believe is a money laundering/pointless slavery operation. U of T has over 175 years of experience with these sorts of things, so I'm sure their handling of it will just be awesome.

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Last Morning on Earth

Supposedly, Gray Ran was waking up at 6 a.m., making himself a tiny cup of coffee, taking time to do it just the way he likes it -- burning some cardamom pods and sprinkling in the ashes, breathing their black and acidic smell and licking them
off his fingertips -- and walking off of a bridge. He'd paced the route out, looked it up and down, thought about how long it would take, what song he'd sing to keep his jitters at bay, planned to do it early so he wouldn't have traffic or a screaming bystanders be the last things he heard.

He'd told no one. That, he reflected as he lay in bed that morning, had been a mistake. He should've told at least one person he knew, in a conspiratorial way. Make it sound like a joke, but with a pebble of weight to it, a half-second stare. That way he'd have something driving him -- if he tried to do it half-assed or gave up, that one other person would know, and think he was, deep down, chickenshit.

He did not tell anyone, and anyway, he thought, maybe that wasn't so bad. He had more flexibility with things if no one else knew. Only a little less bad than dithering on the precipice would be screwing something up from being too tired. He had a moment of terror at the thought of being struck, just after tipping over the brink, with the feeling of having forgotten something. That feeling that sometimes struck him 15 minutes out of the house, already in rush hour and with no time to go back, would be so much worse when there was no more time to go back, and never would be again. One plunging second of biting regret, no thanks, thought Gray Ran. Besides, who wants to die tired? Would he fall any faster with heavy eyelids, he mused.

What could you possibly forget? badgered a dogged faction of his consciousness, long as you remember yourself, the bridge, ground, and gravity are pretty much covered. A looser body of impulses, which liked to get on the nerves of this zealous first one, told it to shut up, and dug into his pillow.

Gray got out of bed at 1 p.m., less than thrilled, more than sulky, at living another day. Or half of it. He brushed his teeth a little viciously, channelling some of his spite into innocent gums. He thought, when I won't get out of bed to kill myself, something's really not working.

A woman had emailed him, a friend who thought she was still recovering her footing with him after a bad attempt at dating. It'd been two years ago, and she still thought he was all needles and pins over it.

Hey Gray, (he thought, she thought he thought it was cute)

Kirsten and Claude have been talking about going to see that new show, the one with Zivy Gavriel on piano, and i'm trying to actually make it happen. Come! I was thinking saturday night would probably be best, drinks at my house after. There anyone you want to bring? I hope I'm not barging in with this or anything, but it'll be fun! Anyway, it seems like ages since all of us have caught up. Hope everything's good in the meantime, I've been taking care of myself. Give me a call sometime.

Judy

Gray could formulate no response beyond pushing his laptop aside and turning on the TV. He did not want to have drinks at Judy's afterward. He did not want to bring a friend. He wanted to tilt off the lip of security, tumble into the space above the valley, watching the bridge vanish upward, into the city. It was too late for coffee. It's 2 p.m., thought Gray Ran, and I'm still very alive. In fact he was downright healthy, though too groggy to really notice it. Fuck.

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We all pick and choose. In the month following 11, 09, 2001, I was told hundreds of thousands of people died. About 100,000 of them died all at once, in an earthquake. I remember that peripherally. This happened to me, and I remember it because it put me in shock. About 17 stupid documentaries and sob-shows are on, upcoming, or have just wrapped up, to say nothing of the damned movies. I'm avoiding all of them (except for one very dry CBC one I sort of drifted into) and trying to figure out just what exactly to do on September 11. Last year it was flying Rome-Amsterdam-London, and that nearly ended, literally, in 4 catasrophes. No foolin', it was a jinxed trip. Maybe go for a walk in the park and start counting to 100,000. Lunch with dad tomorrow seems like a good plan too. And, of course, education!



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