The Unswung Bat

Saturday, September 09, 2006
 
Simultaneous

I probably owe you no explanation, stop hounding me! I thought I'd go back and forth from writing the part below and this, the blog-post proper, but that was a damn fool idea. I wrote until I was finished, and then came back up here, which I should've expected. Fortunately, no one was hurt as a result of my miscalculation, though I did have to fire several engineers. The bottom line is, I just don't need so many engineers, and when the fits hit the Sean they're the first to go.

One thing bears mentioning about today: Andra took me rock climbing and I was the first of us to try and finish a 5.8 route. Andra went after me and did it faster, and then Caedmon went last of all (last climb of the day) and scrambled all the way up like a pale and skinny spiderman. So, like spiderman. But I was there first, before it was cool. There were a couple other people watching, too, though I believe they were only resting their necks and arms after finishing a much, much harder 5.12b. For those of you who don't know, a 5.12b equates, approximately, to shooting yourself in the stomach.

Andra would love to climb every week. Two or three trips a year is fine for me, where climbing gyms and 5.x courses are concerned. There's no pressing need for either of those things, but those of you who've never climbed a rock should be embarrassed to call yourselves primates.

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A Delivery

Strike while the iron's hot, that's what they say. Of course, now everything's almost always cool, yes, come in, I can sign it. My hands are fine. In fact, I understand my writing is considered to be worth something. Thoughtful of you to ask.

That's a portrait of my first wife, isn't it? And a trite place for it, but what could I do? The plan, I think I remember, was to have a nail there for it and put it up anytime someone came along who would irritate me if they didn't see it, but I felt bad enough about taking it down that I never did, and now I think I'd fall and bang my head on the mantelpiece if I tried to do it myself. Do you happen to be much of a decorator? Yes, I can sign for it, don't you have a pen?

Junk. I'll get my own.

This is a very good pen. I've had it since I was 20. Or so. It was one expense I allowed myself during a very bad year. Have you been at your job long? I would've jumped at it, then. You read about people who've had twenty unrelated jobs in their lives, railroad conductors and loggers and schoolteachers and fruitpickers. Factotums. I couldn't imagine, and god it's terrifying. I would be out walking around at night, and get home and almost cry that I hadn't been sleeping, getting ready for the day, to do better and make accomplishments to hold onto later on.

I would be exhausted when I got home. Sometimes I would've run. Often the day would end in sitting, thoughtless and scared in an easy chair. The day drained like a departing flood until the last drop ran out and my parched sense of time had only the night to draw from. I'd still wander like that now and stay up late shaking and holding my head if I could manage.

You'd get so sick of thinking about the things, the jobs and businesses other people have and how they got them, it all seems so natural and sobering. You'd go stand in front of a mirror to get drunk.

Thank god I no longer feel the urge to see myself. There's not a mirror in this house and I'm more familiar with my first wife's face forty years ago than mine now.

God, I felt so trapped then. But my possibilities, the ones I owned, though restricted, were more then than they've been since. I was free in the night to be invisible and in a hurry, huffing down the sidewalk, free to run home to the apartment I could barely afford, with my horrible job that couldn't possibly be really mine but seemed to be the best I'd get. Or to turn around and run through an anonymous park through streetlights and past a cluster of mumbling junkies. Also free to scare a pizza delivery man carrying a box 'round the corner, with my stupid running. Or to buy more than I should, or work less, and worry about the bills. Free to run home to my first wife, who wasn't the one I had wanted. Or to pretend to myself that I hadn't dreamt about another woman, but also to pretend I was hers anyway, while my wife slept untouched.

And to run home and write. I couldn't stand to look in a mirror at any point after something had come into my head that I hadn't made up on my own, but'd been spoken to me by someone I'd made up, which was better. I hated to see my own face reflected until after it was all written down. And I'd run home like my baby would die if I slowed. Run while my throat got thick and scratchy, and fall through the front door and into a drink of water, thankfully refrigerated, from the least dirty measuring cup 'round the sink. Relish everything stupid in your life. I'd run at night, through a horrible job and a first wife -- I had no second -- a quorum of addicts and the alarmed look of a pizza man, and so much that scared me to death for some stupid reason. It isn't just what you do that matters, finally, but also how. I did it the way I did. Love everything. Yes, I said I'd sign it, give it to me already, if you want me to stop talking.

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See? Some better.



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