Monday, September 26, 2011

waking up in Paris

Noises from the restaurant at the bottom of the courtyard came. The comforting sound of china being stacked. Pigeon sounds, the scratching of their claws on the rain gutters. Getting up would make the floor creak, and risk waking her. She was steaming under the heavy comforter, hair sprayed across her shoulders and twisted at her neck. Admiring, I pull hair from her forehead and stroke her ear.
I work first one leg then the other from under the blanket, heavy as sod. Standing and going to the window, eyed by pigeons that do not scare easily. Dressing in my only shorts I gingerly open the bedroom door, its latch loud as rockets in the stillness of the stone wall room’s dawn. I let myself out of the apartment thinking, “There is only this key, I must not be gone too long.”
I descend the spiral red patterned carpeted staircase that has an ancient creak I have come to really love.
The air is sticky with late summer; light traffic collects like leaves running down the curb at the first sign of rain. I cross, hearing the soft whir of the rolling billboard. A chandelier comes on in the window above me suffusing yellow light on the opulently adorned ceiling.
There are lovers sleeping among empty green bottles and twisted blankets. The vendors move wearily with giant rings of multicolored trinkets that pierce the morning with an oddly incongruous jingling. There are joggers silently moving under the trees. I cross carefully through them and looming there is the tower. I walk under her, unable to not look up. I cross the river under the watchful eyes of statues. The Trocadero resembles a ship made of stone. The fountain here is mute at this hour. Security guards in bright green jackets smoke and talk to street sweepers, radios crackling at their hips. I start to run, up the steps, down the steps. Last night there were a thousand people here. I drop and begin to do push-ups. Last night I saw a man rollerblade backwards down this very staircase. Amazed.
I am alone save the workers, who don’t seem to notice me. I’m unbelievably happy.


Synagogue in Marais

Graffiti is a part of city life. There are some who find graffiti to be a malignant and unattractive element, or one that connotes some unseen danger leaking up from under the fabric of the population.  Its true Graffiti often is a reaction to social or political pressures in a society,  and there is of course tagging which in its own way can become art.
There are those seeking to have voices about political injustice heard, and those looking to change minds, or get people to notice the beauty around them.
Then there are artists who seek to find an audience in a place where most are looking only back in time. 

Bernar Venet sculptures on display throughout Versailles
I have noticed that Paris tries to include new artist's work along side the historic works. At Versailles there are several new sculptures. The Pyramids at the Louvre are by I.M. Pei, a celebrated Modernist architect. There are many who find the contrast to be jarring or unsettling, but that I think is the point.
Imagine if the city never introduced new artists. Paris

There are artists here, creating work now. They are not buried in Pere Lachaise. And the best of that work is sometimes right there in plain site, in the form of graffiti.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Holy Shit no wonder! Or: How fucking Decadent was the Aristocracy of France?

Today we went to the original MTV Cribs house...on steroids. The Palace of Versailles defies explanation and clearly the king had a little trouble explaining himself and his place to the people of France, who dropped in on the king and queen in 1789 and evicted them. And can you blame them? Look at this...
Hall of Mirrors Palace of Versailles Photo Marissa Quimby

Dear P. Diddy,
Thanks so much for the invite to your party. Unfortunately I got invited to the absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.
Maybe next time,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Signs of Paris...

Occasionally you see a sign that makes you smile. Or that maybe doesn't make sense. Sometimes you wish people would obey a sign more often, like this one in Belltown posted here:
No carrying bi-fold doors.
apparently there's a lot of this going on, people carrying large white things
I like a good creatively modified sign like this one I've seen in several places this week.

But sometimes a sign makes no sense.
Or really makes sense, depending
on how you look at it.
What the hell does this one mean?
Don't have kids? Don't walk around with kids?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Old art

I like art. I go to the SAM all the time, especially when there are drinks, or models (OK, one in particular) there. So today we went to some museums. Its late here, so I will make this short
Rodin Sculpture Garden Photos: Chris Eager

Here are a few thousand words.
They forbid photos at the Museum D'Orsay
so you know Marissa only took one or two there.
The Thinker. Rodin Museum Gardens

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dinner in Paris

My three euro Bordeaux of the day...

The apartment has a small kitchen. A galley really. Dinner begins in the street. I stop for wine in tiny groceries, mom has found some beautiful avocados and butter lettuce while shopping in Les Puces. There are of course bagettes. Just around the corner is an artisan butcher and the pates are incredible (and the variety of them is piling up in the fridge) Oh, and fantastic many cheeses. We choose our wines by price, staying under 5 euros. I drizzle oil and balsamic on the lettuce and slice apples. Corks come out. We talk about all we have seen today, then watch a show of Marissa's talented shots of the day.
Left to right: Au Poivre, Chicken Orang' and Jambon Pistachio

Friday, September 2, 2011

An Evening of Awe and wonder

There is a humming. For most of the short walk we have been looking up. Tourists look up and we are tourists. Marissa reminds me to slow my walk and I do. Glimpses through windows reveal ceilings of moldings, some elegantly filigreed with chipping paint. Chandeliers. The Eiffel Tower gives off a tallow candle light, dominating and hiding in equal measure.
The humming grows and as we turn the corner there are people: reclining and walking, standing, kissing. Sprawled out on the grass in the cool night, drinking from bottles of wine, passing cameras and food to one another. Laughing at the moment the tower begins to sparkle, a mirthful cheer rising in the charged air.

It is our first night in Paris.  
The Eiffel Tower, 3:36pm Seattle Time...12:36am Paris
Photo: Marissa Quimby

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Belltowner afield: New Amsterdam aka NYC

Sometimes the best way to get to know your own space is to get out of it. I've been in New York for the past few days and what I have seen and experienced here puts a whole new frame around Belltown for me. How is New York somehow quieter than Belltown? What this place needs is a Tia Lou's. But then again I keep seeing signs stating that it is illegal to honk. Really. There's a big fine. I'm sure mayor McGinn would agree that keeping people from honking is a clear violation of civil rights. I don't know about you but I don't know if I want to live under such oppression and cruel suppression of my liberties: Imagine living in a place where you can't honk in neighborhoods where people live and sleep? Seattle: have you heard that many of the coffee shops here ban laptop use? How is one supposed to sit and crank out thousands of pages of emo blog text if he can't look up once in a while and see others also pouring their souls out like so much silt from a french press? Unheard of. And a blatant disregard for the rules, far as I am concerned. I would go to a coffee shop to write one thousand words on the subject, but alas! And subways. How come no one wants my money here. In three days I have been asked for money in -count 'em- ONE time. People here must make a lot of money, bums included because I can't walk to Bedlam without someone wanting a dollar back in Belltown. What's with bags and bags of garbage on the sidewalks here? And the quiet organized way in which that garbage gets collected. Weird and a little smelly. Don't you have any alleys? No wonder there's no crackheads, where would they stand and rant? Great food this trip, had an incredible spread of dim sum yesterday for $16 dollars, just about half the price of a rolex. Seattle has a fairly decent skyline, I have to say. The other afternoon we walked down to the water to see the skyline and it was stunning. Our 520 bridge is a little underwhelming when compared to--well just about anything, but this place has some great bridges. Lets get on that. Anyway, The skyline here is broad and dense, but Seattle has the hills, and it makes our buildings look enormously tall. Sort of like being the only guy in class doing downward dog. Awesome. Ok, I'm going to Paris now.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Coach begins “urban camping” class in Belltown, sparks an exercise revolution.

The summer always gets people into the mood to get fit and go outside. Even now that Global Warming has done away with what our forefathers thought of as “summer” the innate desire lingers. Each year, Personal Trainer Jason Squatenhold sees enrollment in his outdoor “boot camp” classes soar early in May in anticipation of the legendary sun’s appearance and this year was no different. Except this year, Mr. Squatenhold had an idea that he says is catching on throughout the country now.

Urban Camp

Jason describes how the idea of “Urban Camp” came to him.
“The ideal of beauty in our society is to be tan and ripped, everyone is trying to get to that place where they look like they spend a lot of time outdoors. Staying thin is very important to the style conscious. I hold my boot camp classes in area parks. In Seattle the homeless are encouraged to occupy the parks as well as streets in front of Nordstrom. What I was seeing was that my clients were all chunky and pale, even more so in comparison to the homeless men leering at them. That’s when I came up with Urban Camping.
The Seattle motif is to be at one with the outdoors, recycling and roughing it, and no one does it quite like the homeless. They literally never go indoors. Harnessing this, Mr. Squatenhold’s clients go through the motions of typical homeless activities.
Client Marsha Mellow says she can feel her core burn when she does the “cigarette butt bends” a move where the class simulates picking up used cigarettes from the ground. Jason makes the class do hundreds of this exercise in a class.
Other exercises include “Spinning in a circle shouting at the sky” a move Coach Squatenhold says is a great way to prevent chin muscles from sagging and an excellent method for getting that sun kissed glow on your face.
"There are no lockers here, in the first class I send every one of my students back to their cars to collect the contents of their trunks, they have to carry everything, including the spare, the duration of the class.”
Naturally you can find a Groupon for “Urban Camp” classes so you can try it out yourself, but the savings don’t end there. “Thursday a German tourist gave me $5 out of nowhere,” stated die-hard Urban Camper Dave Flanders.

City Council to approve several initiatives aimed at helping Belltown homeless.

New data shows that Seattle's single family recycling rate is over 70%, Mayor McGinn now wants bars and restaurants to help the homeless help themselves by introducing a double header "Recycling Initiative"
In a move similar to the aggressive pro-panhandling support Mayor McGinn handed out to the homeless and Children International last Spring, the proposed "Trickle Down Recycling" bill has local restaurants, bars and fishmongers throwing more than fish. Part one of the new law would require Pike Place Market businesses use only Real Change newspapers to wrap fish, meat and poultry. No word as to if fruit vendors or hippies selling pottery would be subject to this legislation. Citing the weird guilt and awkward conversation one must have when refusing to buy the paper and his disappointment with his agent at not being cast in one of the explosion of shows like Deadliest Catch and Swords: Life on the Line that have decimated the number of actual fishermen willing to work at Pike Place. "Can we just buy a pile of them and then have the guy go away? asked Noord Jergensonsonson, "You know, its bad enough that I'm not on a fishing show, and now this?"
Bartenders have similar issues with the new initiative. Part two of the law requires that cans and bottles be separate. "If we can help the homeless by separating the cans from the bottles, they will no longer tear open every bag in the alley looking for cans," said Council member Jean Godden, " This will promote cleaner alleyways. A Belltown man who calls himself Cigs was urinating and smoking from an old bic pen between two recycle bins early Sunday morning when this reporter found him. I asked him what he thought of the new law. "Man, can you give me some spare change?"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Signs things are looking up

second and bell

I think this is probably the work of the talented group of designers and artists that frequent Bedlam. Lately I have been seeing a lot of "signs" not specifically authorized but certainly welcomed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Black Plastic Bags

Did you know its illegal to drink on the street? Me either. At the risk of being banned from my favorite pizza bar and music venue I need to get something off my chest. I have, after all these years made a bad decision because of crack dealers. I have tried to drink on the street.

I’ve always surrendered my cup as I departed the bar for the next bar, usually because I was finished, and the door man presumably was in charge of keeping the glassware from walking out the door. But it was a plastic cup, full of Bulleit Rye. And the band was finished. And you can do meth at any KC metro bus stop. Plus no place I know adheres to that whole 25 feet from the door smoking thing, it's too cold for that to work.

And most obviously, all the crack dealers on my street drink on the sidewalks all day. I think the bike cops put the discarded tall boy cans in the their spokes so they can sound like motorcycles. It can’t be illegal. So maybe what I needed that night that the bouncer pulled the cups from my friend’s and my hand was a black plastic bag.

Black plastic bags. Beautifying our sidewalks, in the hands of all the cool guys on the corner. These bags are as much a part of the uniform of crack dealers as heavy quilted jackets.

It's important to point out that when you finish your beer, you should under no circumstances throw the can into the trash. Recycle: someone wants that can and looking through the trash for it is demeaning. And the bag? Throw that down too, for it is art and someone may want to clean up after his dog anyway.

As for me, I have found a place on the internet where I can purchase my own black plastic bags (Ok, I didn’t look I just got them from the ghetto-mart, the one that complains to the landlord about the nice restaurant it shares the building with while selling whole pallets of Genesee each week.) Anyway, I got all these black plastic bags.

I am thinking of selling them next to the hot dog cart this weekend. So stop by and get a bag, so you can drink on the street too! Just remember, throw it in the air when you’re done. Make it rain!

SMC 12A.24.025 Unlawful consuming of liquor, opening a
container of liquor, or possessing an open container of liquor, each in a
public place.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rising Fuel Costs, Happy Hour Deals Keep News Crews in Belltown

Belltown, Seattle-The rising cost of fuel combined with Seattle traffic has local news crews scrambling to find news close to home. “Belltown is great for news, its only a few blocks from our office and its got some great backdrops," said cameraman from BIRO8, adding” I have a whole story on the crumbling inner city built entirely around some B-roll of the McGuire!” When asked about crime that takes place in other parts of the city, news organizations all agreed that reporting news outside of Belltown was challenging and not nearly as rewarding. There’s not a single sign or wall not covered completely in vandalism up in Capitol Hill, which is the point, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, but down here close to home: “Broken windows! Look!” News like this, right by the studio is a no brainer. First Hill has a really bad problem with cars being broken into, I mentioned. “We know, and you can’t imagine how much expensive equipment we have in our van,” said engineer Rob Basil, “going up there could cost us significantly.”
“Belltown has some wicked happy hour specials, and we can walk to most of the best places,” said on air reporter Connie Shellhair. “We used to party down here when I was at UW and I know all the cool spots.” She said that sometime the news hits home for those in the news business, citing last year’s shooting in front of one of her favorite bars. The shooting eventually ended in the bar losing its liquor permit.
“Businesses everywhere are being told to Think Local, and be sustainable,” said news desk manager Duck Blame of KLAW4 holding up his fingers making air quotes, and we’re responding to that market segment. Mr. Blame said that reporting news, any news in the neighborhood was his way of being green.
But it’s not all wine and roses for these loca-repores. Parking rates in the neighborhood are steep, and can put a dent in bottom lines. “Try parking your news van for more than a couple of hours! Forget it!” Engineer Basil lamented. All news crews agreed that to avoid hefty parking fees they tried to cover stories in Belltown as superficially as possible.
“As news people we’re supposed to get footage of us talking to cops, but then we realized that in Belltown there aren’t a lot of cops, so we often get forced to interview the droves of parking enforcement officers and drawing attention to our vehicles. This was a bad strategy.”

Saturday, May 7, 2011

dream fragment

Underneath the window of the shop a boy stood. He played with a coin that he continually and with a twist of his wrist used to assault the crumbling plaster of the wall at his feet. He stopped once in a while to look up at the window. The plaster flecked white on his otherwise dirty shoe.
The window of the shop above flickered with a deep light. The light of a betrayed woman’s eyes in winter. The boy displayed patience of a man four times his age. In time, the light faded and the boy looked down and then up the alley where he had stood for a hundred years or more. He stooped down and collected the coin from the grit of the alley. The white of the plaster and the red of the brick that lay underneath ran in curving lines into the creases of the asphalt at his feet, a vascular roadmap, science class diagram of a man with no skin, head turned in silent embarrassment at being found so stripped naked.
The boy looked once more at the shop window and pocketed the coin. He turned and began to walk, following the footsteps of a cat that had darted silent as thought from behind a derelict dumpster. He began to whistle. His hands found his pockets where the right hand idly turned the coin over and over. The alley met a street where astonishingly tall women sailed in pairs carrying parcels or pushing bicycles under trees draped with the precarious heads of late Spring blooms, each one like the face of a woman about to slide from the side of a listing, wailing ocean liner. Thinly they screamed, the air peeling fingers from limbs sending them descending to carpet the path of the cat and therefore the boy.
At the seawall. The scent of the sea sweeps the enormous coral stones of the battlement. Bracing against the angry darkness of the limitless aggression of the ocean which steals the whistle from his face. He throws the coin into the clamor and terror beneath him. The cold fiend immediately clutching the coin in its salty folds.
Turning he sees the skyline of the city. In the high street the shop light again bleeds its color into the ancient iron columns of cloud.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Distractions, God and Passover

I have not posted any content in a while. Bad Monkey. but I have excuses, and since barely anyone reads this blog and I feel sort of narcissistic (cheers to google for helping me spell that correctly) when I write it I don't have to make any further argument for why I have been neglecting the literary flowers in my internet window box.
It was Passover. Before today my last day off was The 7th. I finished strong yesterday, even dropping thank you notes on the many guilty parties to my insanity and stress. Never underestimate the power of a "Thank You" note to anyone over 60. I want a vacation someplace warm but time's a luxury that isn't available to my super busy co-conspirator. She's at that point where she has to be there for everything, and she's super responsible so there's no way she's jumping in the car with me. Secretly I find her dangerously attractive because she's so responsible and reliable. But I still keep asking her to go places with me.
I have been writing though. I wrote a few yelp reviews. You can read those here

And I write my mom and sister:

to Katie, Lisa

Apr 25 (2 days ago)

"We gonna rock down to electric avenue!" Outside the office I hear the radio playing over the cacophony for dinner service. Jeremy shouts for AJ to pick up his food. I only have a minute to write this. The throng of people arriving at 5:45 is the same batch I have been feeding every two hours, like babies.
Prime Rib, medium, up!" Kris shouts. Max has come to the door once, when she comes back I will have to stop this and go see what she needs.
I'm still in Passover. The feeling I have right now about work is not too different from touching fire: I desperately want to not be here anymore and would love to pull my hand away. Overall this Passover has been smooth, but arduously detailed. I know very specific Judaic procedures and laws these days usually known only by the most Orthodox. Good for something, I guess. I have worked 134 hours of the last two weeks. Yea me! Marissa had 16 hours of overtime too, plus she has two 5 hour rehearsals a week. We're soul tired. Exercising has saved me from losing any hair. I love working here at the Summit, but this time of year is the worst.
I will touch base with Elise tonight, Katie. I know she has been taking on clients left and right and lots of her bars are gearing up for summer patio season, but I can catch up with her and see if I can't get you some reduced anxiety....
I remember how much fun your Graduation was, I hope that the trip is great for you.
Mom, keep up the good work with not smoking and remember, the first weeks are your strong suite, keep it up!
There's Max.

Love to you for reading this too.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Belltown's own crying indian

This morning as I was leaving to go run I passed a guy drinking a beer in front of the corner shop.
“Yum,” I thought.
He finished his beer and tossed it down on the sidewalk. This gentleman was one of several of the same mysterious-to-the-cops industrious young men that always stand there. They dress very similar to each other, perhaps to appear similar when the cops show, or maybe they are all in a boy-band. “B-boy’s Town?” On the way back from my run as I waited for the light to change in front of the cross-fit that isn’t open much I decided.
Come on.
I picked up the cans and the chee-toe bags from their feet and looked up and said,
“Man, can you believe people would disrespect OUR neighborhood like this? I mean you and I, we live here, why would they do that to us?”
I looked around, the trash can that used to be in front of the Ahjang market is now across the street. As I crossed the street, a lady dressed in the standard issue puffy nylon coat- maybe she’s going skiing later—says,
“Thas why they got street cleaners.”
“Yeah, but the city doesn’t seem to like to spend money, and I would rather they feed some folks that need it our use it for housing homeless.”
Now, I should stop here and say that I am an ethical person, but it is always OK to lie to a crackhead.
“besides, its not about hiring a street cleaner, You live here, I live here- this is your neighborhood, why would you allow (still pretending I don’t presume it was her and her pimp who tossed down the beers) someone to trash your home? “
“Sounds like you want to cal the cops, go on and call em.” She said.
“I don’t want more cops, I just want people to show some class, ya know?”
“I gots class, it wasn’t me!” She said as I left.

We can live and let live, and I certainly don’t want anyone getting hurt, but I am going to start to make my streets cleaner and try to get my neighbors (aka crackheads) to clean up after themselves. As I write this I know that Bedlam has done more for this neighborhood than any other organization or business in the city and I want to say it is with respect that I patronize them. But we’re numerous, and have less “business” risk than them so I suggest we start doing some browbeating. If you know anything about cocaine you know it makes people paranoid, so if we all start talking to crack heads and dealers about cleaning up, twenty different random people, sometimes several different ones in an hour- its going to be weird to them. And fun for us.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


The room was cold. He lifted from the bed and went to the bathroom in the dark.
In the bathroom he felt how thirsty he was.
The light from the refrigerator falls across the linoleum, his legs. Briefly he wonders where Max is off to. He stands there drinking water from a cup that has a map of Wisconsin on it, a bird and a rat.
He recalls that his daughter calls Wisconsin the beaver state, which always makes his wife smile and steal a glance at him. He pours the rest of the water into Max’s enamel dish on the kitchen floor and turns toward the bedroom.

They had been drinking for hours. Torn pieces of beer mat and cocktail napkins with drawings on them. The TV endlessly flickering images. Eventually they left; the bartender had looked unconcerned at their advanced state of drunkenness. It was that kind of place.
The bar was in a neighborhood of single-family homes. Walking along the sidewalk quietly because by now it had grown late, she came upon a cat. It was longhaired and began doing figure eights around her ankles. She clumsily bent and began to coo, taking the grey flat face in her chapped fingers.
“You like me, don’t you!’ she said.
He turned, smoking a cigarette. “What?” Was this directed at him, he thought. He turned again to look up at the silvery leaves of the tree above him, they swayed in his vision and he decided it was he, not the leaves that moved. He looked up the quiet street, for what he did not know.
The car was cold, the smell of cold plastic and old ashtrays overwhelming. The sound of his keys too loud. He looked over and saw her standing at the car’s passenger side, she had a coat on he did not recognize. He leaned over and unlocked the door.
“He wants to come with us, don’t you?” She was nose to nose with the cat, which wore a blue flea collar. It wasn’t a coat she held, now he saw.
“We’ll keep him and he can drink milk, I always wanted a kitty.” Her gushing baby talk and noises are making him sick.
He couldn’t find strength. He pulled the car into gear as she closed her door, began complaining that her purse strap was closed in the door.
She opens the door then slams it again quickly, tosses the purse to her feet.
He’s concentrating on driving, the streetlights wet pools streaming toward then over them. The cat scratches her and for a moment is under the pedals of the car, he yells violently at her. He is driving. She yells back and he slams the steering wheel repeatedly until they realize nervously that they are being watched by a cabbie, the car has a single moveable light affixed near the rearview mirror, a retired patrol car. The cat has begun to groan deeply from under the seat behind him.
At the next corner he realizes he has missed the turn and is lost. He tries to focus on the green sign swinging beside the red light but cannot. She wants to pee.
You can’t wait? He looks around nervously, the cat is making noises like a raptor from a movie. No I can’t wait she says, she is pulling on the cat’s leg, the cat and the floor mat it is holding to is coming out from under her seat. The cat’s eyes judge him suddenly yellow in the light from the dome light of the car.
She leaves the door ajar and walks away into the shadow of a Honda with red plastic letters ’99 ACCORD LOW MILES across the window. He begins to doze, his wrists resting on the wheel, he awakens: she is yelling, cussing. She falls back into the car, licking the meatiness of her thumb, bloody. Let’s go. He pulls the car out into the night.

When things like this happen he sometimes wonders if he is cut out for this daddy thing. It’s not that he is ever violent, but the rage that wells up in him at his inability to keep her from harm, at the futility of being a father unable to fix something. He could kill the people who drive too fast down his street. It scares him. His wife had put out food, then called in that voice that made her sound as if she would be an excellent auctioneer or maybe run a square dance. Maxwell had not appeared, which was not like him. His daughter had not noticed the cat missing as she readied herself for school and ate breakfast. After dropping her at school he drove deliberately around the streets in search of him, his mind and stomach lurching as he slowed near culverts and gutters in fear of what he might find. Fearing the worst, finding nothing, which turned out to be far worse. At work his wife calls, he’s anxious when he answers but she is only calling to say she isn’t going to stop at the dry cleaners after work. He downloads a picture from his Facebook page. At the copier he makes signs.


He does not want to go home. He’s walking around posting the signs when a man approaches him quickly.
“Excuse me, sir?”
“yes?” He is electrically shocked by the interaction. He has been dwelling in his head too long as he slapped the signs against the phone poles, thinking abstractly about the bands and bars advertised on the posters he covered with Max’s image, slap slap slap slap the staple gun cold and heavy in his hands, his anger welling.
He assesses the man quickly, a fight or flight feeling. He resolves to calm himself.
“Yes?” he says again.
“Can you tell me where the 264 stops on this street?”
The number means nothing to him, the question is like a dot on a white page for a moment and he feels flustered and is worried that he may seem deranged, a crazy with a staple gun…
“The bus?”
“Oh, yes. Umm, Well it stops uh, down there,” he points past a row of cars to the nearby stop sign and the familiar rectangle of the bus stop where the grass has died and he sometimes sees the forlorn girl in the blue parka standing.
“Thanks, lose your cat?” the man says.
He will be able to go home now, his daughter will not cry! Tonight the familiar solid paperweight shape by his foot will not make him cranky, he promises.
He is elated, he breaks into a smile and says, “yes, I have! You know where Max is?”
“No, I just see your poster. Good Luck, though. “ The man begins to walk towards the stop.
He turns and drives a staple.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A morning email

Once I was told that a letter should be worth reading. It's sort of an aphorism, and sounds Mark Twain-ish, maybe I heard it from a professor. Anyway I put some stock in that thought and if you and I correspond, you know I try and make it worth reading. You and I don't correspond, though. I know this because basically the only people I write letters to regularly are half of the Summit staff (I publish a daily missive at work) and my mom and dad. I get told that I should bind the dailies at work into a book, and one day I might. I would have to take out all the names to protect the innocent.
In the meantime,
here's another letter...

Its a Thursday morning. Its raining. Do you know they say you should never begin a novel with a sentence about the weather? Then again writers say that you should never listen to other writers. I am not a writer.

The neighbors will be mad if they are home. He could not help himself and genuinely did not care, however. He jumped higher and higher each time, mumbling along since he truly didn't know all the words Chuck D was saying, jubilantly cheering, "Can't Truss it!" along with Flava Flav when the time came. Fleetingly he considered downloading all of Public Enemy's music, but instead sipped more coffee. His beautiful and talented girlfriend had left the apartment moments before, in a rush to catch the bus that took her to rehearsals. He had made her scrambled eggs and brought them, an adoring fawning man deeply in love, to her along with coffee spiked with Swiss Miss and 2% milk while she reviewed dance videos by the rain smeared window. Yesterday the couple had begun the day even earlier, he had trudged through the slushy snow to the car, a rented Audi. She peered into the mirror applying mascara. She was nervous because she was shooting with very hot photographer and wanted the shots to be good. Her agency had labeled her a "bod girl." Her agent, a woman who had plucked her from a yoga studio, was planning to use the commissions she made from Marissa's work to buy a new Porsche next year. Marissa could not conceive of such success and was naturally demure about her looks. He smiled and knew better. The dishwasher resoundingly clunked in the kitchen. He noticed that the carpet needed vacuuming.
He began to sneeze. The sneezes came from deep in his lungs and he moved not unlike a strange bird dipping into a pond as he found his way to the bathroom and spun the toilet paper from the roll. He loved the sneezes, they felt somehow great. He needed to think about leaving the house. Outside the weather was uninviting. Rain and cold. He would leave anyway, as soon as he had finished writing to his mother.
His thoughts went to his younger sister. She was brilliant, and she had the same quality of youthful enthusiasm for life that had made him jump around to the music earlier. maybe this was genetics? Passed down from mother to son and daughter? He had to get ready, although the appointment he had was of not to significant importance: he had a physical therapist who was helping him to improve his running. Such was the life that he now found himself able to focus time and money on hobbies.
Life was good for this man, and he knew it.

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