Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
never talk to (well dressed) strangers
He listened to the soothing tones of the man’s voice. The untucked tails of a foreign accent occasionally peaked out from underneath his perfectly arranged and intonated speech.
He was lulled into a meditative peace despite the menace with which the man’s words were now imbued. Unblinking, He starred at the man’s shoulder. He could see the kinks of stray fibres upon his wool coat. He looked at the thin stubble sprouting from the jaw and neck. The tiny speck of a flea crawled along the line of the jaw. Occasionally, it would disappear from sight with a hop reappearing a moment or two later back upon the jaw. Then. Nothing. A gold and electric green flash. Then black. He could feel his body being roughly shifted and searched. A dull kick which would certainly hurt more when he returned to consciousness by the pokes and prods of two policeman taking him for a drunk.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Q: What is a pirate’s favourite type of dialogue?
Can you see why I am procrastinating?
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Monday, October 11, 2004
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Friday, September 24, 2004
"Throughout my life it has in fact been very difficult for me to get used to the disconcerting and flabbergasting "normality" of the beings who surround me and who people the world. I always say to myself, "Nothing of what might happen ever happens!"
I cannot understand why man should be capable of so little fantasy. I cannot understand why bus drivers should not have a desire once in a while to crash into a five-and-ten-cent store window and catch a few toys on the fly for their wives, and amuse the children who happened to be around."
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Monday, September 20, 2004
Berlin is an incredible city. So much art. Big wide streets. Street art scattered like confetti. So much of recent western civilisation has occured among these blocks. The decimated corpse of an ancient cathedral testifies to the consequences of world war. A strip of pavement demarcates where one ideaology was seperated by another. It used to be a wall. A very famous wall which most germans step over with out a glance or thought. Why should they? They lived here it was just a wall to them, to us tourists it was a far more frightening abstraction. Now, in this city which is familiar with the ways of walls and their purpose of keeping one seperated from another has a new wall. This one is much smaller than the earlier incarnation. This one surrounds a square block of city which contains in the middle an ordinary building which just happens to have a bald eagle emblem and an American flag. When I saw the huge concrete fortifications blocking the road, I first thought it was a recreation of Checkpoint Charlie for the benefit of the tourists. The men and women standing gaurd were not in period uniforms. They were modern day police. You are allowed to approach the building by foot which I did to the consernations of my companion (Germans in uniform still make her nervous). At every street corner there were two police. The building was dwarfed by the security measures. It made me incredibly sad. After visiting sites like the remains of the Berlin wall and a concentration camp to see yet another barrier. Whether made to keep people in or keep them out, there is no denying that walls in Germany mean sadness for me.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Monday, September 06, 2004
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
The opening bands were hit and miss. I enjoyed the skiffle band from Hull. The toes tapped. The head bounced. Occasionally, I knew the words to some of the old standards and I sang happily sang along. The next band sounded like one of those ‘Celtic waves’ CDs. You know the ones where they show rolling green hills dotted with sheep and convivial pub gatherings and if you buy now they will throw in a ‘kiss me I’m Irish’ button. I used the opportunity to queue up for a drink or two.
Then came Shane. It seems silly to point out that he was extremely inebriated. This is a man whose teeth have all rotted out of his head due to his predilection towards schnapps and Irish Crème (which, by the way, is nothing but sweetened condensed milk and whiskey. Beurk!). He was wobbly on his feet and grinning the mad toothless grin of a professional drunk. He not only sang off key but also sang to a different tempo. He was a mess, but the crowd was just relieved that he showed up. Song number two started with him no less drunk but a switch had been flipped. He was in perfect form. His cracked mumbling voice sang all the sadness and revelry that make me love the music so much. I sang along. Danced. Got tossed around with the aimless shifts of the crowd. One of the moments of perfection occurred, where time ceases, reflective thought ceases to ruin your enjoyment, and a person is completely in the moment. It is rare event but it is sublime. To think it all occurred during a gig of a drunken Irishman singing simple songs while one is being tussled, showered with beer, and abusing one’s hearing.
The bus ride home was fun. The other punters filled the cabin with stamping feet and choruses. Everyone sang along and chattered about the great show. “chust sublime” everyone agreed.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Maybe, just maybe. It's that sort of self-centered self-righteous mind set that keeps pissing off the rest of the world. The 'West' has been blessed with this unprecinted personal liberty and most of us fritter it away watching Big Brother or following cult-like diet regimes. Crying and moaning about how fucking tough we have it. No wonder fanatics want to toss bombs at our children. We are obviously oblivious to everyone's suffering but our own. Yeah. I'm fucking up now and I switch off the radio alarm.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
“Where you from?” he asked. Fair enough. It’s a tourist town and my accent is indeed a muddled and bizarre one these days.
“I live here.”
“What are you doing in this hole then?”
“Aye. Look at this shit. Green lawns. Green leaves. Fucking flowers.”
I chuckle at his joke. “What’s wrong with the flowers.”
“They’re cunts.” I understand that to many that particular word can be grating and probably exists high on one's naughty word list, but living here one becomes immune to its shock. Now, I can only laugh. In this part of the country, they pronounce this phrase from their bellies. The ‘c’ is thrown out with great force and velocity and the ‘u’ forces their jaws open to allow its bulky mass to pass the lips. I can never help smiling when I hear the phrase but it was particularly humorous given the current context. “I’m not joking. They’re cunts. The lot of them.” Every morning I piss on that bunch of thistles. Those over there. Where the Orientals are taking pictures. Aye. There. And look at them. They’re the biggest of the lot. They do it to spite me. The cunts. As soon as they fade. Chop. Chop.” He smiled and mimed the motion.
“I hate plants.” He concluded in an almost defeated tone.
My first instinct was to politely nod and agree but the urge to say something quickly rose to my throat. “But your job. You’re working…”
“Aye. I know. Everyday I’m surrounded by plants. Fucking Gorse. Fucking Grass. And Faaaaking Thistles. But you know what. It keeps me going. I’m sixty-three and I’m still fit. Because everyday, I come here and keep those bastards in line.” He punctuated the last sentence by slapping at the foliage behind our bench like he was scolding a naughty child.
The conversation only got stranger. The gist of it was that it is exactly because he hated nature that he made a good gardener. Maybe that is what I am missing from my daily life. Good ole’ antagonism. Something to define myself against. Countries do it all the time. Hell. Countries are doing it right now. When the shit hits the national fan. Leaders point to someone else as the monkey who threw the shit. I suppose that is why America is such a popular target for foreign governments to distract their populaces from more domestic issues. Because, ladies and gentleman never in our history has a monkey thrown so much shit.
1) Dear reader. I shit you not. This guy doesn't take a hint and for some reason, maybe I look malnourished, he is always singling me out to give me recipes and soliciting a place to stay for the evening.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Friday, August 06, 2004
Monday, July 19, 2004
The one major thing that would stop my move there would be the loneliness. You come across thousands and thousands of people daily but there is little but polite contact. It seems it would be hard to really get to know someone in such a busy and anonymous town.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Monday, June 28, 2004
Another thing I love about the city is graffiti. Not the ciphers of the street artists. The pieces where the person’s name is displayed in their hidden language of intertwined letters. I can appreciate these but I do not understand them. They are not written for me. Nor am I a fan of the quickly scrawled tags. I can see why a young person who walks through a wealthy man’s city wants to, with the flick of the pen, say ‘This is mine. That is mine’. This being so, I still watch the various names appear at night and disappear by pressure wash by day. Cert X is one of my favourites his art has more wit than most. In the park, he stencilled silver snails leaving silver spray paint trails. There is another name S.H.E.I.L.D. Around town someone writes this acronym. It is written in chalk or pen on walls, adverts, everything. He usually accompanies his tag with another word. Usually, FRONT or BACK. He is well travelled I have seen his mark at the furthermost ends of the city. What these designations of FRONT or BACK mean. I have never come to know. There are others who leave their noise upon the walls as well but without claiming ownership. Random splashes of art wheat pasted over the legal graffiti selling unneeded crap. (I always wonder why people abide huge ugly billboards of nonsense which mar the cityscape but complain when some when paints a tiny stencil right beside it.) Yesterday, my travels rewarded me with seeing someone had written, “Looting takes the waiting out of wanting.” I love my Sunday walks.
Sunday, June 13, 2004
I was attracted to the idea that this compass points to a city. a city built by humans and occupied by humans. Knowing where this abstraction North is has only a utilitarian attraction. No one uses a compass to go to the North. They use it to find some other place which may or may not lie in the North.
For everyone of us I am sure there is a geographical location that we think wistfully about. It would be nice if we could focus that longing by facing in the direction of that spot and know that if I walked in that direction I would arrive at that city or that place which holds watch over my most cherished memories. I am lucky enough to have several places to care take various wonderful memories of my life. Having my memories scattered about the planet makes it difficult to focus one's reflections. So, I have gathered each of them carefully. I have found a nice safe corner of a city to the east to which I have never been and stored them. To locate them I have this compass. A compass covered in a script written in wisps of smoke. A secret incantation to bring all my wonderful memories back to my thoughts. All I need to do is follow the compass' needle and look over the horizon to retrieve them.
Saturday, May 29, 2004
Monday, May 24, 2004
A boy and a girl are sitting next to one another. The girl is very shy. The boy asks, "What's your name?" The girl blushes and coyly says, "My name is the same as something that sticks on the wall." The boy looks confused and asks, "Shit!?!" The girl exclaims, "No! Ivy!"
Good morning everyone.
Monday, May 17, 2004
A little girl who is sitting on her father's shoulders. She exageratedly swings her arms and makes stomping noises like a giant rampaging the city. Amen. A little rampage keeps the soul clean.
The ever present wind tickles the scarf of a petite young asian girl. Her shiny black hair dances about and the ends of her white scarf billow behind her like angel wings. It's nice she chose to walk amongst us mortals rather than fly safely above us.
Sunday, May 16, 2004
speaking of the Eurovision song contest. It is surrealism at its European
finest. The opening act had a woman singing and gyrating with a Caesarean
section scar painted with glitter. This could be interpreted as a refreshing
change from the Americans obsession with absolute physical perfection for any
performer. But, lack of beauty or disfigurements is not the only deficiency that
was witnessed. What's worse than pop music? Now I know. Bad pop music with
operatic singing thrown in just because she can sing opera. Remember, I am just
talking about the first act which was last year's winner. If it wasn't for the
million dollar production, and the twenty-somethings gyrating their
bronze-in-a-can bodies covered only by glittery skimpy undies, I would have
thought this was a grammar school's talent show. On top of this, the
English-speaking commentator spends the whole night mocking each horrid act and
laughing out loud at the sheer crapness of it all. At one point, they try to
communicate with journalists covering Eurovision parties all over Europe. Each
time it was this awkward exchange befuddled by satellite delay and communication
conducted in neither party's mother tongue. It culminated in trying to talk to
the correspondent in Spain. An older bottle blonde woman with skin the colour of
shoe leather. Something went wrong. She didn't know she was on and ten seconds
were spent watching this woman try to clear her nostrils of something. The
British commentator enjoyed that moment thoroughly. Also, when the two
presenters rather than saying 'time to start the show', tried to warm up the
crowd with a little sing a long of "Ohh laa day. Ohh. Ohh. Ohh." To which the
commentator suggested, I wish they would have just said, 'time to start
the show'. Finally, at the very end, Europe votes for their favorite. Each
country cannot vote for themselves. So, What do they do? Vote for their
neighbours. Greeks would rather vote for Turkey than any Scandinavian country!
It becomes farcical. You can actually guess who a country will vote for. Unified
Europe! Ha! They can't even get the parochialism out of voting for crap pop
bands! Fuck trying to get a coherent and pan-European economic policy. I hope
everyone at some point in their life can see the absurdist masterpiece that is
the Eurovision song contest. Where else are you going to see a bald lady dancing
Friday, May 07, 2004
Most of the characters whose blogs are listed on this page are politically minded. This is one of the reasons I admire those individuals. This admiration is not simply because they are political but because they are well versed and articulate in the language of politics. I am interested in politics but am quickly overwhelmed by the futility which is so pervasive. Someone famous and most likely dead said, ‘History is made by unreasonable people’.1 I think there is sense in that. Reasonable people find a way to abide whatever political injustice blows their way. It’s those folks who call bullshit and do something about it that get things changed.
I grew up knowing a Nazi. That’s right kids. Uncle Jarred once knew a real live Nazi. Not the goofy back-wood ones that you occasionally find on daytime television, but a genuine man from the third Reich. Fortunately, He was also not of the unrepentant jew-killer bogeymen that appear in films on occasion. He was just fourteen at the time and after the allies bombed his home in Dresden. Whoever was in charge handed him a gun and pointed towards the east and told him to kill a commie for mommy. He and several others immediately stepped into the forest and ran west. They knew being captured by the Americans or British was a far better deal than what the boys with the red stars had planned. Beating all odds, he was captured by the French and that was just the beginning of this remarkable man’s life. I am glad I had the pleasure to know such a person. He called me “dummkopf” which is German for “best friend”. But, before all that he was a Nazi like everybody else in the neighborhood. Church on Sunday. Hitler youth after school. It seemed perfectly sensible for a person to ‘hail Hitler’ when one purchased a loaf a bread or crossed paths in the street. I bet most of the soldiers who even had the task of sealing the doors or dropping the little cyanide tablets into the holes in the roofs were reasonable men. It is frightening to think it is only circumstance that has saved most of us from having to make that dreadful decision or even worse being conditioned to think there was no decision to make. Thank god for unreasonable people.
1. Most likely he also said “ reasonable men”. Dead guys are usually pretty chauvinistic.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Sunday, May 02, 2004
It's true. I just made it up. Scots on the other hand, I believe means "ones who vacates their bladders upon the streets". I'm not sure. I could be wrong.
I went to the hills to watch the Pagan Summer Festival. This is were a few pagans and a whole lot of hippies run around naked and painted different colors. Seriously, it was actually a beautiful ceremony. A man was dressed as the green man escorted the May queen to four circles. At each of the circles they preformed a ceramony. I went with the usual scepticism but it was very nice to watch. The only problem was that a lot of people just used it as an excuse to get drunk. So during this ceremony people were shouting and belching. Shame really.
Thursday, April 29, 2004
P.S. Random notes on people's cars are nice too. Leave things like "You have pretty hair". Regardless of whether you have seen that person. Or important notes meant for other people. like, "Please don't invade Poland".
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Friday, April 16, 2004
Maybe it was the janitor who was the author. He was an ex-philosophy student and one night while his mind was addled with bong inspiration he thought of his revolutionary quip. His one clever thought. Since academic journals require a 5000 word minimum, his only publishing opportunity is the toilet walls of his alma mater. Occasionally, his work is defaced by some insolent fool answering natures call. This requires him to clear the slate and reiterate his phrase. "Subvert the dominant paradigm."
Okay. That is too many entries about toilets. I will stop lest I get a reputation.
Monday, April 12, 2004
"Can I get my payslip?"
"Why didn't you get it this morning like everyone else?"
"I... I..." I stutter, not really having an answer for her.
"The pile is over there. Get yourself." A crooked talon points past my shoulder.
"Thanks." I sheepishly offer to gain atonement for my transgression.
"Don't thank me." She snaps and returns to typing with ferocious speed.
I have developed a strategy to better my odds with this secretary. I will initiate the conversation while pretending to walk towards the copier. I start with a just a smile and a split second's worth of eye contact. This will earn me a warning in the form of tighten lips, thin red line like a paper cut and pure hate from mascara-ed lids. Or. I get a chatty greeting. Birds chirping and beams of light burning through the dissipating clouds. I then carefully submit my request which I carefully weave into friendly conversation from in front of the copier. I constantly gauge the barometer that may signal any sudden turn of weather. In her chattier moods she is an unrepentant gossip. It is almost vulgar the way she trades in inter-office politics and romances. Almost, because I too revel in this cattiness. Yes. dear readers, it is one of my vices. I am a terrible gossip. I am a nosy shit. It is not out of maliciousness that I enjoy these torrid tales of stolen kisses in the supply closet (Sadly this cliché is alive and well). I am just plain nosey. Yet, the brash way she dispenses these tid-bids of information simultaneously give me the sensation of revulsion and titillation. like licking a 9 volt.
Our hero, secretary, and man from room 5.03 are in an office. Secretary is sitting at a desk in front of which are the other two actors. At the beginning of the scene man from room 5.03 enters.
Our hero:<<to man from room 5.03>> "Looking sharp today. The ladies will be chasing you."
Polite smiles all around. Man states his business to the secretary and leaves. Immediately, after the secretary turns to our hero and says in a conspiratorial tone.
Secretary: You know he's gay.
This is what I mean. There was no call for that. It made no difference to me. As if he was offended by my stupid joke mistakenly suggestion he would be interested in women chasing him. It was purely for the purpose of giving me that bit of gossip. When she said it I immediately thought, 'You, gossipy shit.', but I didn't complain. I quietly added that bit to my gossip scrapbook and went about my business. It's not as if I can use these tidbits as tender at the usual tea break gossip sessions. I avoid socialising at work as much as possible. I can't explain why exaclt I have an interest in second hand information concerning the same people from whom I avoid getting first hand auto-biographical information. Maybe those bytes of serendipitous information that says the most about a person. I'm not sure. I think the only acurate explanations is I too am a gossipy shit. Oh well.
Monday, April 05, 2004
Do not trust right angles or glossy paper.
Perfect is death. The lipless god knows this.
Perfection cannot change. It cannot grow.
Therefore, it can only be dead.
This is what they sell you in their empty cathedrals of mass consumption.
Spotless teens singing tunes written by paedophilic three piece suits.
Know them by the whites of their typesetting.
The only thing that belongs in shop windows is a brick and anger.
Go forth young ones and bury this death they vend and and let its rotting
perfection fecundate the off-centred, the home-made, the natural."
I have reproduced these words from the walls of a public toilet stall. It was
written in the most flowing calligraphic black ink. A healthy bowel movement has
been known to inspire a small amount of serenity in myself but nothing compared
to the epiphany this man experienced.
Saturday, April 03, 2004
adventure than the fearful time it should have been. The horror of seeing a
woman cut repeatedly on her arms as they fended off the boyfriend whose head had
been filled with dark chemical whispers did not fully bring its weight for me to
bear until years later when I could afford the luxury of reflection. I am still
not convinced I saw the wax-figure face of an overdose bundled like an Eskimo
baby in sheets and a sleeping bag. Even those terrible memories which tend to
haunt me between the time of closing my eyes and sleeping are not enough to
regret the life I've led. It is that life that fortifies me against taking the
pedestrian troubles of my current life too seriously. People at my office curse
the gods and their mother for the daily cruelties they must endure. These
afflictions include the adulterous boyfriend who is already abusing his second
chance or car payments that total more than their rent. perspective my dear
These people need suffering. Maybe suffering is too harsh. Maybe all it takes
is struggle. It's what gives us our humanity, no? Maybe that is why my
co-workers fabricate adversity to make themselves human again. To taste that
bitter but sustaining herb. Yet, it is an artificial struggle they have created
for themselves and is ultimately unsatisfying. nothing is satiated and
another difficulty must be fabricated. credit card debt? maybe. prescription
addiction? possibly. I keep to myself. nod when forced to listen to these
confessions pretending to be conversation. tattle to this computer.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
A statue of Wellington whose bronze boots and been painted to look like
rubber Wellingtons. Cute.
A woman with no teeth smoking.
At a flea market stall the radio was playing a song in which some young girl
was singing a syrupy sweet song about a boy and a woman in her seventies sang
along as she sorted her used book stall. Across from her a huge bald man in a
football strip sang along too.
An odd shaped boy with all his school folders covered in black and white
copies of NASA pictures of constellations.
Friday, March 26, 2004
Once again someone has written my thoughts decades earlier and more purely.
"You mean to say that you can LOVE a piece of buttered toast?
only some, sir. on certain mornings. in certain rays of sunlight.
love arrives and departs without notice." -Charles Bukowski
God bless his drunk, boil-covered misogynistic dead head.
P.S. I am out of books. I need a new one. Any suggestions?
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Some people call it luck. Others need something a little more active, and name guardian angels as the cause. I would side with the angels theory, but I have had the benefit of experience.
I met my guardian angel. He introduced himself. "Man, I am your guardian angel." I gave him a ride from a laundrette to a house downtown, and he told of his time fighting in Vietnam. He also told me he was my guardian angel.
When I was going to University I lived in a rougher neighbourhood. I frequented the laundrette at the corner. The laundrette was 24 hour and was always busy. Two in the morning, under-aged kids would drink from oversized beer bottles. Whole families complete with toddlers would be there listening to music pouring out of an open trunk and washing clothes. Someone at some point took exception to a particular washer. They put a hole into its face. Right between the dials. The bullet went in and must of bounced around inside because there was no corresponding exit hole on the back. The machine was there when I moved into the neighbourhood and was there when I left. I don't know why it was not replaced. Maybe it still worked. I never saw it used or tried it myself. Maybe it was the laundrette owner who shot the machine and left the corpse there as a warning to the other machines.
One night I walked out with my clean laundry about to head home. A man stopped me. He had tired eyes. The irises were as dark as the pupils. Both nestled in a tangle of thick nest of red blood vessels. The bags under his eyes seemed heavy, carrying two pennies each. Green baseball cap. T-shirt. Light blue shorts covering the top half of a pair of stick thin legs. His knees looked like tree knots, and his skin was the colour of coffee.
"Hey, man. Where you going? Can you give me a ride man? ... Man."
"I live over there. Where do you need to go?" Pointing with a motion of my laundry basket towards my apartment.
"Man. Just over off of Tuttle. You know, man. That street by Fiesta. It take you ten minutes. ... Man." I liked the way he used the word 'man'. He used it like quotes, like punctuation, like the 'stop' of a telegram. The trailing 'man' always sounding like an afterthought to himself. An aside said out loud. He also looked like a man who wanted to be home and was not there.
"Listen. Let me drop off these clothes. I live right over there. My car is parked on the street. I'll give you a ride. Stay here. I'll be right back."
"Oh man. Thank you, man. This is great man. ... Man." A smile pulled fast and taunt against his face. He immediately sat down at the curb. "Man. Thanks." I started to walk back to drop off my basket. Behind me, "... Man." We got the car. I unlocked his side. "Man. Thanks." When I got in on my side, I was greeted with "Man." I confirmed the street we were heading to and started the engine. "Man. I want to thank you man. I am ready to be home. Man. This day was new this
morning, but its tired and old now. Man, Tired and old! ... Man."
"You know I was your age. I was riding my red Shwinn on my block and they took it away from me and gave me a gun. Threw me in a jungle and had me shoot people. shoot them and kill them" The message was disturbing, but I only noticed the 'man's had disappeared. The rhythm of the sentences changed. Slowed. and became heavy. Viscous.
I could only muster a non-committal and empty, "really?".
"I was a baby. They took my red Shwinn and gave me a black M-16." Nothing was said for a few traffic lights. "... Man. Thank you for giving me a ride man. My name is Edward Higgins. Man. You know what. Man, I'm your guardian angel." My eyes left the road to see his huge smile aiming directly at me. "Man. You know what. I'm setting you up. Man. I set you up with a quarter pound of weed. quarter pound! Man. Tomorrow. See that shop over there man." He pointed to a corner store as we passed it. "Tomorrow. Man. You go behind there and there will be a big ole' bag of weed waiting for you. Man. You go back there. You'll see man." To be honest at that stage of my life my guardian angel would indeed be bearing marijuana. It definitely added credibility to Ed's claim.
"Oh yeah?" The wide smile was gone and the eyes watched the road with me.
"... Man." We both watched the road. A few blocks go by and Edward broke the silence. "You see this scar?" He took off his cap, and lowered his head, tilted it toward me and pointed with a finger toward the three inch long mark on his head. "They took my bike and gave me this. I was eighteen. A baby. Never even seen a woman naked. And they wanted me to go kill. Go kill! Shit! Feel it." He put his head closer and pointed at the scar.
"Nah. that's okay." I could see beside the scar a small saucer shaped indentation. Shallow but visible under the passing street light.
"Touch it." There was a hint of command in his voice.
"Um. I'm cool." I'm flustered. I don't want to touch it, but I want to appease him.
"Touch it!" The command now carried threat and anger.
I blurted out like a defence. "Man. No thank you."
"A baby. One day I am riding my red Shwinn. Next I see nothing but blood. Red blood." He retreated back to his seat. Sadness. A voice thick with sadness. It made the air in the care uncomfortable. I rolled down the window to let it clear. A few blocks passed. "... Man. I take care of you. I'm your guardian angel. Man. I hook you up. You alright. Man. I'm your guardian angel. ...Man"
We pulled up to the house he specified. "Don't you ever come here now. Man. I take care of you, but man don't ever come to this house. Man. You remember what I told you. Man. You know where to look." He got out and before he closed the door he leaned in and said, "Man. Don't you worry. I'm your guardian angel." He flashed the smiled and shut the door with "Man."
Friday, March 05, 2004
you're the weirdo.
Today it was very easy to spot the weirdo. He was the short Spanish guy
standing on the bike racks on the front grill with his hands and face pressed
against the front windshield.
He was on the bus when I got on. He made comments to each new passenger as
they collected their receipt. I was given the advice that my tie made me look
gay. I would have been offended but he was right. It could have been worse.
I sit across the bus in the same from our friend the bus commentator. When I
sat down, our friend spotted the man who was behind me.
"Aye. Look at the head on heem. hello beeg head. hello! Woo!" Big head
looked puzzled for a moment then switched to commuter-ignore. Our friend then
motioned toward me. "Did you see hees beeg head?1"
I nodded and agreed, "Frighteningly large."
"Damn Beeg". he affirmed. The other passengers were commented on in a similar
fashion. Someone was wearing, in his estimation, peeamas. I still have that word
stuck in my head. I think pyjamas should be pronounced peeamas. Just like I
think we should use the French word for sidewalks, trottoir (trottwa). Doesn't
that just sound nice. It is just a shame they wasted such a nice word on such a
boring thing. Trottoir should be the verb for the way drunks walk or small
toddlers fresh of the merry-go-round. Le enfant trattoit comme le soulard.
During the journey, the bus driver was told to 'open her up' and 'put a
little foot into it'. Clearly, we were not going fast enough for our small
friend. He occasionally pretended to drive the bus which included steering an
imaginary steering wheel, making engine noises, slapping his foot hard against
the ground and swerving at pedestrians followed swearing at them in Spanish. The
driver seems unusually untroubled by this strange human. Actually, most people
looked on in amusement. No one took offence to any of his comments. They were
ignored or received with a confused smile. A block before his stop he
dramatically pushed the button and stood up. The whole time making excited
noises like a monkey. Squeaks and hoots. The bus driver slowed and our friend
rushed towards the front and flung himself against the machine you drop your
coins in as if the force of the braking had flung him. He hopped up and down,
shouting, "I'll sue, I'll sue!" through the worlds largest grin. Without missing
a beat, the driver opened the door, and our friend immediately jumped out. The
driver closed the door, but before the bus started again or friend jumped on the
bike racks on the front grill with his hands and face pressed against the front
windshield. "I'll sue, I'll sue!" Another instant, he was off, and the bus
was in motion. In comparison the rest of the day was rather dull, but I'm sure
everyone had something to talk about at their tea break.
1My attempt at transliterating a thick spanish accent. Sorry.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
closed lids and crooked smile of a junky. Tourists taking photos. Their flashes
blow kisses at the gothic steeples and sooty monuments. I always stop to give
directions. I want people to go back to their respective corners of the earth
and know just a fraction of how wonderful this it is to live in this city. I
want a thousand neighbours and family friends to be bored beyond sanity with
photos and stories of my town. No city can be that nice, can it? I'm the wrong
guy to ask. I'm still infatuated with this city. Love sick with every part of
her. Its narrow alleys that dance up and down steep hills and around the corners
of ancient stone walls. The lonely castle that must sit and watch it all from
afar. The pubs with their beer and smoke breath belching onto the street. The
Sunday silence as we all collectively sleep off the night before's excesses. The
hills in which it nestles. Some nights I fill up my flask and climb the large
hill to the east. I sit upon her craggy slope and watch my city. I'll sit there
for hours and watch the traffic pump through her like lit blood cells through
vessels. The symphony of street noises. Drunks yelling. Traffic. Machinery. From
the height of the hills it sounds just like the ocean. No sound distinct from
another. Just an oceanic static. Waves of sound lap against the hill. I've
fallen asleep a few times. My legs still dangling over the edge and my clothes
damp with freezing dew. I'll walk home with the same groggy glee of spending the
night with a pretty stranger.
The city is at her finest when the thick sea fog wraps itself around the
city. Like a spider web shawl, the churches pull the atmosphere tight around
themselves. The street lights are reduced to a round grey globes of light. The
pavement becomes liquid black. The air is cold and tastes salty and a chill
bites and reddens the hands. Those are the nights I find a barstool near the
window, and write words like these.
Monday, February 02, 2004
Saturday, January 24, 2004
President Olusegun Obansanjo
The Presidency Phase II
Shehu Shagari Way
Dear Olusegun Obasanjo,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the financial opportunities your countryman have offered to me this past year. Unfortunately I could not take advantage of these business ventures. It seems like a national crisis that all these wealthy Nigerians cannot access their millions without the help of random foreigners. The reason I could not help them is that I keep most of my savings in my underwear drawer. Shh! That is a secret between me and you, Olusegun. Don't tell Minister Isa Yuguda (link is not the actual honourable Mr. Yunguna but a close facsimile). I saw a picture of him on the web. I don't trust a man that wears a hat like that. You know I'm talking about. What a Freak! Anyway, here's my toaster, treat her well. Her name is Shirley.
Alright kids, feel free to follow my good example and send your broken appliances to other national leaders. The internet is full of wonderful information. Don't just throw things away. Post them to strangers!
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
There is art and life in there. My guess is radio lady was raised on a diet of Titian and Shakespeare and she is unable to recognise worthy art unless it is clearly labelled and pre-digested for her
Monday, January 19, 2004
Monday, January 12, 2004
This is foremost upon my mind at regular intervals of the day. I work with people full of both. The enthusiasm with which they discuss the most inconsequential minutia of work place trivial staggers my mind. I cannot help being envious. They have found the grail we all seek.
Life if anything is unreasonable1. Two words prove this point. Paediatric Oncology. Yet, we as living creatures still attempt to divine or impose reason and purpose to an existence which clearly has no interest in colouring within the lines. I have tried to find purpose. I sought it in religion, but once you look behind the curtain, the wizard of God is not so frightening and all powerful. Like some of my co-workers, others find it in their vocation. I think they have it right. If you know the universe doesn’t give bonus points for being something we humans hold in esteem (i.e. world leader, holy man, celebrity, or sports star), then why shouldn’t mail clerk be a trade worthy of single-minded devotion. Why is pretending you are a discontented office worker on TV more interesting than being a discontented office worker in an office? Why is the perfected placement of a staple upon a page less worthy of a gallery wall than the conceptual art which usually pollutes those spaces? There is still a part of me that can’t buy it. I can’t see the work I do as anything more than moving this bit of paper from one tray to another. Even if I ignored society’s valuations, I would still rank my work quite low. Street sweepers and zamboni drivers would definitely gain some ranking. Those things are cool.
Again I have scrawled questions which rattle around my head but never seem to answer themselves. Maybe, today I will force passion and purpose into my daily work. We shall see.
1 This is the second time I have used 'life is'. I will try to refrain from this in the future. This is also the second time I have used a footnote. I will not refrain from this. They are fun.
Friday, January 09, 2004
- I sign everything ‘cookie monster’. Credit cards, legal documents, anything. This has never been a problem. Cashiers still check the back of my card against the ‘cookie monster’ scrawled upon the receipt. Once again I think it’s the suit. My badge of respectability. ‘Well, if the nice man’s name is ‘cookie monster’, who am I to argue. After all, they wouldn’t let a fraudster wear a suit.’
- I overreact to every leaflet hander, Garunga1 and petitioner that approaches me on the street. The Garungas won’t approach me anymore. I think it was the repeated and enthusiastic shouts of ‘Cowabunga’ from across the street and the insistence on piggy back rides. To the question, ‘would you like to sign our petition’, I usually shake my head violently, shout ‘no!’, and clench my head like it’s about to explode.
- I lie when it is not neccesary. ‘How was your day?’ ‘Terrible. My dog Shakey died.’ ‘I’m sorry to hear that.’ ‘Thanks. What the hell am I going to do with a half
full bag of dog food? You want it?’ ‘Uh. No. thanks.’
- I act suspicious in stores. When I am in a shop by something, for example socks, I don’t just carry them to the check out. I act like I am going to steal the socks. I look around cautiously and then furiously shove the socks down the front of my trousers. I give another furtive glance around me, and then proceed to continue shopping nonchalantly. It really makes the security guards day. I like to get two or three following me and whispering into their walkie-talkies before I get into the checkout queue with the suspicious bulge in my pants and the rest of my shopping.
1. Garungas are the Hindu Amway. They try to sell you books and music with the ferocity of telemarketers. They usually prey on old ladies who will give them a bit of change just to get them to leave her alone. The only way to placate them is to say the word, ‘Garunga’. Which I think is some sort of binding contract for your soul. P.S. does your online journal have footnotes? I don’t think so.