Friday, April 28, 2006

I might of mentioned him before but there is a guy that wanders around city centre that walks around blowing quick raspberries to fellow pedestrians. I had been told about him awhile back. He'll be standing at a crosswalk with a crowd of people or in amongst the commuting throng and make a fart noise with his mouth. She said that's all he does, he never speaks, just blows raspberries and she sees him doing it at all times of the day. She mused about the other people's confused looks as they tried to determine the source of the flatulence. Several weeks later, I was walking with my friend when she spotted the Raspberry man. She discretely pointed him out, and when we crossed paths in the intersection I blew a raspberry at him. His reply was, "Good day, sir." and he tipped his hat like a gentleman.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I have just returned from an unsuccessful sojourn into the dark heart of what the natives call Liverpool. I was there for a job interview and it went well until they quizzed me on my Beatles trivia knowledge. I don't know if I was just hyper-attentive but I could have sworn every restaurant I ate at played some track from those four guys. It is a shame I really liked the environment there it. I knew a lot of people at the department and the big boss seemed like a man I could do business with. La vie, C'est comme ca.

Once I was politely told that I interviewed well but the Prudence referred to in the 1968 song was in fact Mia Farrow's sister and the job would go to another, I was free to wander around the city. It's a nice city. Filthy. But nice. My major complaint was that most people seemed intent on taking the piss out of this one regional accent. Every where I went they were speaking in this comical accent. I knew they were not making fun of my accent as when a Brit wants to mimic an American accent they inevitably sound like a Texan with Downs Syndrome. It turns out the accent so ridiculed was their own and they weren't making fun of it. They really talk like that. I couldn't help stare at people in queues and the train station.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I saw Jimmy the drunk today. I have a sneaking suspicion that he may be on the sauce once again. As I sat at the bus stop I saw him cutting a jagged path along the pavement on the other side of the street. He was oblivious to people trying to predict which direction he would veer and plot their course accordingly. Inevitably, he would still nearly topple onto them as if his drunken stagger attracted his body towards others. Sometimes this accidental contact would result in effusive apologies from him other times equally extravagant abuse would ensue. He spotted me and blindly crossed the street, paying no heed to the honking horns or hand gestures. He fell to the bench beside me as if he'd been pushed. You all right, pal? neigh bother, pal. He then told me he had got some work doing security at a warehouse. The boss let him sleep there in exchange for making sure no one got in and made off with any of the stuff inside. But. Turns out the boss was a poof. Now Jimmy's not prejudiced or anything. He keeps himself to himself, see. But, this guy got the wrong idea and when Jimmy rebuffed his advances a scuffle ensued. Jimmy got a black eye in exchange for his honour remaining intact. Then without a segue, Jimmy unsteadily set himself upon his feet and moved off again. The last thing I saw was him sneaking up behind a parked taxi. He bent down behind the cab and sneaked up to crouch below the window of the driver who was happily reading his newspaper. Jimmy then jumped at the window with an exaggerated and ineloquent roar. I could not help laughing with Jimmy as he hurriedly staggered off while the cab driver attempted to regain his composure, undo his seat belt and get out of his cab all at the same time.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I have a habit of polling people about their earliest memory. It is a fascination of mine and it takes only the slightest acquaintance with a person for me to ask this question. As such I have accumulated a number of interesting observations. Women tend to have the earliest recollections. One lady I asked remembered seeing the face of her father peering down at her in her crib and giving her a bottle of milk that had unfortunately gone off. She recalls his confusion and how he attempted a few more times to give her the spoiled drink she kept refusing.

The reason for my fixation is obvious. My first memory is still vivid and terrifying to me. I cannot explain the experience. The few people I have attempted to tell have greeted the story with obstinate disbelief. I quickly learned the futility and am only embolden here becomes of the relative anonymity of this online journal. It matters less that these words are disbelieved because by the time they are read I will have moved on and forgotten them. I’m probably taking a nap or watching people from the bus by the time these words enter your head. That troubles me much less than repeating the experience to another person face-to-face only to have them look at me askance and question the details of the story as if I am trying to sell them stolen goods.

I don’t recall the exact age. I can determine that I must have been between four and five only by connecting the house and yard from my memory to family photographs and discussions with my mom. She also remembers the incident but only that she found her only child lying on the sidewalk in front of the house screaming and hysterical with only a few scratches on his hands but could not discover any comprehensible explanation from the child. “Boy, you gave me a fright. I thought you had been bitten by a snake. I stripped you down and look all over to see where it got you. Nothing. Just you crying and blubbering. You always were a weird child.”

Our neighbourhood was full of miserable old people who lurked behind their curtains in the hope that I may stray upon their lawn and give them excuse to push their face to the glass and hurl abuse at me which were muffled inaudible and only appeared as momentary fog upon the windows. For this reason, I tended to stay in my own yard and played quietly by myself. I was doing just that in this memory. I see from my own childhood eyes playing with a little metal car along the cracks of the sidewalk. My black firebird sped along the cement fissure highway and I was oblivious to all other things. Soon I felt the pressure of the wind like when you put your hand out of the car window. This continued to increase until I started to be afraid. I looked around but nothing else seemed affected by this constant and forceful wind. It was not a natural wind that ebbs and flows in intensity. It continued to gather in strength until I fell to my belly and held onto the sides of the sidewalk. I dug in my hands searching franticly for purchase. Then as if a switch had been thrown, the wind became a roar and I felt my legs begin to lift as if I would be thrown into space if my hands lost their grip. I saw the cloudless blue sky be wiped away to reveal the cold black space. Stars streaked into bright yellow lines. I could no longer see anything but those distant stars streaming past. There was no longer any house. No front porch. No pecan tree. I could not even see the sidewalk that I felt pressed against my tear and sweat streaked cheek. The scream of the wind completely drowned my own howls that tore from my throat. I shut my eyes tight and I began to feel an irregular tug lifting me upward. Something was pulling me away. My fingers started to lose their grip and as they did and I sped upward, it was over.

I opened my eyes to see my mother’s frantic face and watched her pull the screen door open to enter the house.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

There are books I read and reread as the faithful read their scriptures. They and I find it replenishes a momentary deficiency of faith. It reinforces the belief that man is capable of attaining things greater than that which seems possible from these humble organisms our souls inhabit. In times of doubt and uncertainty I know for the believer that providence presents them with the exact passage that best addresses the issue that confronts them. I seem to find the same serendipitous solace in literature. Currently, Ask the Dust by John Fante is providing the answers that I seek. It has given me answers better formed than the questions I have posed. Fante has foresaw my troubles and wrote their solutions down generations earlier and they give me guidance today. Surely this is as divinely inspired as the revelations written thousands of years ago that still give the devout of today peace.

Where I was found wanting, Arturo Bandini has provided. Amen.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"As one judge said to another: 'Be just and if you can't be just, be arbitrary.' " - William S. Burroughs

Sunday, April 02, 2006

He sat leaning against the seat back in front of him. His arm was draped over and you could read the letters of H-A-T-E on each knuckle. Instinctively you look to the other hand to read the punchline, but no L-O-V-E is found there. Did he have no love to match his hate? Or did he simply lack the attention, the time, or the cash to complete the tattoo. The tattoo was old, having become a dull and unfocused green blue. The E was significantly more faded than the other letters, and a cursory glance would be a sufficient excuse for thinking his fingers read 'HAT'. What strange possible explanations you contemplate when considering a man with a fist that read 'hat'. Could it be that whole word or maybe upon the other hand letters completed a term that four fingers alone could not contain. You could have the whole bus ride trying to think of four letter prefixes to H-A-T.