Today is August of 2021’s final day, the 31st, a Tuesday. Tuesday’s child – what are they, full of grace? Or maybe they’re lost, out in space.
Sun popped in on us at 6:34 AM. Expect it to hang around and bring moderate warmth — in the eighties — until about 7:47 PM.
A strong and sustained wind blew in from the west yesterday. Cleared the air. Improved our air quality all the way from an extremely unhealthy rating to a moderate. Woo hoo. This was an hour before sunset. Dinner had been et. So we went for a walk. My wife only wanted to go so far due to her RA foot issues but I pressed on. Ended up walking two and a half miles. Coming back, walking toward the east, a huge smoke bank was visible. Gray and blue highlighted with air. My guess is this was the smoke being blown out of our valley. Horrifying, fascinating sight. If the wind shifted to the other direction, that would all pour back in on us. Also, while we were free, how people in that area must be suffering. Wasn’t far: just the end of town. Less than a mile straight down 99. Also, what of all the places in California, Oregon, et al, still on fire. Places where homes, businesses, and forests were still burning down. Also, places where the animals fled, where people evacuated. Couldn’t help but contemplate how miserable, worried, and anxious all of them must be.
I had several crazy dreams last night. Reflecting upon them as breakfast was made and consume and coffee brewed, I thought of crazy songs. Like “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley and friends. Patsy Cline. Ozzy with “Crazy Train”. “Let’s Go Crazy” — Prince. “Crazy in Love”. FYC with “She Drives Me Crazy”. But out of the shuffling came Aerosmith with “Crazy”. Crazy, isn’t it? I thought I’d go with it. Just felt right.
Stay positive, test negative, wear the mask as needed, and get the vax. Here’s the music and my coffee. Cheers
I was at some corporate headquarters. A takeover had just been completed. Two others — women — and I were there to go through boxes of stuff. We were part of the company which had just been taken over. But the boxes were from our old company as well as other companies our new corporate masters had previously taken over.
Our boxes were the usual eclectic mix from a software company that had hundreds of computers and monitors for testing. Cables, keyboards, hard drives, zip drives, cassettes, collateral electronic equipment, and tools — small screwdrivers and pliers for working on computers. We were working in a large, open and carpeted space at the junction of elevators and hallways. People went by as we worked, sometimes stopping to make comments. A fun atmosphere prevailed, one of both nostalgia and exploration.
Others began bringing us other boxes. These were from the companies taken over before. Go through those, we were told. See if there’s anything useful. Take what you want.
Bizarrely, first there were cosmetics and personal hygiene kits. One for women, another for men. They were quite fancy. Apparently, we guessed, those were used as a marketing gimmick, given out at trade shows. Using one of those, I washed my face and hair. Then I moisturized. I walked about, looking for a mirror to see myself. Others brought more boxes from my old company. What’s this stuff? I looked through it. Computer games. Purchased software. Why’d they have thought, they wanted to know. Well, some of it was because they needed the programs to do the work. Other stuff was market research, or about packaging and instructions.
I found a hammer and nail. On a whim, I decided to drive the nail into my skull, on the left front temple, right below the hairline. After a little testing, I decided the hammer wasn’t required. The nail was a ten penny steel nail. Pressing its tip into my skin, I wiggled it until it started going in. Then I pressed it firmly down until only the head and about an eighth of an inch of nail showed. I’d left that amount so that I could get it back out more easily. There wasn’t any pain or blood. A little clear fluid trickled out. Brain fluid, I guessed. I was pretty pleased with what I’d done even as I knew it was a little stupid.
More boxes were brought, providence unknown. Others saw the nail in my head. Why did I do that? To see if I could. Doesn’t it hurt? No. I’m sure it’s doing brain damage, I told others. I thought I should remove it but first, I started going through the newest boxes.
Inside these were men’s clothing. It was expensive stuff. Unused. I wondered where it came from. I asked people who went by if they knew. No one did until a woman going by said, that used to belong to the CEO. He was always buying new clothes. Because he liked clothes so much, people were also always giving him clothes.
I tried a shirt on. It was something beachy. It fit and I liked the style. Keep it, people told me. Take whatever you want. Okay.
I still had the nail in my head. I decided it was time to take it out. Finding a mirror, I seized it between my fingernail and gently pulled it free. It didn’t bleed but a little clear fluid trickled out. More brain fluid, I guessed again.
I wanted to put something on the spot where I’d pulled out the nail and began looking for medical supplies, going through the boxes. There were now so many, we had piles of them all over the place. More clothing and electronic gear was discovered. Games. Other software. Others kept interrupting with questions. People wanted to take some stuff. Go ahead, I said.
I finally found a medicine kit. It was huge. Very fancy. All I needed was a small bandage. I found gauze pads and tape. I was just trying to decide what to do when the dream ended.
- Slippage in my personal use is about losing track. Time. Lists. Progress.
- Slippage is heavy when I’m writing. Clocks disappear from my LOS when I don the writing hat. I’m in that other world. Following characters. Contact tracing cause and effect. Studying dialogue. Typing, typing, typing, typing. Surprise overcomes me when I discover that I’ve been at it for an hour or two. My ass is sore. Numb. Coffee gone or cold. I’m hungry. Writing usurps everything. I feel satisfied when I’m done. And starving to do more. But other matters call.
- Because I have lists. Tasks. Chores. Necessary Actions for Modern Life. Balancing accounts. Paying bills. Buying food. Cleaning litter boxes. Talking to people. Socializing. It’s all so draining. Give me the damn keyboard and leave me alone.
- I tend to avoid writing long posts for these reasons. Keep it short and simple. Use energy for longer stuff for my writing projects.
- I feel like I’m suffering from low energy. Might have to do with the smoky situation outside. I peer outside the window and catch the sunshine and blue sky and become happy. Look forward to a walk. An hour later, the smoke has closed its tentacles on the street. Blizzard-like visibility develops. Step outside. Smell the stench. Feel the nostrils sting. The sinus headache begins. Eyes dry out. Energy fizzles. Spirit implodes.
- Could also have to do with COVID-19. We — our county — is one of the nation’s hotspots. As prominent anti-vaxxers and mask deniers sicken and die with COVID-19, my county’s citizens continue protesting. Masks are not effective, they claim. COVID-19 is not serious in their estimation. The vaccine can’t be trusted. These positions make going to the stores or anywhere else a daunting effort. We mask. Others don’t. Stores don’t enforce masks. They know they’re impotent against the unmasks’ illogical, contrarian positions. Wearying is an understatement.
- Beyond writing, struggling to do the things expected to keep the house and body clean and neat, and the modern demands of being responsible, I spend time reading. Finished Klara and the Sun (Kazuo Ishiguro) last week. I really enjoyed it. Loved the simplicity. The straightforward minimalism. Handed it off to my wife. She took it up and gave me the book she’d finished: The Mirror & The Light (Hilary Mantel). The styles between the books are so different. As are the stories being told. One is futuristic, science fiction. The other is historical fiction. Each are greatly entertaining. My wife wasn’t as fond of Klara as I was. Too much minimalism for her.
- Reading The Mirror & The Light keeps calling me back to C.J. Sansom and his Mathew Shardlake series. Not surprising in retrospect. Both cover the same English period from similar points of view. In many ways, it’s just like picking up two books of any other genre and reading and comparing them. Of course, that’s one reason why I like Lincoln in the Bardo so much or The Underground Railroad. Hard to find books that compare favorably with them. Likewise, how Louise Erdrich is able to tell stories with elegant prose and yet be gritty always amazes me. For crazy story-telling along the lines of ‘look-what-you-can-get-away-with’, I look to Lincoln & Childs and their Pendergast series.
- I’m also an information junkie. We subscribe to the NY Times and several other online periodicals. I must always be aware of time while pursuing information. It isn’t enough to just read their articles; no, I must find other opinions and sources to vet what’s being put out there. Then, of course, there are a dozen bloggers who I enjoy following. Always must track them and their latest.
- I have three cats. All ‘rescues’ or strays. Came to me for a visit and stayed for a life. Tried finding their people. In one case, Papi (our ginger tabby), we knew who the owners were. They left him behind when they moved. Deliberately. Cocksuckers.
- Boo, though, is problematic. Don’t know what went on in his past but it left mental and emotional scarring. Arthritis affects him. PTSD, too. Anything new – smell, sound, visitors, anything – sends him into a frenzy. He snarls and hisses at our other cats. His coat is matted. Embarrassing. Sure it’s not comfortable nor healthy for him. But we’ve only reached the point that he can be petted without hissing or snapping at us. Slowly introducing him to a brush. S-L-O-W-L-Y. Yet, he seeks me out. Sleeps against me. Comes to me for attention and food. Sleeps at my feet when I’m at my desk writing.
- TC — Tucker Cat — meanwhile has matured wonderfully. Went from battling with Boo to gracefully indulging his needs. Walks around him without disturbing him. He, too, sleeps with me. Loves it when I sit down to read. Is beside my laptop now as I type. Where he frequently is during the day.
- On my list of things to do is call my parents. They are divorced. Dad is remarried. Mom has a live-in fiancé . One lives in Pennsylvania. The other is in Texas. Both are retired with health issues. I worry about them constantly. They take appropriate precautions but still. You know, right? Yeah, you get it.
- My wife’s health also worries me. She’s suffered from RA for over twenty years. Wasn’t originally diagnosed, of course. No, that required over a decade of treatments, blood tests, imaging, and doctor visits. She loves exercising and dancing. She’s suffering a flare that’s truncated her ability to do those things. It also gives her foggy brain. She struggles to remember. Spell. Abstract concepts give her problems. So dismaying watching her decline. She’s more social than me. Since she can’t go out per usual (RA, smoke, COVID-19), I’m her conversation partner. I’m not particularly interested in socializing and conversing. Particularly when I’m writing. She’s become fond of Reddit streams such as Am I the Asshole and Facepalm. Feels compelled to share them with me. She’s also almost obsessive about local COVID-19 news and trends and must share them as well.
- Circumstances have curtailed my walking routines. Had a long streak of averaging 11.3 miles per day. I woas driving toward twelve. Then COVID. Then, smoke. I sometimes mask and go for a walk but always preferred walking when I had concrete destinations. Coffee shops to write was my standard. I do miss those days. My average has declined to nine miles per day. Most of it is running in place in the house, which just is not as entertaining.
- Enough of a break. Time to return to writing like crazy. But first, another cup of coffee, please. Black, of course. Cheers
The changing season was seen in today’s sunrise at 6:34 AM. The light angled in a different angle. Struck another part of the wall. Was strong and fresh — we’re relatively smoke-free this morning, again, knock on wood — and warm but not hot. A low moved in overnight, dropping temperatures. Today’s high will be in the seventies before the sun bows out at 7:48 PM. Last night’s low was in the upper fifties. The cooler, fresher air is as welcomed as returning heroes.
Today is Monday, August 30, 2021. A dream about a musician friend is on my mind. He played with Janis so a Janis song is in order. He didn’t play on this song, though. Today’s choice is “Mercedes Benz” from 1970, the last song she recorded.
Stay positive. Test negative. Wear a mask as needed. Get the vax. Here’s the music. Cheers
This dream was all about a friend’s appearance. He’s a professional musician. Been doing it since the late 1960s. He’s on dozens of albums, released some of his own, played with rockers all over the world, and scored movies.
My wife and I were outside. Not our ‘real-life’ home but it was our home. Lot of green grass, bushes, and trees. I looked across the way. Saw D, my friend, the musician. He was in gray shorts and a maroon tee, playing basketball on outdoor court. Dribbling, hook and jump shots, three-pointers, passing, doing it all in an impressive way. Never missed a shot. Never blocked. And no one scored on him.
My wife and I reacted, “Wow, look at him. Who knew?” Amazing to see him out there, lean pale body flashing, shock of silvery white house fluttering with action, that ready grin on his face.
She and I went back into our house. Had to prepare to go somewhere. Glancing out the window, I thought I saw someone working on the neighbor’s lawn. I thought it was D. Made no sense. He’s a musician, not a landscaper.
We went back outside, leaving the house, going for the car. I told her, “Wait.” I checked the neighbor’s yard. Yes, lawn work was being done. Bushes and trees trimmed. Grass cut. Driveway and walk edged. A vehicle with a trailer of equipment was parked at the curb. There was D.
I called his name. He turned. Waved. “You’re doing yard work?” I asked.
He shrugged. “I need the money.”
I went on and told my wife what I saw and our conversation.