Monday’s Theme Music

I like watching people, seeing where their eyes move, their non-verbal language, and how they interact with the world. The phone people — PP, or P2, the ones with attention glued to their phones as they walk along — demonstrate little expression or body language. It’s not a surprise; they’re usually totally invested in that little electronic device. They’re interacting with it. It changes when they’re on video, or actually speaking someone, and — of course! — when a selfie is being orchestrated.

As an aside rant, the P2 annoy me when they’re absorbed by their phone and walking. They expect everyone to move aside and look out for them. Sometimes, I’m an asshole, and I don’t move.

Today’s song was inspired by a woman walking toward me. She was quite the haughty person, swapping all with her eyes but avoiding eye contact with anyone. I do understand it more, now, why many women avoid contact that could be misconstrued with others. Many have horror stories about how their friendliness was misconstrued, leading to ugly encounters with men who thought the women were flirting with them.

This woman’s dark eyes struck a chord with lyrics from a past song, “Here comes the woman with the look in her eye.” Before she’d come within six feet, Michael Hutchence and INXS were streaming “Devil Inside” through me. Although this song came out in 1988, when I was stationed in Germany, I’d heard INXS in the early eighties while on assignment at Kadena AB on Okinawa. That’s because I knew some Australian special forces members there. They knew of INXS’ music and introduced them to me. So INXS is forever associated with Okinawa in my mind.

Sad day when I heard that Hutchence had killed himself, thirty-seven years old. He was younger than me by four years, and it seemed astonishing that such a talented, young, and successful person could kill themselves.

I’ve learned a lot since then.

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Choices

He was recovering from his surgery. Blood, of course, kept seeping into the bandages. They told him that would happen.

The surgery’s grogginess was finally gone by the next morning, but he was surprised by how much the surgery limited him. His movements were slow and tentative. Talk about a damn anchor. He felt pain, too, dull, throbbing, and steady.

They’d given him pain killers. He read the label and all of its warnings. Taking hydrocodon ACET 5/325 might make him drowsy or dizzy. “Do not drink alcohol with this drug.”

Well, that was that. He preferred a glass of wine or a mug of beer over some pain relief. Besides, if he took the hydrocodon, he wasn’t supposed to drive. He’d been driving since he was fourteen, beginning on the back-country roads of western Pennsylvania over fifty years ago. Not drive? That was unacceptable. He kept his red Camaro convertible clean and polished. Forget all of his education and work success; driving was one of the foundations of who he was, driving, beer and wine, and rock and roll.

That was him.

It Comes

Slipping, sliding, easing, hiding,

it comes, it comes

bringing warmer clothing out and pushing big rain clouds about

it comes, it comes

pasting new colors on leaves and stripping branches bare,

it comes, it comes

before you know it, you look around, and it’s not coming,

Fall is already here.

 

A Knowledge Dream

This dream could’ve been named a number of things. I first referred to it as the “Born to Run” dream. Then, as I remembered it, I decided the new title was more appropriate.

I was traveling by airlines in America through multiple, crowded airports. After going through Duluth, Minnesota, I went through Fargo, North Dakota. After Fargo, I found myself in a huge building. We’re talking a Superbowl stadium size.

Old, the building was well-maintained, with cavernous but mostly empty rooms except for towering gray cabinets. A woman introduced herself as a director. I was at a knowledge warehouse. Speaking to the air, the director told her staff to assist me with whatever I wanted. She told me to fill out my requests on a request form. The request form should include a learning objective. Catalogs of learning objectives were in the cabinets. I could use them to expedite the process.

Six other students showed up. They’d arrived before me but were coming to meet me and continue with their requests. The director asked me how I got there. After thinking, I said that I’d come through Fargo because that was the best way to get there. After acknowledging that, she departed.

I quickly completed a half-dozen learning objective requests. The other students went off to continue their learning. Thick folders for the first learning objectives soon arrived. Within minutes, I had a stack of them in front of me. Perusing them, I selected one for attention and started reading it as I walked around.

I found myself with a microphone. The warehouse was lit like a stage so I decided to perform “Born to Run”. As I was doing my performance, I realized that security cameras were present. Embarrassed, I quit my performance. Someone was trying to raise me, but I ignored him because I didn’t want to be mocked.

Wandering the warehouse, I soon found myself in wooded thicket. Movement ahead drew my interest. After some investigation, I saw a squirrel, and then a cat, and realized that the cat was chasing the squirrel.

I was summoned back to a meeting room. The other students were there. We sat at a table and talked about our learning objectives. More folders arrived for me. The director called for a few of us to go into another room with one specific folder. It was our choice which folder to bring.

Aha, epiphany. I needed to decide where I wanted to go, and it was a journey to a different, isolated location. I also had the responsibility to educate myself but resources were available to help.

Now, weirdly, the dream ended with “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” by Lesley Gore (1963).

Sunday’s Theme Music

I did a great deal of solitary walking on the beach last week, a wonderful incubator for re-balancing references and energies, and re-calibrating my compass. Many walking songs streamed along in the background of my thinking. I’d heard this song, “Walking in Memphis” (Marc Cohn and the Blind Boys of Alabama, 1991) earlier in the week. The song melded effortlessly into my stream. One specific verse remained with me.

Walking in Memphis
I was walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel?

h/t to AZLyrics.com

The lines’ duality strike me, especially the last, “But do I really feel the way I feel?” Not infrequently, I root through what I’m feeling to discover that what I thought I was feeling wasn’t it at all, and the source for my feelings isn’t always as apparent as the first thing – or the latest matter – or the dominant issue – stalking me. Sometimes, digging and reflection is required to discover what I really feel, and why.

 

Saturday’s Theme Music

I was watching a couple. Twenty-ish white people, they seemed to be going through emotional turmoil. Separated by six feet, they entered the noisy coffee shop. She, a blond, was in the lead with her arms crossed over her belly, casting stoic eyes over the coffee shop population and then the menus on the wall. Taller and darker, he came in behind her with awkward shuffling, moved closer to her, leaned in and spoke. Without answering, she turned, stepped around him, and left. He stood for a moment, staring at nothing as though thinking, and then turned and pursued her.

I watched them through the large front window. They’d come in a new-generation red Camaro convertible. I noticed it as it pulled up, as sunlight flashed off its polish. She didn’t walk toward it, but drifted toward the crosswalk to go across the highway with the same stiff body as before. He watched her, then put his head down and stood for several seconds. As she reached halfway across the road, he went after her, but with a slow pace. Then he looked back at their car, paused in the crosswalk, and continued on after the girl.

I lost sight of them. The red Camaro was still there when my wife and I left. Soft Cell’s 1981 medley of “Tainted Love” and “Where Did Our Love Go” streamed into my thoughts.

 

Bent

He’d meet you with twinkling green eyes, a smile tugging his lips up, and a hand as large as a baseball mitt. Leaning forward, he’d announce, “Pleased to meet you. Hi, I’m Bent.” He always made it seem like meeting you was a special treat for him.

His full name was Bent E. Thompson. The E. was forever just a letter, and wasn’t fronting a name. A man so tall that he was always stooping through doorways, he’d never been in the military but he was as straight and hard as an iron fireplace poker.

Everyone agreed that Bent was as straight as anyone they’d ever met. Yet, after he passed, his swindles, frauds, and schemes started coming out like roaches sneaking out after the lights are turned off. It paralyzed people with disbelief. “Not Bent. Really? I don’t believe it. I’ll never believe it.”

Yet, the proof kept coming out. Funny enough, though, was the epitaph that Bent himself had chosen: “I’m Bent.”

Everyone was always wondering if it was a confession.

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