Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Mysterious Universe

Someone who is close to me, let’s just call this person Zen, has put in his years at work and gradually spent more and more of his leisure time in his comfy chair. He told me he woke up one morning wondering why he had dreamed about his coworker Jim, who in the dream had come into Zen’s office to ask a question, just an ordinary question about work.

The next morning Zen spotted Jim going into someone else’s office. Jim was wearing a herringbone vest, a garment Zen did not remember seeing except in the dream from the night before. He knew then that Jim was going to come into his office and ask him a question. He knew the question Jim would ask.

And it came to pass. Jim in his herringbone vest entered Zen’s office and asked the mundane question about work that Zen had dreamed of.

Which explained to Zen the problems he had been having occasionally. He would think he had completed a task only to discover it undone. Obviously he had been dreaming as he had done those tasks, which created some confusion in his waking routine.

It is known to the physicists that if we travel at the speed of light, we move into the future. There are some spiritualists who believe our consciousness can leave our body and make trips on its own.

So Zen’s dreams pose for me a couple of questions.

Why, if Zen’s consciousness is capable of leaving his body at night and traveling at the speed of light, doesn’t it seek more exotic locales than his office, where he has gone for the past twenty-five years in order to pay the rent?


Is it this same disinclination to go time traveling that keeps Zen from, just occasionally, taking a vacation, traveling at the speed of the interstate, and seeing something more exotic in this dimension while he is awake?

Friday, February 27, 2009

LBS (Leaky Brain Syndrome) Reversed…I’m telling you because it amuses me.

I have been reading Harriet Doerr’s Stones For Ibarra. It’s the only book I’ve ever finished and actually started reading again immediately, though I am not sure why I am doing so. The chapters, originally short stories in themselves, stop, like life does…open ended, and open to the the connections we cannot grasp. While I’m reading I’m transported to Sara Everton’s Ibarra, among the nopal and the maguey cactus, the stunted trees: the ash, the olive, the pepper, the jacaranda. One reader on Amazon complained 'All the characters in this book are very one dimensional. You "see" what they do and "see" where they live, but you don't get much below their surfaces.' As if you know your own spouse, child, parent, cousin, store clerk. As if you read the name of vegetation you’ve never seen, and know it. Still, I am there in Ibarra, waiting for that exploding moment that leaves me with nothing to cling to, that opens some essential vein in the universe.

Sometimes instead of reading, I watch television with The Boyfriend. Lately I’ve been trapped by David Duchovny’s Californication. In one episode Hank Moody takes his problematic father to the airport. “What’s this?” the father asks. “A tree?” Hank replies (the father is definitely not the only problematic character).

It’s a jacaranda, says one part of my brain. Immediately another part jeers. A jacaranda? Where did that come from? You don’t know what one looks like. You don’t even know how to pronounce it. Jacaranda? Ha!

Later in the program, after the father has died, after Hank has returned home, he asks his estranged partner the same question. “What’s this tree?” he says. The camera zooms into the ferny leaves, the clusters of lilac-colored blooms. It looks like a pine with rhododendron blossoms to us. “It’s a jacaranda,” she says, and reaches out to lightly touch a flower.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Big Box Store Story #1,127

"You look tired," said the customer third deep in the line.

"Me?" said the clerk. "I'm always tired."

"What happened to that guy?" asked the customer.

"What guy?" said the clerk.

"You know," said the customer. She lowered her voice. "Your baby daddy."

"Him," said the clerk, sounding a bit chirpier. "He broke parole. He back for 2 1/2 years."

"2 1/2 years?"

"Yeah," said the clerk, "I don't know what they're going to do about that murder charge."

postcard from a resale shop in Raleigh, North Carolina, found in a book I’ve long not read


This beautiful view is of Kona’s beautiful Hulihee Palace and the Mokauikalla Church.

This the church where I saw the Hawaiian (Soreau (?) parents of bride)—She had on long white lace over taffeta, by the way—typical U.S.—Her very heavy mother in vividly bright acquaish blue, full long dress, fitted at top with big ruffle around low neck & bottom of skirt, wept throughout.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Just a little fun with LBS (Leaky Brain Syndrome)

Which is what the Boyfriend and I call those incidents when other people seem to read my thoughts, even though they don’t know they are reading my thoughts. If I don’t fall off the blogging wagon again, I’m going to be writing more about this because it’s weird and more fun than television.

Eight years ago I received a small beaded coin purse from an old lady. An OLD lady. It’s the sort of thing an old lady or a strange child might enjoy, or a family member might toss in the trash while cleaning house. I admire this coin purse, and every time I use it, I think of the OLD Lady, and the people who might enjoy such a coin purse, and I always think someone else like me might comment on it, because I comment on things that catch my eye, only nobody ever has, and it’s begun to occur to me that they don’t because they think I’m an OLD lady, so the coin purse is just the sort of thing OLD ladies carry around, thus not worth noting.

This past week-end while I was at the hospital and getting weary and lacking a bit of stimulation that wasn’t the stress of just not worrying about my brother-in-law, plus so continuously running the hospital maze of halls I thought my name was Alice, I stood in front of the Cups bar and thought (very strongly)….where are my people? (don’t worry about that question…it’s on the list for later blog vagaries). I will know the next person, or rather the very first person who will have ever commented on my coin bag is a member of my thought commune.

And just as soon as this silent declaration of thoughts ended, the twentish person behind the counter said, “That’s a wonderful coin bag. I love it.”

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Let's All Ride 'Em, Cowboys

My brother-in-law had chest pains on New Year’s Day, but they were nothing a donated nitro capsule couldn’t fix. The earliest appointment available with a heart specialist was the end of February. When the pains returned the first of February, he self-medicated again with someone else’s nitroglycerin. A day later, after he had made plans to drive two hours to the airport and fly home (he lives 600 miles from where he works) to see a specialist there, the pains returned, so he scheduled an earlier flight, worked, drove two hours for more nitroglycerin, drove back to his own trailer, spent the night, went back to work, then drove back to his trailer, so deep in the woods it had no phone service, to lie down and wait it out until his next morning’s flight. He couldn’t wait it out. He had to drive himself the dark miles back into town to the hospital where the intake clerk was gossiping with co-workers. “Darlin’,” he said to get her attention, “I’m having a heart attack.” When she didn’t seem to comprehend this man on his feet, not on a stretcher, needed immediate assistance, he repeated himself, “Darlin’, I’m having a heart attack, so I suggest you get off your ass and get me some help now." Within seconds the area around the front desk was swarming with emergency personal.

In those long anxious minutes we were waiting on the other side of a phone, we had no word from the last call on the road until another sister-in-law arrived at the hospital and asked for him. “He’s the one,” the intake clerk said, her eyes big. Ohmygod, the sister-in-law thought. “No, no,” the clerk said, “he’s alright. He scared me.” And you just scared me, the sister-in-law thought.

He scared us all.

But he’s fine, after a transfer to a larger hospital, after the heart cath and the stint (the intake doctor had to turn away when my brother-in-law said he had taken five nitros and they hadn’t helped—I know she didn’t want him to see her swallowing the incredulous laugh I saw flashing across her face), after the too much blood thinner, after the recovery.

“At least now I know how long I’ll live,” my brother-in-law told my sister. She listened intently, awonder that somewhere in all the jumble of his three-day-heart-attack this significant revelation had arrived. “How long?” she asked.

“Now I know for sure,” he said. “I’ll live until I die.”

So say we all. Let’s do it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This moment

Today began overcast, with a wild wind and a surging rain. Inside, I was tired and sweaty. The wind has passed, bringing spring coolness to the air. The white camellias have burst into bloom.

Still I am inside, throwing out forty years of detritus.

All of it, the wild wind, the rain, the brilliant coolness, the camellias, forty years—illusive and so brief.