Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I wonder why Yoko Ono never got remarried

(Michael Schmidt)

I get to work from home today. A storm has moved in and everybody agreed that it would be best for me to stay in Sonoma. My supervisor and I agreed, that is. The "everybody" that matters. The drive is too long and difficult in the rain. Hurrah!

That is all that I have to report.

Being a parent is a lot like being retarded. Your afternoon plans consist of looking at ducks, maybe eating an apple. 

Ah, that reminds me... There is a little bar here, near where we live. It pretends to be a pub, but it is just a local bar, serving mostly beer and a few wines. They keep a good rotating selection of beers on their 32 taps and it is not unpleasant in the afternoon to stop and have a beer or two. Once the evening comes it becomes less agreeable for me and more like a sports bar. The music gets louder and aggressive and the patrons are greatly reduced in variety and age, though not in any magical sense, they are merely replaced by a younger crowd. An obnoxious crowd. But, in the daytime it can be pleasant. There are several locals that I have come to know and enjoy chatting with, farmers and local artists. All sorts of oddballs and human curiosities.  

However, there is one patron that I generally try to avoid. Ann. She is one of the local drunks, eccentric in all of her behavior and speech. It is tiring to sit near, or far from, her. She doesn't need your response for her to engage in conversation with you. She will simply repeat whatever is on her mind. Then, after emphatically offering her lone side of the conversation for a while she will then launch into an imaginary response of yours. It would be entertaining if it weren't an indication of early dementia. Though, to her credit, if it is dementia, it is one of the more joyous versions of it I've ever seen. 

The day before yesterday she kept telling the right side of my face that she is moving to Las Vegas. After she seemed certain that I had grasped that detail she went on to explain her reasoning: It is the entertainment capital of the world, where else could possibly be better? She asked the air surrounding my head, looking for answers.

She went on to disclose that she is 69 years old and she wants to die in a place that makes her happy. Why not? She demanded from my profile. She wanted to know: Why shouldn't I?

My silence must have seemed complicit. She announced that she was moving tomorrow, which would have been yesterday. I stopped by yesterday and had two beers, but did not see, or hear, her. Perhaps she is already living the hi-life, being entertained in the way that pleases her most, in the place that was made for it.

Shortly after announcing her Vegas itinerary to me she lapsed into a sort of private revelry involving a newspaper, a pen, and a series of figures created by her using both items. It seemed to me to be a sort of personal proclamation of sorts. She was gesticulating and emphasizing what to her must have seemed like very lucid points, one building upon another. Had I not been able to see from my periphery what she was doodling I might have guessed that she was wrestling with a soon to be great poem. Expressions seemed to be flowing from her in an inspired and dizzying crescendo, all orchestrated from a choir of inner voices.

Instead, when I glanced over to get a better look, at a moment when she was distracted by something other than my complete lack of attention, the newspaper was riddled with figures and structures that stemmed from no known alphabet. It was just a series of what seemed to be quasi-alpha-numeric calculations. Loops and lines all departing, then converging again. An imaginary language, forced on top of the newsprint. Insisting upon its supremacy, vitality and meaning.

These are the sort of people you might find there on any given afternoon. All oddball and human curiosity, some now deeply involved in scripting the arbitrary schematics of their escape.