Oh yeah, where have I been. The streets are covered with water.† I have been somewhere.† There have been days I could have sworn I was looking for you.† This morning it rained hard and I knew there was not going to be any painting.† Things, all kinds of things, things to be done were piling up as I pursued large messy expensive crafty projects that caused even more things to pile up. Still, it kept my mind off other things. If I stopped, if I paused for a moment to reflect, I had to hurry to catch up again.
I am struck by the cacophony of colors along the road here. I do not think these are typical fall colors. These are deep reds and golds, light greens, blues, and so many shades in betweenÖyes, they are plants going dormant, but the contrast is so sudden that this seems to be composition. I wonder whether I have courage or simply lack it.† I do know the answers to these things; it is that there are so many answers and none of them are obviously wrong.† There is only one thing that people consistently point to me and call sin.
This strikes me as odd.† I am a good Christian boy raised as a Baptist and sent to bible school from the first day I could walk. How can so many of us then turn around and deny that we are products of these religions?† How can we deny these gods that are every bit as much of our basic soul set as the faces of our mothers?† We can, but we lie to ourselves.† These are values we will carry with us to our grave, crematorium, or whatever our final destination turns out to be. We cannot deny them.
I cough. I have been inhaling too much sawdust again without a mask. I get in a hurry and I know these things go better if I take my time with them. My father used to march to the beat of a carefully hand-lettered sign in his tool box: Only those who take the time to do the little things have the patience to achieve true perfection.† Go ahead.† Try living with that. A much better product always results. Something truly twisted and useless. The house is empty today. The house is full.† It is crammed with an incredible clutter.
My daughter is coming to visit for Thanksgiving, bringing boyfriend and three dogs.† I donít know where I will put her.† Tom says not to worry. Who is he to not worry? It will be me who has to deal with it and no doubt him standing at the door telling me I cannot. We have not come to that point yet. We have not come to the point where one of us must truly sacrifice for the other. Where one must give up something truly important for the other. These things are inevitable.† I wonder what we will do.
My eyes are burning.† I wonder if it is the sawdust. What was it this time?† Brazilian mahogany I think.† . What am I doing with it?† I am not completely sure. I am taking a flier, taking a chance. I am abandoning science and putting together things that seem to me that should work together better than they worked in their former combinations. It is possibly to put things together in all sorts of meaningless combinations. Languages are fine devices for doing this.† Language teases us by suggesting arrangements of words to form ideas and questions that have no meaning.
I find myself talking odd sometimes to my ESL students and I think they must wonder what kind of English I am teaching them.† I stop sometimes and try to explain the metaphorical pieces, the idiomatic phrases, the real English they will encounter. Their textbooks are such shit.† Their textbooks, they remind me, are written by my company.† Yes I know. My company has tried to get me to write some of those textbooks and for what they pay and the turnaround time they give the writers to complete them, I understand why they are as crappy as they are.†
My hands ache and I am thinking about equations involving amplifier size and speaker efficiency. I have decided to push the equation not from the amplifier size but rather from the speaker efficiency part.† I have learned to build speakers that can be driven elegantly by five watt amplifiers. You can get some extraordinary five-watt amplifiers very cheaply.† In fact, by definition an excellent five-watt amplifier is easier to design than is an excellent 500 watt amplifier.† It will probably sound better because it will have fewer parts to interfere with one another and it wonít have huge electromagnetic fields.
There are now seven million people in the world. Ha! Fooled ya!† Seven billion people in the world!† Whatís a few zeros? Many would say it is beyond our capability to comprehend the difference between seven million and seven billion. I say in either case that is a lot. The world is a big place.† Populations tend to be self-regulating mechanisms. Mechanism. A little metal mechanical widget with levers and bars.† A clever device that moves according to precise rules to execute a function.† Often designed to perform the same function over and over, they are often used as tools.
It snowed today. It was the first day of snow November 11 for 2011 for this part of Michigan. I have to qualify it in so many ways.† I have already had conversations with other people about this first snow, people from Ohio, from northern Michigan and people from Korea so I do have to qualify myself. The northern Michigan people have had their snow.† Iím not sure but what the Ohio people have too.† We may have beaten the Koreans however.† I look out now, and I donít see any.† A few minutes ago, it was a white rush.
ďIf you would just open your eyes,Ē I heard my neighbor say to his son, and as he watched in disbelief, his son opened a pocket knife and went to work. His only hesitation was which eye to dig out first, going for the left, then the right, then out of exasperation shoving the blade into and levering out the left one. He gasped as it came free. I think it must have hurt more than he expected.† His father was running up the driveway to stop him, but when he reached the boy, the eye was already sliced free.
Iíve gotten up too early again.† If Iím going to be doing this on a regular basis, I could be making money at it.† Iím just not sure.† Iím just not sure if I am going to be doing this on a regular basis.† Iím not sure if I would be making or losing money by the time the tax people got done with me.† And Iím not sure that making money is what Iíd want to be doing with the extra time.† Iím not sure, but Iím betting that it is the antihistamines waking me up in the mornings.
It is a pinch of dťjŗ vu to watch Korea these days. Half of the new Chevroletís manufactured are made in Korea and Seoul could be a Detroit from fifty years ago.† It is interesting to watch the labor unions work in Korea as strike after strike goes down for higher wages.† Already GM is starting to look to China for some of its production facilities, for Chinese consumption of course, yet these were consumers of Korean-made Chevys in the past.† I predict America will someday be the place where the unemployed will be delighted to make Chevys for $5/hour.
My Kindle died yesterday and along with it however many books were stored in it.† There is a lesson here for those who would embrace the electronic storage of anything, including themselves.† Nothing lasts forever.† I fell on my Kindle. I wasnít hurt, but the Kindle was, and I lost my recorded books.† I never used the Kindle to read; I used it as an MP3 player, to play recorded books.† So I replaced it with an MP3 player.† I tried a Sony first, but it was not compatible with my provider, so I was forced to the IPOD, something Iíve been avoiding for years.
Whenever we come here we always get sick.
Iíve tried to tell you that.
I just thought it was a coincidence before.
Are you ready to believe me now?
I donít see how I can ignore it. I feel awful.† How are you doing?
Not much better than you.† I think we should try to find a doctor.
We tried that the last time, remember?†
Yes, he said it was all in our heads.
Much of it is in my head. It feels like a giant bruise.† Do you think we should just go home?
What?† And ruin our vacation?
I was just sitting here fiddling with a button my shirt.† It was the third button from the top.† It was the second button actually buttoned.†
I was just fiddling with a button on my shirt.† It may have been a dark grey button.† I donít see colors very well.† The shirt is dark grey, a diagonal pinstripe sort of thing.†
I was fiddling with a button on my shirt.† I put the shirt on this morning.† It is quite wrinkled. I should have ironed it or at least hung it up after I took it out of the dryer.
We be one hundred words. Oh yeah, we be one hundred words. Itís snowing outside.† Heís typing.† That thing is squawking, but we be the holy hallelujah god blessed one hundred fucking words.† Look at him.† I think weíre going to put him to sleep. Ainít nothiní moviní on him but his fingers. He canít barely open his eyes.† Thatís ok, cuz we gonna be. We gonna be the one hundred words and we gonna go down in perma boil ink as what was down for Thursday November 17, which is gonna be a great day in its own right.
The seventh person is his car,
a 6-year-old white Monte Carlo
in red trim.†
He polishes, adjusts,
fits new accessories,
and fits them again.†
People compliment him on his car,
and he smiles,
flashing his high beams and his chrome wheels
perfect in his pride with Monte.
The night he bashed her,
he spent a half hour
tearing up the streets in anguish,
squealing his tires
and roaring the engine until
the second crash,
and the night swallowed him up.
Now Monteís left front
is completely crushed,
and she is looking her age.†
I never see Monteís boy any more.
Which batch am I working on?† 19.† I am working on batch nineteen.† Let me in> I have uttered the magic word.† I am thinking of the fruit upstairs and how it will sound when I drop it into the blenderóif I drop it into the blender.† I am thinking of the noise of the blender, that I will have to add some liquid, and suddenly the whirling blades at the bottom have become entangled in my teeth, snagging in the lower ones, whirling, catching between, slicing through lip and tongue.† How could I have made such an error?
One of the dogs barks from the garage and I jump.† I literally jump in my chair and I feel my heart twitch in my chest.† This is how it is for me.† I am reactive.† I have come to the conclusion after years of flogging myself for perceived short-comings that a person is who they are and they are best off if they understand what that is, catalog it well, and learn to live within the limits and parameters indicated by that.† There is too much uncertainty these days about what we should be, to listen to external voices.
South Koreaís GNP pushed the Fair Trade Agreement through their parliament today with a 151-7 vote while opposition members set off tear gas to disrupt the voting.† Their discussions have gone this way.† A few people in Korea apparently do not feel the Agreement is fair.† While the overwhelming majority seems to favor it in the government, the minority feel very strongly about it.† Fair Trade is one of those issues for them.† It probably ought to be for usÖought to have been, but far too many fast decisions have been made with long term consequences with too little thought.
Amanda comes today with Ben and three dogs for their Thanksgiving visit.† She brings Dallas who will stay with me over the holiday as she and Ben make their circuit of the rest of the family taking the other two dogs with them.† Dallas is old.† He grew up in this house, and he is comfortable here.† He wonít wander off and get lost here, she explains.† She wonít have to worry about people feeding him junk.† This is all true.† I am surprised at how old he is.† I donít ask any more.† He has gotten to that point.
Dallas has trouble climbing the short flight of stairs to the atrium to sit on the rug like a noble statue guarding the entrance.† These days he is more likely to be mistaken for a throw rug. He follows me around as much as he is able, occupying a nearby loveseat as I write.† He reminds me of my father, who lately seems to be shrinking turtle-like into his clothes.† Both of them have been finally totally overcome by age.† It is not an idea I can turn away from.† I have to look, knowing that this waits for me.
It is Thanksgiving, not a steamy bloated Thanksgiving, but a quiet nicely productive day.† I am thankful today that my children are healthy.† I am thankful that I am learning to be comfortable in my own skin.† I am thankful that my brain has not been cycling wildly out of control and that I have been able to live with it in relative peace and clarity lately.† I am thankful that I have a dentist appointment already scheduled by the end of the month, because I think I have a filling going bad.† I am thankful I can afford it.
Ögive the money to meÖbut the newcomer may break the contract.
That happens sometimes.† But it is a lot of waiting to see what happens.
Öthe subject matter, but the writing is difficult.† It is about genetically manipulated organisms.† There is a real problem.† They outlawed genetically manipulated animals fairly early, but they didnít do anything about plants because they didnít think it would make any difference.† But now people are dying because of genetically manipulated plants.
Basically the whole feed store.
But I heard the GMO products are popular in the statesÖ
Thatís because we donít know about it.
(Tape break #4)ÖI went my friendÖwait a minuteÖ
(footsteps.† A door opens.† There is machinery in the distance. Papers rustling.)
Yes I am sorry again, but I didnít get your phone last Friday. †(There is an echo) I have a new assignment for our team, but I cannot finish it.† I am major busy.)
Have you heard they are moving the government?
(Tape break #5)† I have .. I had a promise with my blind meeting then for Sunday, but I couldnít go there. So I.† The end.
Why couldnít you go there?
My assignment,† and I had anotherÖ
Tape Break #6
ÖIt took five hours by car...
Thatís quite a drive.
We went neighbors to rent bus and it rained.† We went scissors, rock, papers.† I won one time and I drove one time for one hundred kilometersÖ
And you made it back in one pieceÖ
Tape Break #7
Do you like making things?
Yes I do.† I really enjoy making things.
Are you good at fixing things?
Iím very good at things.
Are you interested in sports?
Do you like working with others?
Are you creative?
Oh.† Do you like learning new skills?
There is rain. Has been raining for three or four days now.† It has filled the holding ponds and has begun its slow ascent up the hill.† The city engineers were very good. They were very explicit.† This is what it would cost for fifty-year flood control.† This is what one-hundred year flood control would cost. This what five-hundred year flood control would cost.† We argued with them. The head engineer would not yield.† There was, he said no such thing as forever flood control.† We had simply built our city in the wrong place for that. We fired him.†
It appears to be snowing, but it is not. It is merely dollops of snow plunging from the tree limbs, slowly shaken loose in the gentle stirring of not so much breeze and soft movement of hesitant melt. It is likely to freeze again tonight, and thaw again tomorrow, and snow and thaw and so on. Winter is taking its time, testing us, tasting the land.† It will merely brush by a couple times, casually, possibly stopping to slip fingers through dry hair. †Limited eye contact. It knows there is time yet, plenty of time for that long cold kiss.