Ohio is cruel and lovely.
Tuscarawas County loves Wal-mart’s convenient one-stop shopping.
Brother and I shot billiards before he left for Europe.
After Coby flew away, I stayed in his apartment pretending I was Buddy Glass.
My neices brought me books and I read to them. One was about a farmer and his boat, and all the animals that wanted a ride. The ending was not very satisfying, but Anni Joy dragging a book across the room and looking up at me expectantly was extremely satisfying.
Old friends are true blue. T and I walked around the block just killing time.
I drove out Crooked Run thinking about the thousands of times I’d driven it before, bending and swaying through the countryside toward home. But I did not go home. I pulled off at the old graveyard and went back to town.
Insert New Year’s here:
I greeted 2009 like this: “5, 4, 3, 2, CHAMPAGNE IN MY EYES!” I did not kiss a girl at midnight. Instead, I spent the first two minutes of 2009 blinded by a beverage. Maybe that’s why there’s no picture.
But there was music. Like “My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year)” by Regina Spektor.
Then, just like that, I had a plane to catch. Suddenly, Ohio felt just fine — warm and kind and lovely. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay right there shivering in the snow. But, I blinked and she was gone.
Time is always teasing me — slowing to a crawl when I want to be somewhere else, racing away when I get there.
I woke up over Kansas… or Colorado, they look the same until you hit the Rockies.
A short layover in Denver, then on to Los Angeles.
Tools for traveling by plane: Canada Dry and Beefeater Gin. Also, Chuck Klosterman essays and Elliot Smith
I took a $40 cab ride from LAX with a man who smelled like cigarettes, looked like Santa Claus, and insisted on relating mildly racist tales of his thwarting robberies. (He got a “sixth-sense about this fella,” so he pretended to put the car in park, but actually put it in reverse. Sure enough, the guy pulled a gun and took his money. But, when the robber tried to step out of the car to flee, our hero stomped the gas and ran him over, breaking his legs. He swears he’d have “finished the job” if the thief had tried anything else.) I was careful to clear the vehicle after I’d paid my fare.
I lugged my pack up the back steps to my apartment on Bronson, feeling worn and threadbare and very far from home. Of course, my unlockable-backdoor was locked. After ten minutes of banging, rattling, tugging, and swearing, I shimmied through this tiny window.
Remember when I got Champagne in my eyes? Leaving Ohio was a bit like that.
But then I went to the theatre and remembered why I’m here. My eyes will go on stinging, but less and less.
I woke at 3:00 in the afternoon feeling full and rested, glad to be awake, like my dreams were restless -- some unnamed apocalypse. The sky is blue through the window, intersected by the gray storage building on the corner, the largest building for blocks, golden in the late afternoon sun.
I stay in my room for an hour or so checking up on what is what, social networking sites and the like.
Thirsty, I mosey out into the cold apartment (I have a small heater running in my room). I check in with the roommates, catch them up on the show last night. It kept me out until 4:30AM, but oddly, not drinking. We failed to catch the 2AM beer call because we were too caught up in the barrage of comedic bits and commentary that plague us Upright personalities. Jefferson was skateboarding and Mitchell pee’d his name on the wall. After 2, liquor was the only resort. I declined, remembering last summer when my father found me sleeping at a card table. After a certain hour, whiskey is masochism. And, some nights you just want to make it to your own bed, your own heater purring in the corner.
Just now I’m remembering that dream that woke me. I'll spare you the account, since I've audibly objected on more than one occasion when even dear friends begin describing their dreams. No, dreams belong to the dreamer, terribly fragile things that they are, all but falling apart when organized or retold. Best leave those dreams where I found them, Over There, before I breached, insulated from my conscious mind mucking about, trampling intuition with interpretation.
The light has changed -- Still the faint golden glow, but a moment earlier, my room was lit like a Christmas ornament by nothing but the low and golden California sun in December.