Friday, December 06, 2002

Vernissage

“What the fuck…?”
“I think it’s a heart—push the red button.”

Thick red liquid oozes up through plastic tubing circling the metallic, fist-sized object. It squirts out an opening and is collected in a tray at the base. We move down to the next pedestal.

“Uh…”
“It’s a commentary on the Patriarchal nature of our society.”
“It’s a fucking box of laundry soap.”
“But, note the chains…”
“…right…”
“I know.”

We shuffle on to some black and white photos along the next wall.

“What the fuck…?”
“I think she’s dancing…maybe…”
“Is she covered in…?”
“I think it’s just mud.”
“We’re done.”
“Cool.”

We head straight across the middle of the long room for the table against the far wall. The table is covered in a pristine white cloth. Rows of tiny, stemmed plastic glasses cover the corner nearest us. Beside the plastic stand a half-dozen bottles of wine.

“What d’ya think?”
“Too risky.”

The crowd is still thin and absorbed in the brilliance of young minds. We move easily down to the next collection: beer and big plastic cups. There’s no one bartending at this point—idyllic conditions. Glenn steps in front of me and turns away.

“Beer is yours.”
“Why me?”
“You have the parka—stronger pockets.”
“Fuck…”
“C’mon…I’m getting the food.”
“Yeah, but we have Ziplocs for that—I hate clinking.”

I do a lightening quick load—I feel like a magician—five beers disappear into my coat. I grab another and pass it to Glenn. I reach for one more and the hiss and pop of our caps is almost simultaneous.

We move casually down the table to the trays of food. The manoeuvres are repeated with me turned out to face the visibly self-conscious mingling and self-congratulatory conversation. Thank Christ no one we know has appeared yet.

“How’s it goin’?”
“Almost done.”
“Pick up the pace man.”
“Okay, okay…fuck...done.”

The last word is muffled slightly by a crammed in piece of cheese.

We sidle back up the table to the beer. Again, simultaneously dropping our empties back down and reaching for another. We turn our back to the table and hoist the fresh bottles.

“Cheers.”
“Good work man.”

A couple more beers and we stagger to the subway—mission accomplished.



Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Smoking

This is the 30th time I’ve sat down to write one of these things. The 30th time I’ve faced the terrifying spectre of a blank, white…space.

You people out there have been remarkably tolerant—even supportive—of my ramblings. It’s been a strange feeling for me to connect with people over these little things. I thank you.

By way of thanks, let me tell you a story:

A boy—all dressed in faded black—sits by himself drinking coffee and smoking hand-rolled cigarettes. Smoke drifts lazily up to the stained ceiling of the tiny café. He’s got a worn fake-leather notebook open on the table in front of him. The page is completely blank—it sparkles.

His mind drifts endlessly. It’s a couple hours until his next class. He’s never really had to study all that hard, so it doesn’t even occur to him do any work during this lull. He looks at some of the magazines littering the table, but doesn’t reach for any. He looks up briefly at the pretty little Asian girl sprawled on the couch reading. He’s seen her in the café a few times but never approached her—she smiled brightly once.

His inertia at this point is almost absolute.

He had planned to write. To capture in his notebook all those brilliant thoughts that seemed to clamour to be heard—especially in bars over a few quarts. Ideas for movies…books...art…about art…

The boy is still too young to feel at all self-conscious about these thoughts. All of his friends discuss art with him as if it was of earth-shaking importance. The world of his school is just insular enough to make him think—from time to time—that the world at large cares as much about these things.

Still, he just sits there. All that he really accomplishes that day is the consumption of a nerve-rattling quantity of coffee and enough Drum to yellow his fingertips. His pencil never touches the page. After a couple hours, he gets up. He tucks the notebook into a pocket in his trench coat. He glances at the girl on the couch but she doesn’t look up from her book—he’ll see her a few more times but never learn her name.

In another six months he’ll have dropped-out of school altogether.

Sun Tzu once wrote: “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”



Monday, December 02, 2002

Long Gone Daddy

As of tomorrow—December 3, 2002—Urban Haiku will be found at this address:

http://acornell664.tripod.com/blog/

'Cause I'm still too damn cheap to pay for hosting.

Thanks to those of you who join me regularly—I hope you'll follow me on to the new address.

Do you really have anything better to read on the web?



Sunday, December 01, 2002

Maudlin

I had a great chat a couple nights ago with the Mango-man over pizza and beer. We discussed blogs at length. Many of his ideas and comments are still percolating in the back of my brain. We both agreed that blogs shouldn’t consist of the kinds of crap you might find in a typical journal entry. That sort of self-indulgence should be saved for the greasy little diary kept under your mattress.

We both agreed whole-heartedly on this point. Now, it’s a couple nights later and I’ve had a couple drinks.

How do I convey these feelings accurately? How do I explain the worst feeling in the world and the best feeling in the world—happening moments apart? The warmth that spreads through me as my 6-year-old clings to my neck and whispers “I love you daddy”, is unlike any other emotion I’ve experienced.

This is quickly followed by that last little wave on the doorstep, as I leave him at his Mother’s place. This isn’t really a feeling, as such. It’s a kind of reinforcement of an existing loneliness: the pathetic headspace of the divorced loser. It’s the crack of your bones being crushed by that loneliness.

You’ll never understand until you are there, in the car, looking back.


 


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