What we have here is a failure to communicate.

He: “I beg your pardon?”
She: [repeats]
He: “I’m sorry, I still didn’t get that.”
She: “What are you, deaf?”
He: “Um, increasingly so, yes.”
She: “You just don’t listen.”
He: “You were talking fast and mumbling, and there was background noise.”
He: [shouting downstairs] “Bye honeybunch, have a nice day. By the way, does it bother you when I call you ‘honeybunch’?”
She: [shouting from the bathroom upstairs] “I beg your pardon?”
He: [shouting a little more loudly, repeats verbatim]
She: “What?”
He: [Changes angle of head so he's pointing mouth as directly as possible towards bathroom upstairs] “Does. It. Bother. You. When. I. Call. You. Honeybunch???”
She: [aside to daughter] “What’s your father saying?”
He: [at slightly reduced volume] “Glorkblerggagangblerk.”
She1 and She2: “We can’t understand you.”
He: “Glorkblerggagangblerk!”


This is no one you know. She tells me she is afraid of dying lately. And me, I feel as if it’s the end of the world, as if these are the end times, just unreported and not brought to you by any particular sponsor; but I don’t tell her that because it has nothing to do with her feelings, first of all, and second I always feel like this so it wouldn’t be interesting.

Not afraid of death, afraid of dying; she said dying.

Sometimes I feel like that. As if some great peril were passing through. Something invisible not necessarily because it’s invisible or undetectable, but because I’m blind to it, or we are. And sometimes, like this morning, the world is so beautiful that it nearly inspires grief.

Things were very simultaneous again and equidistant this morning.

The fog was to blame, primarily. It puts you in that mood. But also, friends grieving because someone killed themself or someone else tried to, meanwhile that crazy appendix goes over the Niagra Falls “because he’s depressed” and survives, meanwhile an ambulance full of dynamite blows up in front of a Red Cross office somewhere, if I understood right, meanwhile the sun looks like a cold piece of asian candy shining light peach-yellow through that fog and we have four seasons at once – cold and white like winter – it looks as if the fog would freeze in tiny splinters on the trees and powerlines and fences if it were a degree colder – and autumn with the trees changing color and spring because things are still so green and seem to be thawing and summer because my heater is so fucking hot. The fog mutes colors, and I nearly hit a pedestrian dressed in the color of fog, but miss him, the trees are light brown and fade magically into the distance and traffic is not so bad but heavy enough that I can’t be looking for deer this morning but they’re probably hiding out from hunters deep in the woods anyway today.

The sun hangs there like a piece of cold, light yellow peach Asian candy but as the fog thins it gets brighter without changing its color until it’s a hot yellow peach flare and you don’t look at it directly anymore. I am safely ensconced in my little capsule of peace, smelling of aftershave, my daily hour of solitude as the sun grows brighter.

Today I’m not afraid of dying, I don’t know how my friend is feeling; I’m not fearless, but not afraid of anything special.

Penal colony

I found a copy of Kafka’s “Penal Colony” online yesterday, in German, and printed it out, intending to read it before going to bed. I left it laying around the foyer and Beta apparently read it while I was at my cello lesson because when I got back she was curled up in a little ball in the far corner of the living room, behind the curtains down next to the radiator where it’s warm.

Live and learn. Never leave Kafka strewn about where kids can find him! Or they’ll be all like “Dad! What’s this skinny dead guy doing in the library!” and you’ll have to explain.

Except, Beta wasn’t curled up, she was in my face as I tried to get some of Alpha’s good pumpkin soup in the kitchen. “What was that story?” “Oh, you read it? That was classic literature, pal.” “That poor soldier!” “That poor soldier was all of us, in Kafka’s opinion. Our verdict is never revealed to us, just written into our flesh. What a view of life, huh?” “What a downer. I thought he was going to strap the traveler onto the bed at the end. But…” “He got in himself. Yeah. I haven’t read that story in like over twenty years.”

I didn’t finish it last night, either. In that article I link down below, Kafka is said to have written most of his stuff in bursts, believing that was the way literature should be written. He would have loved the metamorphosism challenge.

    “My name is Franz and I will be writing a story about a man who jumps off a bridge and another about a man on trial only he doesn’t know what for. My special hardship will be I’m dying of tuberculosis and have woman trouble and live with my parents and trying to write while my dad insists I get some fresh air and why don’t you eat some meat finally and Max is always nagging at me to put these short stories together into a novel finally, ‘Franz,’ Max is like, ‘Franz who’s gonna pay good money for parables? And are you gonna date Milena or not cause if you’re not, give me her number cause she’s hot.'”

Web research

Poll at D’s. Everyone go there now and vote. Highly scientific.


The hummingbird feeder was empty again. I was standing in the kitchen looking at the empty hummingbird feeder hanging from the eaves outside the window. It was swinging slightly in a breeze that was beginning to pick up, swinging slightly and I was looking through the drawers for the sugar to mix some sugar water when I heard him in the next room, whispering again.

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Food and time

Survived the cottage cheese on Saturday. My family voted for me to just throw it away and, if necessary, claim that I’d eaten it, but a vote is a vote. My theory that my car was as cold as a refrigerator seems to have held up, because I didn’t get sick.

I made a pizza on Sunday. I make a bread dough for the crust, which is thick and I mix sliced black olives into the dough so it’s extra tasty. Gamma doesn’t like cheese, so one corner is without cheese. A different corner is here on my desk right now. It’s currently about 8.30 am, or 9.30 am body time, and I’ve already eaten half the cold pizza that was for my lunch. It’s not going to make it to lunchtime.

If you give someone $100 in the spring, and they repay you in autumn, traditionally they give you a little more than the original $100. This is called interest. If you take just the original $100, or less, or nothing at all, you are a sucker, under normal circumstances.

Yet we are supposed to think it is perfectly normal to give them an hour of our time in the spring, and receive nothing more in the autumn than that original hour. Has it occurred to you what a ripoff this is? Every autumn, we should be setting our clocks back not one hour, but a little more. 65 minutes, say. Someone has been amassing a huge hoard of time at our expense. It’s time this scandal was rectified. We need to file a class-action lawsuit for, say, eight weeks of paid vacation for everyone who’s been living under a daylight-savings regime, plus institute the practice of time-interest from now on.