what was it
there was something
what was it though
was it something about a crow?
i stuck my nose in a spider web
while watering the thistles
that is how i discovered the
writing spider in the back yard
that wasn’t it, either
although it was the biggest and most
beautiful spider i have ever seen up close
and i mean up close
i rode my bike to the train station
i will be retiring some day and
to save money i have been considering
getting rid of my car and riding a bike.
maybe that was it.
my bike is very old.
for a bike.
i used to run my daughters around on it
in a little child’s seat.
they’re all grown up now.
it needed new tires because the old ones
had rotted off
and kept going flat.
so i got cool new tires that never go flat.
and i checked the sky before
going to the train station
because it always rains when i ride my bike
but the skies were blue.
the first thing that happened
the chain fell off the front gear
i got that back on
then the tail light cover
fell off and clacked along
i got that back on too.
my bike is a three speed now
because i can only shift the front gears
the back thing
no longer works.
but that’s okay bc it’s flat
where i live, the landscape.
when i told my family about it
my daughter asked
were you leaving a trail of parts
so you could find your way home?
was that it?
was it that my wife had to give me a ride home
from the station that night
because it was raining so hard?
i don’t think that was it either.
this is driving me nuts.
Tag Archives: aging
what was it
I don’t know if you do this.
Maybe you do this. Maybe it’s universal:
measure all other memories by this one memory you have.
Not necessarily a dramatic or rambunctious one.
For me it is the time I sat in the bamboo patch next to my uncle’s junk pile.
The main quality is one of peace. I was about 3-4 years old, so not in school yet.
No obligations. Summer. Warm – I had a beagle pal cuddling and watching out for me.
I was wearing bib overalls and a felt hat.
Watching chickens, those nourishing animals, scratch in the dirt.
Watching their shadows, and the shadows of the bamboo, playing in the light.
Listening to the sounds the chickens made.
No other humans to make happy or proud or otherwise perform for.
Just the peace. Lots of time. Animals. Plants. Smells. Interesting light.
On the one hand, the current state of things is a convincing argument that old, white men should just STFU for the next couple of millennia.
On the other hand, I am an old, white man who likes to write, if not talk, although I do that sometimes, just not on the telephone, if I can avoid it.
I have been told amplifying non-old, white, man-type people is good. Unfortunately, my megaphone is tiny, but I will do what I can.
I have also been told, for example by my therapist, and other women I respect, to just fucking relax, so I will also be working on that.
When I was younger I read only books (and consumed only art and other cultural output) by heterosexual CIS-males, because it was more relatable for me.
Now that I try to broaden my cultural consumption, that old stuff often feels really shallow when I return to it. Maybe that is just a function of getting older, though.
There was a tweet (? i think?) where an old dude said his hardware was old, white, CIS-male dude, and he was stuck with that, but his software had been updated multiple times.
I guess that’s one thing you can do, get your head out of the seventies, or whatever.
I was talking to someone about the acceleration of time as a function of age, and how to ameliorate it. All I could come up with was mindfulness, paying attention, remaining curious, which I guess you accomplish through meditation and related practices, or doing scary things beyond your fear threshold, or things you love, or things that fascinate you, whatever gets you in the flow. (My only relative who lived to be over 100 was a curious, friendly, artistic type all her life… and an early feminist…)
Concentrate on things you love. What else?
This is good news for me, bc as a person governed by anxiety for most of my life, there are plenty of options beyond my fear threshold. Maybe this world, the old known world that just speeds by, is my safe little lobster trap, while that world, the scary, interesting one, with sharks and mermaids and things with teeth and things that glitter, where time slows or stops entirely, is unknown but has so far not killed me, either.
I mean, both get you eventually.
Maybe I’ll try to talk my wife into skydiving. If it works for her I can try it.
Have you tried something beyond your threshold of fear? What was it? How did it turn out for you?
Establishing shot: Galaxy
Quick zoom from there to face of (anti-virus) masked man as he – walking down crowded sidewalk – realizes he is audibly muttering the word, “idiots”.
Over and over.
His eyes, as he realizes this, express a complex emotion. Like, he agrees with himself, but he hadn’t realized he was saying it out loud.
Saying it at all.
Later someone tells him, I quit reading your bread-baking story halfway through bc bread baking doesn’t… I just don’t bake bread.
Later, someone else he is telling about hiking abruptly changes the topic to the virus.
Yes, he says. The virus.
On his lunch break he walks to the store and buys a sandwich. All the way there, crows scream in the trees lining the street. It feels like a ticker tape parade, just with screaming crows.
That cheers him up.
In the trees.
On a stop sign.
Atop a parked car.
Standing in a gutter.
Watching him from a fence.
A woman zipping down the sidewalk on a scooter nearly hits him from behind. He hadn’t noticed her at all.
Perched on a telephone wire.
He resolves to ask his new therapist what one can do to not be a boring old fart.
Atop a moving truck.
But he knows already. Lose 20 pounds and keep your mouth shut.
Standing in the grass.
Flying over his shoulder so close he feels the wind.
Traffic was light, I was remarking to Gamma when this woman just zoomed onto the traffic circle thing in front of me, necessitating a braking maneuver, which involved a little braking and more honking. I was still bitching about her to Gamma when she stopped suddenly at the intersection instead of going on through and swerved a little and I noticed an old lady on the sidewalk teetering on her bike, trying to hold something and then gesturing at it in the street.
There was a hat in the street. Did she drop a hat?
Some young people were talking to the lady. Then I noticed the old guy attached to the hat, the other people were helping him up. I started to get out of the car but they had it under control, it looked. He was gesturing pretty good, it looked as if he was telling them he had gone off the curb and lost his balance, and toppled right over, like a tree.
He got off his bike and the woman did and they walked off, a little dazzled.
An old guy I know had a flat in front of my house. We got home, and there his car was, with a flat. He started walking to the gas station to get a pump to fill it back up. Come on, geeze, let me drive you, I said.
It wasn’t a bad idea, the way he parks in front of our house he manages to block anyone else from parking there, so it’s totally possible someone got tired of him doing that and let the air out. Or the little boys who scribble graffitti on our mail box let the air out, or something.
When he filled the tire, he left the valve cap in the street. Then I took him home to get his other car. We had to go twice, because the first time he thought he had forgotten his house keys, discovering when looking for them that he had not, in fact.
The next day he picked up his other car, the one with the flat. The tire appeared fine, but the valve caps were missing from all four tires. He figures someone stole them, we figure he mislaid them. He gets so excited when things happen, practically anything.
The other day, I had to google free-associated phrases to find the name of a band I couldn’t remember, one of my favorite bands.
Not, you know, those other guys, from Finland.
With the cellos.
A different band.