Being invisible was just the tip of the iceberg

Suddenly the Invisible Man is besieged by old snapshots.

Snapshots on the walls of his daughter’s empty apartment when he drops off something.

Including one of his wife wearing fairy wings and waving a magic wand while his daughter, as a child, regards the camera with a sober expression.

Snapshots in frames on his desk, or taped to the walls.

Including one of his wife smiling in a blue swimming pool, holding his daughter as a toddler, also smiling.

So much sunshine and smiling.

There are more. In one he carries his daughter on his shoulders. It is from before he became invisible. It is underexposed and he has black hair and a black beard and looks scary. His daughter is hugging his head. They are surrounded by flowers.

(It is the older daughter in most of the pictures, because the pictures of the younger daughter are mostly digital, and lost forever, or somewhere hard to recover).

Looking at all these pictures would be bad enough for the Invisible Man for the nostalgia alone but it’s worse.

The Invisible Man thought being invisible was bad, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. The snapshots goof up time and the Invisible Man becomes unstuck and encounters all his past selves, and the past selves of those he loves.

If you think being invisible is bad – and listen, it is, robbing banks is fun only so long – becoming unstuck in time and encountering all your past selves really sucks.

Because it turns out every single one is a stranger.

Those past selves you remember don’t even exist.

Memory is funny that way.

And in many cases, not every single one of these past selves is someone you’d care to remember.

There is a reason memory does that.

This is why forgiveness is so important.

Because sometime the snapshots add up and time dissolves and then what?

He calls his wife and apologizes.

Water under the bridge, she says.

Sunk cost.

In Russia, cat adopt you

Odin wonders, did kittens have something to do with the loss of his one eye and he made up the story about the spring of wisdom because it sounded more divine?

He wonders, is that what happened to Van Gogh and he made up the whole cut off his own ear story because mad artist sounded better in the 19th century than kitten?

See Odin woke up at 3.30 with a kitten gnawing on his ear, making nomnomnom sounds and purring sounds, and smacking its lips.

It also bathed his entire head as he tried to fall back to sleep.

You ever try to fall back to sleep in the middle of the night with a kitten chewing on your head? he asks the crows.

Of course not.

Of course not. The crows aren’t even there, Odin is just imagining them today. His wife packed him a lunch and he ate it early in his office and now he’s sitting there while workmen drill holes in brick walls on all sides and concrete walls and do other things similarly noisy to floors and ceilings with other power tools.

What say the slain?

Here is what I wish for you: that one day you lay aside the millstone of recognition for just a second and driving down the street, say, you see a young woman walking toward you on the sidewalk, smiling in the morning sunshine, on her way to work, dark hair flowing in the breeze and unaware of you and the sight of her makes you happy and you think, what a beautiful, together, strong, happy, professional-looking, competent, smart, intelligent, interesting, charismatic and unique woman and only then after this objective reaction to a stranger, realize she is your daughter.

What say the hanged?

Seeing yourself at the center of creation is a failure of imagination.

Edgar Allan Poe and The Season of the Tortoise Dish

Edgar Allan Poe wakes from fitful sleep his eyes burning and swollen. He looks at the alarm clock but can’t focus his eyes and can’t find his glasses. He dresses and goes downstairs and looks at the clock in the kitchen which says two in the morning. Upstairs his wife is coughing. He looks for laudanum but they’re all out of laudanum.

A red cat rubs up against his pantleg, covering it with hair. Edgar Allan Poe opens the door and lets out the cat.  In accordance with the Law of Preservation of Red Cats, the other red cat comes in and demands food. Edgar Allan Poe goes back into the kitchen to get cat food because even though it’s too early if he gives the cat food it might let him sleep. If he doesn’t, it won’t.

In the kitchen, he steps into the tortoise dish.

These are the facts of the tortoise dish: it is too warm for the tortoise to hibernate, but too cold for the tortoise to spend all day outside. So the tortoise lives in the kitchen. That’s why there is a tortoise dish in the kitchen. The tortoise dish is full of water. The tortoise drinks from the dish, and walks through it before having a bowel movement.

Of the three nasty things you can do with the tortoise dish, stepping into it turns out to be the least nasty, as it spills the least water. The second-worst is to kick it by accident, which spills more water. The worst is to step on the side, which flips it over and empties it out, throwing algae-and-worse-filled-water a long distance.

Edgar Allan Poe goes back to bed, but the cat he let out is meowing so he lets it back in.

In this manner, he fails to fall back to sleep.

His alarm goes off at 4.30. He gets up, feeds the cats, eats breakfast, makes a cup of coffee and his wife asks him to take out the garbage.

He goes around the house gathering  the residual waste from all the half-filled garbage cans into a single garbage can. When he empties out the bathroom garbage can, something remains stuck to the rim of the bin. He looks closer. It is a sanitary napkin.

He sighs, and reaches to take it, but his wife is walking past and plucks it off and drops it into the other garbage can.

Edgar Allan Poe gathers residual waste from the rest of the bins in the house. He goes outside and empties it all into the large garbage can. The sanitary napkin is stuck to the rim of the small garbage can again. Edgar Allan Poe says, It’s the Tell-Tale Sanitary Napkin, or something. He plucks it off, and throws it away and returns to the house.

He opens the cabinet to get cat treats to lure a cat out of the living room, and kicks the tortoise dish.

Edgar Allan Poe drives his daughter to town on his way to work.

It’s beautiful isn’t it, he says. The weather. Like a new season. Too warm to be winter, too crisp in the mornings to be summer. They should invent a new season.

Dad, dad, dad, says his daughter.

Luwak epiphany

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Photo by Bruce

I was at the doctor yesterday and she asked me how I was mood-wise cause a medication she prescribed can cause suicidal depression. I had totally forgotten. I thought it was the fog and general greyishness. Overall not so bad, though, I said. Actually, really great, I think now. My kids ate dinner with me and it was fun talking to them. The cats were freaky when I got home because my wife is away on a business trip and they were alone all day. This morning I was carrying one around and she stuck her tail into my coffee and I had to decide whether to make a new cup or just drink it. Making a fresh cup would have taken 30 seconds and I didn’t want to wait that long so I just pretended it was Luwak coffee. Then that, in combination with everything else, triggered an epiphany, which I sort of described in a post at medium.com.

Writing blog posts is a lot of fun. Sometimes I am really happy with what I end up with, despite or because of the randomness and accidentiality of them. I am trying to write a novel right now, yet again, and am trying to figure out how to translate blog-type writing into a novel.

A whole bunch of short chapters, I guess.

 

Goodnight, wheels of commerce

This is the girl. Her name is Beta.

Actually she is a woman.

She is studying law and anthropology.

Can you say anthropology?

She specializes in state terror, torture, genocide and human rights.

Beta needs trail mix. She calls her dad.

This is Beta’s dad. His name is Mig.

“Sure, I will get you trail mix,” says Mig.

“Please get the special kind,” says Beta.

“Of course,” says Mig.

This is the special trail mix.

But when Mig goes to the store, they are all out of special trail mix.

What does Mig do?

Mig buys regular trail mix. He buys “Caribbean dried fruit.” He buys fair trade organic raisins covered in fair trade organic dark chocolate.

“These will be ingredients for a superior gourmet trail mix,” Mig says.

This is fair trade organic dark chocolate.

Mig can’t call Beta because someone stole her phone.

Mig sends Beta an email and messages her on facebook.

Mig tells Beta to meet him at the subway station after work.

Mig takes the ingredients for special gourmet trail mix to the subway station.

Beta is waiting for him.

A man is talking to Beta when Mig arrives. The man is a wino.

“Hurgahurga bzzt grar,” says the wino.

This is the wino.

Beta smiles nicely at him.

Beta looks relieved when she sees her dad, Mig.

“Hi,” says Mig.

“Hi,” says Beta.

“Here are ingredients for super delicious special gourmet trail mix,” says Mig.

Beta says, “thank you.”

The African man selling the homeless newspaper says, “hi!”

This is the African man selling the homeless newspaper.

He also says, “do you know how long she has been waiting? I have been watching over her for 15 minutes!”

He is smiling when he says it. This makes Mig somewhat relieved.

“Actually, more like five minutes,” says Beta. She is also smiling.

Everyone is smiling except for the wino. He is leaning back against the ticket machine watching a swarm of magic moths only he can see.

These are the magic moths.

“Well, thank you for looking out for her,” says Mig to the African man selling homeless newspapers.

Mig buys a newspaper from the man. He gives the man a big tip because their conversation must end soon.

Mig must continue on his way. He is on his way home. Beta must go make super delicious gourmet trail mix. She must study for a law exam. The man must sell more homeless newspapers.

The wheels of commerce turn relentlessly.

These are the wheels of commerce.

Good night, Mig.

Good night, Beta.

Good night African man selling homeless newspapers.

Good night wino watching moths.

Good night, wheels of commerce.

Fever! till you sizzle

On holiday next week. We will spend it in a small cabin in the Alps somewhere, the four of us. First family vacation in a while. Weather outlook for the week: cold and rainy. We offered to maybe look at a last-minute trip to Greece instead, but the kids insisted we go to the cabin. I’m happy about that, because I have been dreaming of a trip like this for a long time, going to a cabin in the mountains instead of spending days in airports.

In unrelated news, a few nights ago a nightmare woke me  up. I guess it was terrifying, because my heart was ‘racing’ and it took me a long time to get back to sleep.  Actually, it was 4.50 so I gave up and got up and didn’t go back to sleep until the following night, I remember now. It, the dream, took place in a mountain cabin. There were a couple strangers there, on the edge of the dream, guys I didn’t know. The cabin was weathered and reminded me more of the mountains (and cabins) I have seen  than the cabin we are going to (knock on wood).

There were two spiders in the cabin. One was large, as big and heavy as a crab, and was climbing around on the back of the door and making a lot of noise. The other was ‘smaller’, with the body the size of a birds and long, long legs and very fucking fast. It was spinning a web in the room and got in my face and started spinning a web around my face and head real fast, jumping around the way some spiders do when prey lands in their webs.

I was ripping spiderweb from my face when I woke up.

I figure it means, bring lots of books and Uno cards with us.

Careers in Science: Clinology

The clinologist sits down on a chair in the room he’s trying to declutter and says, out loud, “wow”.

Thirty years, you can collect a lot of stuff. The twenty-two years before that he just lost stuff, I guess.

Stacks and stacks of printed matter. Manuscripts.

Tom Waits’ voice says, “A lock of his daughter’s hair in an envelope,” like a line from “What’s he building in there?”

“A giant beetle preserved in a glass box.”

Love letters from his girls when they were little.

A two foot stack of journals in which half the entries say how tired he is, and the other half how depressed he is.

Pictures, in which he looks depressed or tired or apologetic for living.

“Wow,” he says again, realizing what a drag that must have been for those around him.

All those years.

Was it worth it?

Fighting his way out of that tar pit by himself?

Was it worth it? wonders the clinologist.

He made it out. Now here he is.

All covered in tar. Getting tar all over everything as he tries to tidy up the room, to decide what to throw away and what to keep.

How could he not have noticed all that tar before?