For a Hoover (Humility)

Gloria came this morning. She said she felt sore from doing yard work recently, yet she drove me to Bi Mart and stayed in the car. I went inside alone long enough to buy two items and see what they had as far as vacuum cleaners. They had two Hoover models that looked good to me, for under $170. Did you know that people in Britain refer to vacuuming as “hoovering?” And then Gloria and I worked some more in my garage after she vacuumed the carpets. She had brought her own Shark Navigator for the job.
I had an insight this afternoon into Kate’s personality (she was my friend from Scotland). It occurs to me that she was very humble and understated as a person, whereas many Americans are more pompous and exaggerated, especially in their speech and self expression. Of course this means myself as well. I actually think Kate’s policy of no drama is very commendable. She loved The Beatles for its simplicity and its ordinariness in a lot of cases, like with “Lovely Rita” and “Penny Lane.” The first song is about a meter maid. British culture is so different from ours; they don’t have the same problems we have. So now I try to catch myself when I’m hyperbolic and inflated. It makes me feel kind of disgusted with Pastor’s oratory style as well: it is so grandiloquent and proud, and over the top with drama and bombast. I really believe that Americans can learn a lesson from people in the United Kingdom, especially since our disasters in politics lately. We’re not very realistic over here. We need to give up our delusions of grandeur.
I think that’s all I had to say for now, and I think I’ll buy that Hoover this summer.

Peace Tea (No Drama)

Noon thirty.

My Precision Bass, modified with the Model P pickup, sounds rather barbaric, but I won’t really know until I change the strings. Obviously I didn’t attend church yesterday. I’m actually kind of glad I didn’t. The posts I made last fall, through the end of the year, were mostly reactions against the church pastor and his medieval opinions on a lot of things. I really needed to shake it off and be free. Now that I’ve succeeded, my writing isn’t as good as when I had something to fight over. Funny how that works. Gray clouds still block the sun today, though it comes and goes as they allow. I went for the gusto this morning and bought a two liter of Coca-Cola. It isn’t doing much for me. I think I like Peace Tea better, and of course my standby Snapple. The intellectual warfare with the church is ended, clearing the way for peace, even if peace is boring. I have to find something else for stimulation, perhaps something better than petty conflict with others. A rebel without a cause must adapt to changing times. A warrior out of war, like Hotspur, will be food for worms if he doesn’t speak the language. And today the lingo seems to be pretty ordinary: no puffed up rhetoric, no personas to hide behind. People are bored with ostentation anymore. The days of self glorification are over…

Money

Gloria was here this morning and she vacuumed the family room but with a very inconvenient tool, a Compact machine from back in the sixties with a section of the hose missing, forcing her to stoop over the whole time. She told me it hurt her back. I felt bad about that, so I guess I have to think about buying a new vacuum cleaner. But on the bright side, the work she did on the green carpet looks fantastic, and after a shampooing it’ll be divine. I do have a Eureka upright vacuum cleaner missing the dirtbag; I could look on Amazon for a replacement bag before I invest in something totally new. And then we made another trip to the thrift store to drop off more stuff I don’t need anymore. The weather grew rather inclement at that point; it rained and hailed on us, though by the time we got back home there was blue sky in the west. Springtime is sometimes a blustery mixed bag here in Oregon. I kind of like it when I’m feeling okay.

Before I took a nap I read two more chapters in my Henry James novel. Somehow the story reminds me a little of Jane Austen and her concerns with marriage, especially among the wealthy classes in America (now I mean Henry James) and in Europe. This makes me think very regretfully of my college education and the unfairness of social class in this country and everywhere. In a heartbeat a person in a privileged position can slip through the cracks and be a pauper with nothing to his name. So that I think Henry James is rather shallow in ignoring such realities as poverty and woe, because intelligent people exist at every level of society. Now I think writers like Twain and Melville were much more aware of the truth of money and the people who have it and the ones who don’t. I even have to give credit to Charles Dickens for having open eyes and ears to people at every stratum of our social structure. Just imagine not having a car! And yet this is my situation here today: a pedestrian in the direst of poverty. What would James say to the homeless population here in America? Would he turn a blind eye and go on sipping his English tea in the afternoon, on the green lawn with the Thames River meandering down the hill apace, and his back to an old Tudor mansion?

Thursday Trivia

Nine o’clock.

It’s colder this morning and the sky is lemon. Kat stopped me in front of her house and gave me her number in case her renters make any trouble. Lisa at the store was extremely busy and rather stressed out, so I hope she gets through the day okay. Luckily this is the last day of March, which was a difficult month for me. It’s quite strange to be sober during the current state of the world, and yet it’s treating me like a king in some ways. I guess the best approach is to not be in a hurry each day. I feel like a radar telescope or something with a fix on attitudes everywhere in our culture. It may be a delusion of thought insertion, or maybe I have a bit of clairvoyance… I should ask my neighbor again regarding his help with modifying my Fender bass. This could be kind of fun; something technical to do. Di Marzio pickups have a hot output and a milky tone, depending on the particular model… If I can possibly afford it this summer, I want to get a washing machine and a drying rack. Meanwhile my grass is growing like gang busters. It’s getting expensive to live these days.

Morning Minutiae

Seven thirty.

While I was at the store I heard three old tunes on the radio that Cathy had on for background noise: the bands were the Chili Peppers, John Cougar, and Journey. Cathy wore a sloppy green sweater that looked good on her today. She is very adept with the price scanner, hitting the barcodes of the items in your hand unerringly, like something uncanny. It must be a right brain thing for her, but she didn’t remember very well about the Journey song, which happened to be “Separate Ways,” from the album Frontiers, released in 1983. My memory for the dates of events and things is probably a left brain kind of faculty. I hovered in front of the pet snacks for a minute, trying to decide among the different sizes of milk bones. They were also priced differently, which made no sense at all. You can slice a pizza into eight pieces or twelve, but it’s the same amount of food either way. Or you can scrap the whole thing and make applesauce. There are some birds cheeping outside my front window, and it’s cloudy right now, a gray and ordinary morning. I’ve always liked Cathy, though we don’t know each other beyond seeing each other at her workplace. She’s certainly catty with the barcode scanner. 

Our Neighborhood

Seven o’clock.

Aesop is still very tired from yesterday, when he had to wait in the backyard until our work was done. It’s been drizzling off and on; I took my umbrella to the store with me at the first light of day. Now it’s gray and overcast and kind of blah, though it’s warmer than usual and I can hear human activity even this early. Michelle said that a New Yorker hit the lottery jackpot and I said good for them while I scanned the macaroni salads in the deli cooler. By the way, yesterday, Gloria really enjoyed the kiwi strawberry Snapple I got for her. Before this Sunday I have to buy a broom at Bi Mart. Might as well get a dustpan while I’m at it… I don’t really have any abstract notions to express today. Perhaps at the bottom of it there are no abstractions, no big questions; only the details we’re given to work with. These ought to be enough for people. Aesop looks at me inquiringly for his breakfast, so I tell him 58 minutes. Then he gets up and drinks his water. Presently it begins to rain gently. A train horn makes a mournful sound, like the song of a humpback whale that carries underwater for miles. I left my umbrella propped up against the side of the house outdoors. In this neighborhood, no one would think to steal it. 

One Fine Day

Two o five.

Well, everything went just fine with my PCA’s first day and we got some things done. We recycled more than 310 bottles at the bottle return place in Springfield. It’s kind of a nice facility, and one of the attendants was fairly polite and helpful. After that we picked up a lot of boxes and some trash and took it all out to my bins outdoors. We started at nine o’clock and I pooped out by noon while Gloria kept going for another hour and a quarter. Then we called it a day. Aesop seemed to be okay in the backyard, though he was quite exhausted when I finally let him back in the house. I think he’s a bit mad at me now, but sometimes he has to learn his role as a canine being. Meanwhile, all of my thoughts on freedom and politics, etc, have been bogus and probably paranoid. Definitely inflated and totally vain in multiple senses of the word. I believe it would be good to invest some time reading something mature, sober, and realistic. Also my own style of writing will morph in a new direction, depending on what happens next with my life’s events. 

Right as Rain

Quarter of five in the morning.

All day yesterday it rained quite steadily, a purifying kind of thing and very normal Oregon weather. As I agreed to do, I’ve been going with the flow a little better and it seems that good things are coming to me. I played my J Bass in the afternoon and it sounds incredible to my ears, especially considering the low cost for the kit. The only deviation from the stock hardware is the Omega bridge I put on it. Outfitted with stainless steel strings it sounds totally killer… I had a phone conversation with my sister yesterday that went very well. And on Monday morning I’ll be meeting with Tim for coffee at the Black Rock over on River Road. My new PCA starts her job Tuesday morning for five hours, and I believe that will be quite fun. Today I just have a few phone calls to make, plus my daily trip to the little market around the corner from my house. It sounds like the rain has stopped for the moment, or it may be coming down very lightly. I’m okay with either way. Nothing can ruffle me anymore. 

Presidents’ Day

Three o’clock.

Since I was feeling lonely, I headed back to the store to buy myself a treat of a Coca-Cola. When I arrived, I was the only customer in the place. Also, Karen’s salon was closed for Monday, I guess. The air outside felt cold to me this afternoon, very wintry, and my energy level seemed rather low. The overcast sky looked metallic, gray and silver. I saw the work crew doing their thing on the far side of Maxwell Road but it didn’t affect my business. As I passed Kat’s house I wondered why I never see her anymore. I know they haven’t moved away yet. And Derek’s red house on the corner looks empty every time I go by it. I waved at Harry, Cherie’s nonagenarian dad, but he didn’t have anything to say. My little neck of the neighborhood is a ghost town in the afternoon, missing only the tumbleweeds. Now the sun appears momentarily, with no one else to notice. Even Roger has packed up his project and gone indoors. I don’t know which is more dead, the landscape or its denizens. 

John Galt

Eight twenty five.

When I arrived on Maxwell Road, the holes in the street had been tarred over and it was okay to walk on them. The crew has the weekend off. It looks like they might be finished for a while, though frankly the work they did isn’t very pleasing to the eye. It only adds to the squalor that was there already, the utter run down poverty of the place. It’s an overcast morning and moderately chilly. Cathy is covering for Heather who’s been sick with a virus; she’s actually covering for two people this week. Cathy was quite gabby with me today, which I found pleasant. It was nice to see a few people of color in the little store this time. But sometimes my neighbors across the street are downright unfriendly to me for a reason I can’t fathom. Maybe it’s because, as a houseful of women, they are paranoid of guys. And yet their aloofness is getting worse instead of better with time. Conservative neighborhoods are every man for himself; just a lot of selfishness and hoarding and apathy for people. I wonder who’s to blame for these attitudes. Was it Ayn Rand? Who is John Galt? Who is Ayn Rand?