Soft Pedal

Quarter of nine.

My friend wrote a kind of free verse mantra she addressed to me rather than posting it to her blog, which I thought was really very nice of her. I’m reminded that a good part of creativity is generosity and sharing. Again today the sunlight is burnt orange from atmospheric smoke. My pace on my way to the store was deliberately slower this time. I caught myself imagining negative scenarios and willfully screened them out as the cars on Maxwell Road whizzed past. I saw a guy on a motorized bicycle signaling for a right turn with his left hand. A motorcycle also went by me to my left. When I entered the market, Michelle was jolting herself with a Mexican Coca-Cola: real sugar instead of corn syrup and bottled in a glass bottle. By the soft drink cooler I hovered and hesitated, choosing from three different Snapple teas, finally settling on peach in honor of my Texas friend. Going out again, I held the door for a young guy who hurried to catch up, so I didn’t really do him a favor. This day so far has a different feel to it; it’s more relaxed and peaceful for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the overcast of dirty lemon clouds? Things are muted as if by a damper or the soft pedal on a piano. If I were the type to pray, then I’d pray for these clouds to rain… 

A Human Mirror

Quarter after eight.

It was another red dawn today: “Red skies at morning, sailor take warning.” I hesitate to go out in the cold, would rather be comfortable indoors. Tomorrow there is church again at seven o’clock. I plan to go and participate. I hope Roxanne is feeling okay. During the wee hours a while ago I started reading The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla out of a nagging curiosity regarding the content and his attitudes in general. It had been a big mystery to me. Fifteen pages into the book, it appears to be simply a realistic diary of a person’s life, starting with his family background and the people he has known in his native Spain up to his 21st birthday in 1918. I think his project is to describe things with very little personal bias, being a human mirror of the life around him. This is sort of the contrary of Romanticism, full of ego and bombast. But I’m getting ahead of myself… It’s almost time to feed Aesop his breakfast. I count down the minutes to him while he gets increasingly excited and vocal.

Nine thirty. I bundled up and went over to the market. Saw nothing unusual. My neighbor Jeff passed by me in his burnt orange Mustang as I was coming home. I can never remember his wife’s name, but I think it’s Sara. He used to be a high school science teacher. He has a long white beard with a swarthy complexion and a little snub nose. Jeff doesn’t invite much conversation when I see him on the street. Outside of his house he flies a skull and crossbones pirate flag, and his mocha colored boat is called the Second Wind. Just across the street from him is Harry’s house, an old conservative guy who lost his wife over a year ago. He used to have two Doberman pinchers in his garage. His daughter Cherie lives on the cross street to the north. Occasionally I see her in his front yard, trimming rose bushes or whatever to help out… The clouds have burned off, showing the light blue winter sky. Yesterday at noon the sunshine was intense, or maybe I’d had too much caffeine. I hope for a serene day today, calm and quiet, except for the rock and roll noise from my bass guitar this afternoon. 


Eight o’clock.

No email from my friend yet. I don’t know what she is up to today. I don’t want to go to church tonight or on Sunday. I’m going to boycott Christmas and just take care of myself. I know how to do this better than anyone else. I think I’ll leave the church for good. Religion is usually a right wing thing.

Nine thirty five. It was lovely to see Michelle this morning. From her I bought a new orange bandanna and peppermint candy ice cream, plus ribeye chewy treats for Aesop. It was cold and a little foggy outside. A pretty girl on the sidewalk passed me and we said good morning. I saw Dell carrying some cardboard boxes out to his car. Michelle helped a customer with the propane tanks while I was walking into the store. Her temperament is a lot different from that of Vicki; kinder and friendlier, not so jaded and sassy. Her logic is not so clouded by personal hurts. She is always fair dealing with people, but when she is on the receiving end of injustice, she’ll defend herself. When she had more money, she used to go to the theater… My pen pal let me know that she’ll be late today… The changes are coming a bit more swiftly now. I sense a shift in attitude and mood around me generally. Christina on Wednesday was kind of fun. She even said it was fun working with me after we’d done some exercises in physical therapy… I am hopeful that musicians can play again when vaccines are available this winter. Just wait it out and see what happens… 

Afternoon Blues

One thirty. Powder blue the sky and the heat, olfactory. There is a breeze, but warm. The air conditioning strains to keep up, and noisily. I hear voices and music that are not there: mere misinterpretations by my brain. A little infestation of small winged things bugs me, but my dog doesn’t see. The house stands outside, stripped of siding, naked in black felt paper. It has waited so long that it has forgotten about renovation. The rosebush is done blooming; rhododendrons gave out long ago. A cold bite in the morning air heralds fall not far away. The sky is cloudless, intersected by flies and bees. This morning a fox squirrel leaped from eaves to maple limb, easy feat for him. Groaning with refuse, the Sanipac truck labors up the street. And this demented music no one else hears pervades it all, driving me out of my mind. But it could always be worse.