Twenty Years

Six o’clock.

It’ll be good when we’ve distanced ourselves a little more from the Millennium and regained our sanity. The 00 decade was very uncomfortable for me, when people tortured each other over their religious ideas at all levels of society and across cultures. Was it all because of a prediction by Nostradamus that 1999 would see the advent of the Antichrist? I remember seeing editions of his books on display in bookshops and even in grocery stores up until the year my mother died, 2001. His prophecies were just the wormwood people needed for crazy stuff to start happening. But the fault was not that of Nostradamus, but of consumerist culture and whoever controls this and the media. I’m still not a fan of sociology, the study of society. There’s always more going on than meets the eye, and what we see is a puppet show. This is not the behavior of people in groups, but rather manipulation by our leaders, though it sounds fanatical to say it. Who was it that ordained the distribution of copies of Nostradamus everywhere for a span of ten years? Was it the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx?

Quarter after seven. The rain started as just a whisper and now it’s coming down in earnest. It’s a soothing sound like a lullaby. Because it’s still dark out, I’ll wait to go to the store. I want to have some visibility on the road, in both directions… The last book I bought of Nostradamus was at the Safeway store on River Road with my mother. I remember the flower bouquets they sold there, vaguely. Mom usually wore a little kerchief on her head when she went out, called a “doobie.” This store closed in September of 2007 for reasons of productivity. I especially recall Tiffany, a young checker with blonde curls who was always pleasant. But with the coming of dawn these memories fade like dreams. And the rain washes them down the gutters. 


An Illicit Stop

I remember an afternoon, probably in spring of 2005, when I went to Polly’s house. We might’ve had lunch at Deb’s hamburger joint, then I took her home. The weather was turning foul as I was about to leave. All I could think about was making a beer run to Safeway on my path home. Polly probably read my mind because she looked anxious. I was in a bit of a hurry to grab a half case and get wasted. So then I left, driving south on River Road, right into the heart of the coming thunderstorm. My paranoia told me that God was angry at me for my illicit intentions. The rain came bucketing down and the thunder shook as I ducked into the supermarket and guiltily purchased twelve Labatt Blue pilsener beers. Somehow I got through the checkout line, with the lightning glaring ever closer, and out to my Nissan with the spoils. My paranoia continued bad on my way home, but according to my will and not God’s, I had my drunken evening all by myself with my dog…

Those were very different times, when I believed in God along with everyone else. But for me, he was the Old Testament God, full of anger at our disobedience. He was a God who sent down thunderbolts to destroy the wicked. And it was another of those Wordsworthian days of paranoid imagination, all for the desire to get drunk and calm my poor pounding heart.