Started my day at the local bigbox home improvement store.
Great place to pick up a nascar cooler and some chrome clips to keep your mullet from getting in the spackling compound. Everything is day-glo orange and the sale associates are just a little too friendly. At least five of them looked me in the eye and said, "how you, man!" while speed walking past me.
But when cornered, did a single one of them know where the items I needed were located? "Sorry buddy..."
Went from the day-glo orange toolbox full of rednecks to the sun baked roof of my house. I have a leak. I have lots of leaks. I thought I just patched them all but a tropical storm dropped by the other day to point out a few more holes that I had missed.
. Sounds firm, efficient. Like it will just spring out of the can, take charge and smooth itself down across every last crack and crevice. There is a picture of a very clean man in a bright blue windsuit on top of his crazy-steep pointy roof with a shiny trowel just working away. He looks like Tony Soprano.
I didn't look like that when I finally descended the ladder for the day. I was covered in tar. Tar is Wet Patch's dirty little secret. Of course I had gloves on but somehow the thick blackness of Wet Patch found it's way into them. That's how good this stuff is I guess. I don't know how it got on my back, maybe when I fell and rolled across the roof?
Odorless Mineral Spirits
. Sounds like something Eskimos should leave as an offering to their deceased ancestors. It looks and pours like cheap vodka. It is the only thing you can get Wet Patch off with. Of course you aren't supposed to use it on your skin, but hey, everybody else does. There is a don't ask "don't tell" policy when it comes to using it on your skin. After a long shower I still smell like Odorless
Mineral Spirits. I wonder how much longer I will be flammable.
There is a monster hurricane headed our way this week. Guess I'll see how well I did when it arrives.
I wrapped up my day by arguing with poor, tired wife. I went to the library afterwards, and must agree with my Borders lovin' friend swish
. Reading may be fundamental but the smell of fresh urine a la homeless man is not. Perhaps this is why so many people give in to the beast and join Oprah's Bookclub. I still refuse to wear the scarlet O. I managed to quickly check out a few books while holding my nose. On my way out it felt sooo good to tell the guy sitting by the door to "ask a rat for it asshole!" in response to his second obnoxious request for spare change. He promptly asked me for a cigarette afterwards, and called out "God bless you motherfucker!" as I walked away.
Soon, I too found myself amongst the pristine shelving of Borders, perusing the newest books and splashy magazines while polite students in super expensive clothes whispered into tiny cell phones, pecked away at Mac's and primly sipped iced chai lattes. An experience sans urine and panhandlers. I gave in and had an iced Americano, then it was off to the grocery store for a bitter, lonely man shopping spree.
Mineral water, pepino melons, custard apples, dark beer and toilet paper. Several men followed me around. Was it the custard apples or my new super short haircut? I felt like I was making a video for a Morrisey song.
Now its you -my precious and so often neglected blog, and me, a dark beer and an even darker Nick Cave before bed-
"Now as the nights grow longer and the season shifts
I look to my sorrowful wife
Who is quietly tending her flowers..."
The morrow brings a new and better beginning for one of us at least. The beloved royal imp starts preschool. I thought about her as I pushed my squeaky cart down aisle 5.
I always think about her.
I wish I could go wake her up and take her outside to show her the low, red moon hanging so perfectly still above the pine trees.
So much to catch you up on-
Tensions at home, work stress, developmental milestones for the royal inchworm, not to mention the latest on my self loathing.
Oh yeah, weddings. That's a good place to start.
I am going to be in a wedding this weekend. Not an easy feat when your assistant is on vacation, your mother-in-law can't come down to help with childcare, and your broke ass has to rent an expensive but dull-as-hell tuxedo.
I always knew these two would make it legal. This is how I found my way into their wedding. Some small meddling on my part helped to quicken fate and here we all are planning to spend the better part of our weekend celebrating a perfect and much anticipated union.
Most of us are. Except those of us that are less than three feet tall. This is a "child-free" affair. I found this out at the last minute from a hastily left voice mail. I never received an invitation, but if I had, I would have had plenty of time to reconcile my disdain for the tackiness of our American culture.
Or so I gathered from the apologetic message.
"Kid-free!" Quite a surprise coming from the hipster couple that hates rules and wants kids. The couple that adores their friends and their children. The couple that seems like the perfect building block for a family.
Kids are great! Just keep them away from our wedding OK?
There was a convenient story to support the request, but to the person that adores his child, and seeks to include her in almost every aspect of his big life, it's just a story.
A small one at that.
I feel half wanted now. I never felt whole anyway, until I had a child. And trust me, I still look for the missing chunk of myself everyday. My child is most of my life.
I'm sorry happy couple, but I'm jumping through hoops to be a part of your big day. My family -you remember them- is jumping with me. They are helping me to get there, to be with you.
And I assure you, it's a group effort once you say "I do."
But I'll pardon this breech of reason. It is your big day after all. I'm just a small part of it. A token. Never mind that I can take my kid into the liquor store with me, a voting booth, everywhere except the porn store.
-And I will never admit to going THERE!
But fear not. She will pace back and forth in the palace. Her charms will not mar your perfect wedding. She will not compete with you. She will not meet your friends and family. She will not thrill at the mythic pomp and circumstance that we wrap our grown selves in when we say our vows. Don't worry, you won't hear her cry, or laugh, or gasp at the sheer awe of a wedding, -of your wedding- of sharing a part of your huge story. A little part of the huge story of all of us- She won't be there to tell you congratulations either.
Love. It's conditional. You better leave it at home.
Love is conditional at our age. At your wedding, or any wedding we will all be very grown and very sanitized and very calm, until we get drunk. And then we will let it all hang out.
One day my precious royal nuisance will see a picture of kingdada in a tux and ask, "Where's that dada? Who's that?" And I will say, sadly, "Oh you weren't there. You were too little. This was a day for big people only."
I never cease to wonder at the boundaries we create and impose.
I have not been very nice to be around these past few days. I will confess to being "brooding and moody."
When I read my friend swish
's post today, I said to myself, "Hey, I feel that way too..." But I don't have PMS. So I guess I'd have to say that I'm actually a little depressed and I am jealous that I don't have something in my body conspiring against me to blame it on.
Fuck. Now what?
Do I have to wrestle with the truth again?- that sometimes I'm never quite good enough or grand enough for myself. That I have wasted my smarts and talents along the way. That it's harder to turn it all around once you hit a certain age and place in your life.
Ok. I'm face down on the mat with truth now.
I suppose I had a good trigger for all of this. I ran into a couple of people from my past yesterday, two people that were very special and important to me. They loved me, and believed in me and treated me very much like a son.
Trouble is, I'm not their son, and for some reason seeing them made me feel very tiny.
Not to mention older, thicker and grayer.
Splattered with food and pushing a cart full of dirty dishes I present a proud and worthy sight to the people that once encouraged me to go to law school. Alas, such potential. I toy with my name tag as I smile and smile and smile. It reads- KINGDAD-ASST.STORE MANAGER.
Wow! Go me!
By the way, one of the pair teaches law at the big-shit university I wrote about a few days ago. Wonder what he'd think of my hat-man story?
I can sense that my faux family is disappointed for
Its hard enough to swallow my own poor life decisions. Having someone else re-enforce the self-loathing really connected all of the dots for me.
At the end of all of this is my poor, tired of my-self-absorbed- ass family. So sorry family, I'll snap out of it.
You are the very best decision I have ever made.
Doesn't everyone detest lawyers anyway?
Kingdad is a flaming extrovert.
Because I am a social being I am blessed with innumerable friends and associates. All of the mortals that I keep company with have a few essentials in common; huge hearts, brilliant, sleepless minds and the need to find an ideal in everything. Their souls are not quiet, passive souls.
With this stated it should come as no surprise that I greeted the stranger approaching me at the bar with a welcoming and sincere smile. He offered his smooth, open white palm, searching the uncertain space between us for a handshake.
There was trouble here though. Trouble cloaked in neutrality. There were no acute angles. No glaring colors or sounds. No warnings. Just perfect teeth, earthtone clothing and a soft voice, free of any accent.
Big mistake. Trouble offered his hand but not his name. He did not ask for mine either.
Trouble, warmly, "Nice hat."
kingdad, smiling at Trouble, "Thanks."
My newest most favorite of all hats is a straw cowboy hat. It's old and worn and beautiful. It's very much a farmer's hat.
Trouble, still clenching kingdad's trusting hand, "How much?"
kingdad- ".75 cents. Got it in a thrift store in Athens Georgia. Best .75 cents I ever spent."
Trouble- "No. How much?, how much do you want for it? How about $50?"
Huh? I didn't see this one coming.
kingdad- "Sorry, It's not for sale."
I smiled weakly, that oops-so-this-is-how-it-is smile and glanced down at my beer.
Trouble -his nasty hand on my shoulder now- says, "Come on. How much? Any amount. I'm sure you could use it."
The taste was in my mouth now. The schoolyard taste. The taste of ancient fist fights. I swallowed and took a slow sip of my beer. What next?
kingdad- "I'm sorry, what was that? Did you just say that you were sure that I could use it? Are you drunk or just tacky? What I can use is a respite from your presence. The hat is not for sale! Have a grand evening."
Trouble says, smiling and shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders, "Oh no, no, no offense. I'm so sorry. I just meant that here we are, sitting at the bar, and I'm sure a little money would be nice. How much? How much for the hat?"
Am I being "Punk'd?"
No! No I'm not being Punk'd. I'm not famous. This is real. This is classism. This is a state of mind that the blue collar boy in me loathes and seeks not to practice.
But this carpetbagger prick makes it difficult to be noble. He actually thinks that I'm some poor local yuk, willing to part with my hat for a little beer money.
Nevermind that I'm halfway through my third re-read of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
I have also neglected to mention that this exchange is occurring just a few blocks away from one of the most prestigious universities in America, and that Trouble is with a group of drunken first year law students, and that I am just stopping in after band practice to visit with my brother-in-law the bartender.
kingdad- "Perhaps you should be looking for a little dignity. You should look elsewhere though, mine doesn't have pricetag. How about this, I'll give you ten dollars to go away."
Trouble- "I'm sorry. No offense. I wasn't trying to be rude. Come on, how much for the hat. Surely you'd take $75 for it. It's really nice. I want you to have the money."
My knuckles are itchy now. I'm starting to sweat.
kingdad- "Ok, I'll give you $15 to go away. No wait, better yet, I'll keep my money and you just piss off. It'll take more than my hat to make you interesting. You and your wallet are worthless to me."
Trouble- "Sorry, I wasn't..."
kingdad- "You should start backing away now."
And he did.
Out of boredom I have been looting my old journals.
While never one for the "Dear Diary..." style entry,
I was nonetheless dramatic and naive.
Here is an entry from January of 1996. I wrote it in some shithole bar in Berlin called Cafe' Anfall,
I'm pretty sure that was the name. A shithole it was, and that much I am sure of.
Berlin obviously wasn't far away enough. My heart was broken, and that was the sole reason I was there.
I was a Teutonic Jonah.
I urge you to enjoy this unedited,
ancient adolescent musing-
Like a gun
Hidden under the bed
In a box.
Here was his heart
Wrapped in oilskins,
Packed away in sawdust.
Wrapped in locks of your hair,
And open matchbooks.
The smell of warm machine oil and green ink
Whisper your name into it bloodless folds.
Drag it through the streets,
Drag it kicking and screaming down to the cold, black skinned river.
Shame it under the noon sun.
Burn it in secret,
Deep in the woods.
Curse it, spit on it, kiss it, cry.
Pray with it.
Hold it against your cheek.
Here was his heart.
Here is what was yours.
It’s Christmas, and your birthday-
I have taken a vow of silence.
Ok, it has just been just way too easy to neglect my little forum these last 10 days. There really was lots of wisteria to prune off the back of the palace. Really.
Actually, I'm a wreck. I am always a wreck, I know, but this time it's different. The Royal Women have left me.
No, so sorry, they haven't smartened up and made a break for it. They simply went on vacation without me.
Retail management dictates that I am always covering someone else's vacation. I don't really get to take one of my own, especially when it's perfect get-away time. Instead I scavenge my time off from the desolate valleys of the calendar's badlands.
Like a luckless vulture I await my turn in line for the perfect vacation, only to scrape my beak against the brittle, fleshless bones of the used-up months. Months such as February and March. You know, those "in-between season" months when everything is cheap, chilly, wet and a rich shade of shit-brown.
Nick Cave says of early spring in The Loom of The Land, "It was the dirty end of winter..."
I love that song. it's a real weeper. Nick's singing to me as I take out my red this-is-so-official pen and pour over the quarterly calendar in my office, looking for a worthy sandbar on which to run my holiday ship aground.
Oh yeah, my office? I have to share so-called office. It's really just a grubby desk in a corner of a hotbox room.
When I look at the face of Ramses II's mummy I wonder what his office of state looked like. If you haven't ever seen a photo of his mummy, you should. His face is truly incredible. He was the most powerful man on Earth at one time. Even thousands of years later a mighty presence emanates from his regal face.
Alas, I am royalty in mind only.
As for my current state of solitude-
Most men would look at the time I have before me, free of wife and child, as a vacation in and of itself. Sure, I can dig out my old Flipper
LP's and play "That's The Way of The World..." or "Sex Bomb"
as loud as I want. I can drink wine and skip dinner. I can watch movies absent both absent of plot and long on subtitles, I can garden without interruption -which is what I have spent the most time doing- and keep whatever hours I wish.
In a figurative sense, I can go to bed with Wim Wenders and wake up to Wagner. I am Gotterdammerung
damn it! Welcome to my self-absorbed twilight.
But, truth be told. I don't like living with only myself to say good morning to. Not anymore. I miss the joyful, chaotic chorus of my little royal-reason- to-live. I miss the tender directives of poor, tired wife. I crave the humanity of my home.
Try as I may to wash away my loneliness with the noble blood of France's best grapes, the plaintive raindrops of Ostad Lotfi's deftly plucked tar walking softly across the tin roof of my quiet soul, I am absolutely lonely for my family.
They are the best and biggest and brightest noise I have ever heard. They transcend my pathetic personal mythology. They maintain Ma'at for kingdad.
Go read a book.
Poor, tired wife sometimes refers to me as brooding and moody
Whereas I simply think of myself as being fluid. My moods are appropriate to my environment. They change in response to the conditions around me.
Think of kingdad as a mood ring and life as the sweaty finger.
Take today for instance. I was on my way to work while most folks were midway through the Sunday paper. When I arrived I had the idea that my workday was going to be ok as far as work days go. Things seemed quiet, manageable. I would wrap up all of my loose ends today. I'd get ready for the very busy Monday ahead of me.
Then one of my huge retail coolers went down. I noticed a thick sludge in the bottom of the case where the drain should be, a rapidly rising temperature and that faint smell one notices when things just aren't as cold as they should be. Quite a situation to tackle in the middle of the brunch rush.
5 hours of plunging, scrubbing and de-icing passed until I had my problem solved. But now there was another problem to confront.
Since I had to crawl around on my hands and knees, in and out of, on and behind this huge piece of rebellious machinery, my back started screaming. It screamed and screamed for me to stop all of the foolish stooping and bending and lifting. But, I was too busy trying to be a perfect little problem solver. I just didn't listen.
I 'm trying not to listen even now. My red wine ear plugs seem to help.
My day just didn't get any better either, not until I got into my car and peeled away from the scene.
I also blew off family night. Every Sunday is family night. We get together with poor, tired wife's brother, a few of our friends and their kids. It's an important and welcome ritual. I'm sure when asked where kingdad was, poor, tired wife offered- "brooding and moody !"
But I'm not brooding and moody
. I'm royally fucking cranky!