Thursday, June 24, 2010
Rio landed yesterday and brought with her an all pervading sense of calm despite the continued searing heat. She and Everly worked for eight hours straight today on the house transforming it to a new level of cozy funk and folk grandeur. My beloved kidney shaped art deco table was lost in the groovy makeover, but in light of two endless wars and the death of the ocean I can buck up and take it.
As Charles Dickens said: "It was a time of windy squeaky hospital corridors, a time of villagers walking shredded carrying their own heads, but it was also a time of hunka hunka burnin' love". Or as Anne Murray said: "Even though we ain't got money, ten gallon hat on a rain barrel bunny."
Francis and Linda came by the store on the way to DC for the big library conference. Francis was in a giddy mood despite the conversation first being obsessively about the marathon oil spill and then his re-enactment of an assisted death video he saw that was shot in Sweden. He gleefully spoke in an affected accent as the Swedish doctor telling the patient "Drink this and you will die." "You must finish all of this and then you will fall asleep and then you will die." "Your heart will stop and then you will die." "You will die." He said he felt drawn into the video and began to feel hypnotized. That it was shot in closeup of the doctor's face repeating the phrase "You will die." Overall a pretty good setup, though, if things become too physically grim in your life. For around $4,500 you get set up in a very nice room in Switzerland in the mountains and you get to choose the music for your death and the time. You are brought a beverage to coat your stomach initially and then you drink the everlasting gobstopper itself. The whole procedure is videotaped so that both the police can view it to make sure it was all voluntary on the death voyager's part and also so that the deceased family can have a copy if they wish.
If the ghost of Alzheimer's makes spider holes through my brain in a few years and I can scrounge the money up I most certainly wouldn't mind going out in this way. And the price is only slightly more than the quote I got on having my house painted and much less than the quote I got on built-in bookshelves.
At any rate, that is how my wedding eve day began. With a nice visit from Francis and his wife Linda at the store, Francis giddy and repeating "You will die." And now that I think of it, it was just Tuesday that Daniel was in talking about different open mic readings he had caught in San Francisco. And his favorite one was one that happened at I think the 16th St. subway stop. There is a circle of bricks and when you step inside that circle you are the reader. When you've done your speak for a sufficient time the crowd will begin clapping to let you know it is time to step out. Daniel said the most memorable and moving reader was actually a crack fiend who stepped into the circle and very piteously and nervously kept repeating "I'm going to die. I never knew I was going to die. I'm going to die. You, you're going to die, etc. repeating the same phrases with different pronouns. Daniel left with thoughts of his new book perhaps becoming spoken word on cassette and he left in pursuit of water up North.
Then Madame X called sounding good, saying she was on methadone. This sounded good to me. A good ritualistic plan. I have heard many stories of people on heroin waking up dead with viscous stuff of their own devising lodged in their throat or maybe just hotwired dead from some crap that somebody scraped off the bottom of their shoe to sell, but I can't think of any dramatic methadone stories. Or maybe any at all, other than complaints about waiting in lines or maybe stories about people that sold their rations on the street.
Then amazingly Pope came in. With another Linda who was going to the same library conference that the first Linda and Francis were going to. Perhaps this is the major gathering that Edgar Cayce had talked about. But at the great cataclysmic moment everyone will silently and nervously be seated at industrial tables clearing their throats and checking their watches and iPhone messages. And it struck me watching complicated talented thoughtful Pope in need of a tasty fresh kidney the intense narratives of peoples' lives I was getting a taste of. Thoughts of Blaster Al, who Francis was mainly stopping in Baltimore to visit, emerging from the physical rehab place to approach the cabaret stage once more - this time with a cane - to read at the 20th Anniversary Party of Normal's.
Meanwhile, as the swirl of events, especially for a recluse like myself heated up and I prepared for marriage and a honeymoon and a possible end to two years of being tortured by the Lard Filled Maryland Comptroller's office I get an emergency email missive from Pappy in China that Mo needs American hair dye. The Chinese hair dye he got her literally almost killed her.
After hurriedly pricing another fantastic stack of vinyl from The Kindly Hardboiled Man of Catonsville I slipped out of the shop, feeling ancient and thinking "I am to be married." I had to stop off for wine so I chose the old Schnapp Shop I used to haunt every Friday night back in the end of my drinking days. Just a good imported six pack to take the edge off while watching "Homicide". Often in my single days I would fantasize marrying the Korean woman who ran the place and who I'd maybe exchanged a few dozen words of English with over the years. She always seemed so alert and straight forward reading her Bible behind the counter. I bought two bottles of white wine, smiling at the Korean shop owner who I hadn't seen in so long, thinking "I am buying wine at the old Schnapp Shop and I no longer drink and tomorrow I am to be married."
I drove home as the 100 degree heat still clung to everything, feeling sorry for the bus riders crumpling like tortured figures in El Greco paintings on the fiery bus benches.
I got home and stepped through the door and the light and sound and smell was the softest it had ever been. Gleaming floors, new art hung, my baby so happy with her mother, both of them excited and sweating and humming with life. It is a good door to have stepped through and tomorrow I am to be married.