Odd Day

•April 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

After the excitement of the weekend, it was especially difficult to get back into the normal weekly routine. Partly this was exaggerated by the fact that I left the house before the Curmudgeonly Lion which felt very strange. We’re both early risers, but I’m used to having the motivation of having to get up and get his lunch made before he has to hit the road to give my morning some momentum. It’ll take some adjustment to get used to the new way of doing things. 

Maybe it was all the excitement from the weekend, or maybe it was all the candy and rich food, but I’ve been rather foggy headed all morning. I know I need to get myself organized to tackle all the things that I put off for the sake of the holiday and the arrival of the new baby ( the producer in me is secretly delighted about how punctual he was… priorities), but even after two cups of coffee I still feel like my head is in a cloud.  I need to get my act together and make myself a plan  so that I can follow the steps without having to think about it too much.

So that’s my day. Not the most interesting day, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.


•April 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

OMG Facebook.

I’ve been away from it for forty days of Lent but it doesn’t seem like I missed much: the same old outrage is right where I left it. It’s a little bit disappointing: I’d hoped that by getting away from it for a while I’d be able to return to it with fresh appreciation for the connection and insight it gives me into the lives of my friends, but mostly I found myself disappointed that it was all the same old arguments and clickbait. Maybe it really is time to hang up the profile. I mean, in the last forty days I’ve gotten a full time job, celebrated the Curmudgeonly Lion getting a new job, written a feature length script, lost a cat, and gained a nephew, so it’s not exactly like life stopped because I was disconnected from social media.

The nephew, of course, is the newest news: my sister Bean delivered her baby yesterday, hitting her target due date on the bullseye.  It’s a boy, obviously, as ‘nephew’ implies, whom I referred to all through the pregnancy as ‘Nugget’,  so I shall continue to call him that for the sake of online privacy. Nugget sounds cute and plump and little, but our Nugget weighed in at eight pounds and eight ounces and came out twenty two inches long. So he was born long and tall.  I haven’t held him yet: the first day he was in the neonatal ICU for some meconium (aspiration?) that the doctors wanted to keep an eye on, but he’s doing well. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to hold him once Bean-mom needs a babysitter in order to get some sleep. 

So it was an exciting weekend and the start to a new chapter in life. With so many changes lately it feels like we’ve barely been able to gather our wits so it was good to just have family around to share Easter with and to enjoy the here and now. 

Not Water Heater

•April 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment

After a lukewarm shower in the morning, we discovered that the water heater pilot light was out and there seemed to be no resurrecting it. There was no smell of gas, although the stove seemed to light without a problem. We fussed with it for over an hour before giving up and deciding to just go without a shower until someone could come look at it. 

Naturally, we’re heading into a holiday weekend. 

It’s one of those issues that I’m sure the plumber will be able to fix with a stern look, but which we are not equipped to diagnose ourselves. So that was a rather frustrating ending to an otherwise tolerable day. 

Instead of braving traffic right at rush hour, we decided to grab a bite to eat before hitting the road. Google coughed up a list of cheap places in the area and we settled on a restaurant called The Apple Pan, which promised classic burgers and pie in a 1940s style diner. I’m not sure I could have told you what a 1940s diner should look like, but somehow The Apple Pan was exactly what it promised. It was a small, house-like diner with a long square counter with swiveling stools. The walls were punctuated with wide, sashed windows that opened at the top and the bottom for a cross breeze. Coffee came in a ceramic cup on a saucer. Ketchup came out of a glass bottle. The bill was calculated In the waiters head, paid in cash, and rung up in a vintage, mechanical register.  I’m not sure I’d call it the best burger is ever eaten, but it was worth the trip. Hell, the french fries were worth the trip, and usually I find fench fries to be a waste of a potato. 

So that was a bright spot in the day.

Tomorrow, of course, is Good Friday. It’s the Curmudgeonly Lion’s final day at his old job and a short day of work at my job. Hopefully we’ll be able to get the water heater back up and running before the weekend. Fingers crossed. Otherwise it might be a smelly Easter. 

Black Felt Hat

•April 12, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The little Asian lady in the black felt hat is a regular. She gets on the bus at the same station as me, transfers the same buses, and gets off at the same stop at the far end. She’s almost never late, so I know that if I see her there is a good chance that I’ll get to work on time. 

This morning we boarded the same bus like usual. We both descended at the transfer stop- she stood up out of her seat in front of me and exited the bus in front of me. We crossed the street at the crosswalk at the same time. 

But when the transfer bus came, she was nowhere to be seen. I looked up the sidewalk, searched the immediate area for someplace she might’ve hidden away, but the bus stop was in an open place and there was no obvious place she could’ve gone to be out of sight- not in her bright red coat, anyway. 

I boarded the bus, worried that I hadn’t seen her and worried that she would miss her transfer. It was me and one other girl who boarded. I thought that maybe HatLady had somehow boarded ahead of me and I just hadn’t noticed, but she wasn’t in any of the seats as I made my way to the back of the bus. After sitting I glanced forward again to see if she’d boarded after me, but I still didn’t see her. I supposed that she may have chosen to take a different route and put it out of my mind. Maybe she had other plans.

As the bus wended it’s way to the highway, I worked on a post for the day. When I finished, we were nearing the top of the pass through the hills. Glancing forward along the length of the bus, I recognized a familiar hat. HatLady was on the bus! When did she get there? How did she get there? Had she been there all along?  How had I not seen her?

While I’m certain there is a perfectly rational explanation, somehow, still reality seemed to have slipped. How did it happen? 

Trash Art

•April 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Look, I can be artsy too.

I happened to glance into the trash can I’d tossed my banana peel and I discovered that it had a strangely pleasing aesthetic to it. So I took a photo. Because in this day and age, taking a picture of the trash is not the strangest thing that I could do and still be considered normal. 

It looks like the kind of photograph that would be printed in high contrast black and white at about sixty inches wide and would be the centerpiece of some rich uppity-ups New York penthouse loft. Because there’s no halfway with trash photography- it’s not the kind of thing that would be sold at Hobby Lobby. Unless it was a banana peel in Paris or something. 

The critics would call it a “moving study in our relationship with consumer culture and our own dilemmas mortality.” Or “a feminist commetary on the emasculated man and the perils of toxic masculinity.” Or “a meditation on the death of innocence as represented by the banana peel- a traditional symbol of comedy.” Or something. I’m sure it would be much more meaningful than “hey, that looks cool.” 

At any rate, you’re seeing it here first. For free. Look how cultured we’re becoming.

Week’s Start

•April 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I had thirty minutes. My options were to use them wisely or to go back to bed for a few more minutes of restless, distracted sleep. It had been a night full of convoluted, gothic dreams as my mind struggled to find some way to make the three different films (“Get Out”, “Tomorrowland”, “Crimson Peak”, and maybe just a hint of “Huntsman: Winter War”) and the fragments of three different scripts that I’d read all fit together as a monstrous whole. In my sleeping mind, my human need to find patterns and connections was overriding my instinct to categorize and compartmentalize with some interesting, but mostly inarticulate results. 

So although I slept soundly, apparently through car alarms and barking dogs, I awoke feeling restless and uneasy. Maybe this is why, when faced with thirty minutes of free time, I elected to use it for sorting old digital files and clearing the desktop of my computer. It’s one of those things that I’ve been meaning to to for years and never quite seemed to get around to. And thirty minutes is hardly an in depth inventory of my digital footprint, but at least it felt like a start. 

It’s shaping up to be a busy week: there’s the holiday, of course, and a lot of family will be coming into town. I’m hopeful that the chaos of it all will prompt my creativity and/or motivate me to suddenly get things done around the house. It’s easy to get enthusiastic about a new project- it’s a lot harder to be enthusiastic about getting around to dealing with the stains on the carpet or figuring out where to stash the recycling. 

I’m hopeful that the fact that I’m off to a productive start will portend good things. Positive thoughts.

Dead Mall

•April 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

After three different people on three different occasions told me to go see “Get Out” I finally decided to make the effort to get to a theatre. Embarrassingly, this was my first time going to any of the theatres in the area since we moved across the city in August. Too easy just to stay in, I guess. 

We went to an enormous AMC multiplex nearby. From the street, it was very impressive indeed: three stories tall and dominating the block. Almost immediately upon walking in the door, however, it was possible to catch the faintest whiff of dereliction: everything just slightly under lit and under cleaned, washed with a gray haze of apathy. But, no matter: we were there to catch a movie that was starting in less than ten minutes. No time to worry about the maintenance of the lobby. 

The theatre itself was unremarkable except that the seating was so steep that the screen might as well have been the sandy arena of the Colosseum of Rome. But the movie was good and the audience was responsive and polite and a good time was had by all. 

Walking out, I found myself looking past the concession stand until the echoing halls of what appeared to be some kind of concourse. 

“Is that a mall?” I asked the Curmudgeonly Lion. 

We decided to check it out. At the threshold of the theater’s territory stood a row of small tables. Beside one of these stood a man carrying on a detailed conversation with some entity not visible to anyone but himself. No one else seemed to notice him. We crossed the threshold out into unknown territory. 

It did appear to be a mall, except that there were no stores. At least, there weren’t any stores that were open: an endless procession of blank storefronts led the way to a central atrium. The tinge of apathy in the air before began to curdle into eerie unease. Two or three other people drifted past, but otherwise the halls appeared to be abandoned. Aside from being closed, everything seemed to be in good repair- as if every single store had decided to go into some kind of stasis. 

We followed the hall around to where an anchor store once stood: the maw of which was now just a blank wall shrouded in a deeper twilight of shadows where the light from the skylights overhead failed to penetrate. A pair of hipster teenagers lurked nearby, tucked away at a table in a small alcove. They watched us walk by. 

“Do you want to go downstairs?” the Lion asked. Here at the end of the concourse, a pair of staircases led down to a first floor. 

“Sure.” I said, expecting the lower level to be just as abandoned as the level above, but as we made our way down the steps, lo and behold we found ourselves staring into the windows of a Crown Books book store, of all things. Of all the stores to still be alive in a dead mall- the book store. 

Considering the eldritch nature of the whole adventure, of course we had to go in. The stacks were loosely organized and most of the shelf labels had been written by had and affixed with tape. Half of the floor was given over to a Spirit Halloween style costume store, and a strange selection of masks had migrated into the bookstore to stare down like gargoyles from the tops of the shelves. Everything was on sale. The carpet was worn down in grey footpaths around previous displays that were now only evident by the cuts made in the industrial carpet that were now repaired with duct tape. Water dripped from the ceiling into a five gallon plastic paint bucket in the middle of the floor. 

I ended up buying a book and some greeting cards. We left as the sun was going down and I joked ( mostly) about the fact that we had to get out before the vampires woke up to feed. Aside from a lingering sense of unease, we were no worse off for our adventure. I like to malign malls as being places that are too crowded and too much sensory input for me to truly enjoy going into one on a normal day, but I now realize how sad and strange they become when the life goes out of them. 

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