Adam rode the train by himself tonight, for the first darn time. The intrepid journey into metropolis was to join his mother for a high falutin’ dinner to chat about important stuff (like who keeps stealing his lunch at school) and then “catch” a show at the Fifth Avenue Theatre. Oliver Fern and I walked with him into the Capitol Hill station and after waving his transit pass in front of the electronic card reader which emits a grating electronic blip that tells you to hurry already, he dismissively (quite unceremoniously, if I should say so) waved us off goodbye or something like it while commencing the descent atop the escalator which goes down very, very far into a mighty cavernous hole that was dug impressively deep (deeper than most, apparently). Down on the subterranean, windy platform waiting for just about forever into the future because the dadblasted train got broken down someplace else, he found himself confronted by half a dozen concerned, well-meaning bystanders (including the transit police) who couldn’t comprehend how in the world anyone under thirty years of age let alone an eleven year old could possibly venture into the city without a telephone surgically implanted to their head. The breathless recounting tonight about this Big Train Station To-Do unnerved me far more than him because you get lumpy-throated when it comes to your babies. The plan was fairly failure-safe with his mother on the platform just a couple stops down the line waiting to receive him and don’t accept candy or video games, kick the creep nice and hard in the acorns, gouge the eyeballs, scream as loudly as you can, most of all watch out for “nice” people but never mind. Sure I was wracked with parental guilt until the eagle landed but Adam was passing the threshold to Pluto, for Pete’s sake. And after all, Seattle’s no Thunderdome plus he’s well aware two out of every three grownups are useless, he can handle himself.
postscript: This is a sliced-and-diced excerpt from a December draft (still that doggone first week). I’ve been stuck. Everything I write has been sounding like prototypical pseudo-pretentious bloggy-woggy horseshit. Well, the usual problems with coherence are cropping up, too. Oh bother, I’ll get there! Winter break is over. Grandma left town by jet airplane back to the Windy City, yesterday. As you can imagine, this has the boys in more of a funk than homework. It’ll certainly be quieter around here. Much of my discretionary time continues to be occupied by the in-depth study of that wonder and mystery called the tides you see having had in my possession for some time a trio of fascinating books on the subject that were waiting to be dusted off and finally one day several weeks ago when the boys, grandmother and I explored about sunny Lincoln Park in faraway West Seattle for the occasion of observing the impressive king tides, it dawned upon me a rearranging of the queue was in order and so I’ve been happily transported lately to places like the Bay of Fundy, Mont Saint Michel, the Qiantang or weathered pages of my old tide tables for different points around the Whulge. A couple of the books had been languishing atop that little three drawer pullout I refashioned (utilizing my orbital saw, a sander thingy and another cutter thingy) from the arts-and-crafty desk the neighbors left sitting on the sidewalk last winter. It’s the conundrum of the generalist in that I’ve wanted to dive into them the worst way but needed the right window.
One of the small pleasures in life is smooshing down the crinkly pillows of air in mossed-up grass into mysterious crop circles on a frosty morning while waiting for the
big yellow school bus to appear like an apparition out of the big green of the Arboretum but as the stop is down in the valley where the sun barely don’t shine (by two o’clock in the afternoon those sunbeams promptly disappear someplace like the west slope of snooty Queen Anne Hill) Adam and I often resort to huddling like shivering, scared pups baffled by each other’s wispy dragon breathpuffs.
At lunchtime on my way home from the acquisition of the Darth Vadery solar panels which will be hung on a rusty hook next to the hummingbird feeder on the backyard lean-to in the event of a
not-too-unlikely catastrophic earthquake which will perhaps flatten our rickety old house (never mind less-appealing Plan B wherein everything’s relocated to the bottom of the liquefied hill) an over-height box truck had become tightly wedged beneath that cute stone footbridge on Lake Washington Boulevard which most visitors to Washington Park Arboretum will regard with so much casual admiration such little inkling do they have about the longstanding (1911) utility of the invisible aqueduct which if you must know is listed by the National Register of Historic Places quite possibly making it one of the most distinguished sewer pipes around. As you can imagine, neither the embarrassed, distressed driver of the box truck nor the annoyed police officer (directing one lane of traffic) had need of such information. Poop, poop, poop!
postscript: This was that quite cold, brilliant sunshine-filled week early in December the day after I fell on the stairs and you will see I wasn’t so awfully hurt as to not be walking around like a dadnabbed fool making crop circles. Regarding the Arboretum Sewer Trestle (the wondrously inelegant official name which nobody has ever heard of) let me tell you it was the third time I’ve witnessed decapitated automotive wreckage underneath that historic aqueduct. The first occasion featured a super-crumpled fifteen-foot moving truck while the second instance involved a frighteningly sheared-off tour bus. Now maybe these witnessings don’t exactly fall into the category of darnedest things but sort of they do, I believe. Speaking of which, I find myself
real tickled at the spelling of “darnedest”. The unexpected extra “e”, I love it. I had no idea.
Half-awake on Monday morning
it was that I plum missed a dark purple step, pitching several stairs down for earthfall to the unforgivingly wooden landing (not unlike a catapulted manatee, also referred to as the sea cow). Summoned downstairs because little brother was taking up lots of space with the infamous Underwear Cha-cha-chá (supposed to be brushing teeth, dressing hair, combing clothes and so on and so forth) and as such gingerly making my way by Braille, the big toe on the left foot misinterpreted the elongated crack which runs from the base of the fifth riser to the raised, coppery-smooth nail. Wrong nail. Remarkably, no bones were broken as I would self-arrest into classic Armadillidiidae. Cha-cha-chá. postscript: A week and nine days have passed since I wrote this. That’s endless news cycles, shutter actuations, inspirational moments and light years away. When you finish reading this I’ll have written something else.
Early a couple mornings ago I lay awake listening to the key turn noisily downstairs in the infuriatingly fussy front door (like picking the lock to your own place) as the boys’ mother slipped out of the house in foggy predawn darkness above the valley and her crunchy footsteps in the gravel were replaced by a metaphorical light bulb in my head flickering to life and with a mixture of relief and incredulity it dawned on me a wedge was finally available to begin writing again on WordPress. You see, the prior evening a real light bulb exploded in the dining room and that’s what’s called turning a lemon into an a-ha! moment and I know the device is corny but I’ve gotta go with it as this particularly long, fallow period in the archive has tormented me so.
At any rate, the ceilings in the downstairs of the old house are ten feet high and as the fixture in question was inside of a large, inverted pendant, a little monkey business with the space-time continuum will reveal shrapnel from the bulb spinning light-speed around the bowl at supersonic orbit before topping the rim whereupon inertially depleted the whole mess ejects airborne far less hazardously (it got everywhere, though). So it was I crawled about all fours underneath the dining table in search of glittering, jigsawed shards and this enterprise was dramatically complexified by our lack of recent housekeeping owing to a case of pinkeye, big brother’s school camping trip up to Orcas Island last week (hang the sleeping bag out and fight the October moldies) and a long weekend on the coast. Crumbs representing every food group, ossified and petrified over a period of several years into more convenient vacuumable crystalline form, reflected sparkles of light from my headlamp which similarly resembled….. razor-sharp glass. Sigh. Anyone knows vacuuming glass is an ill-advised shortcut of last resort so waddling with elbows and knees on the floor like an arthritic Corgi, periodically splaying about in despair like some kind of human lint brush, can you imagine the futility? I’m not some kind of stoic. Adam was supposed to be brushing his teeth and putting on pajamas instead of standing in the doorway a comfortable distance, supervising me here and there to old cracker crumbs and sesame seeds. He pointed out several pieces of large glass but got fed up and walked over in exasperation, “nooooooo, right heeeeerrre!”. He’s such a good boy, haha! Mutually therapeutic chuckling and guffawing reminisces followed about Lucy the Pug and how she used to keep the floor so darn clean but we had to keep a lid on it. God knows how Oliver Fern slept through the explosion and we weren’t about to disturb his beauty rest.
In other happenings, this week it was legendary Jimmy Hendrix’s aunt’s turn-of-the-century house around the corner getting new siding and today the abatement fellows began removing the old asbestos and the process seemed dubiously suspect if I’m to tell the truth, another toxic calling card of the Great Rapacious Emerald City Real Estate Gold Rush I thought was supposed to be petering out. Yesterday, Adam reported he missed all of social studies because of earthquake drills and this morning Oliver Fern had his first routine eye exam- a jet fighter pilot career is still on the table (he has been practicing in X-Plane and you’d be surprised). In the photography department, I’ve got a firmware update to do on the Fuji. A goal of mine is to fall in with a photography club this winter because shooting at night seems to arouse more suspicion than it used to and the boys just can’t stay up that late (and it’s not as though they can stand off to the side reading a book in the dark).
postscript: I wrote this last Friday. Wow. I’m certainly picking up where I left off with hard-to-read, florid stream of consciousness. Still, it’s good to be back at the old Model Seven spraying fountains of messy gold sparks into the air as it were!