the fantastic yellow kite
This morning in a final push over several hours, little brother and I finally finished The Wizard of Oz. I chose a couple of rangy falsettos in an effort to make the story really come alive and although it made for a cover-to-cover barnburner for Oliver Fern, it wiped me out by the end. Because of the boys I visit the library on a fairly regular basis even when I’m not in the dating pool but I’m a scanner nonpareil and at the moment find myself on a weird streak of enjoyable autobiographies by artist musicians: Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes me a Modern Girl, Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band and at the moment, Patti Smith’s very rewarding Just Kids. Last week I got fed up with myself for paying needlessly exorbitant library fines the past few years and so I became a member of Friends of the Seattle Public Library as a sort of penance. My breaking point arrived Tuesday night when I tried to pay another fine accrued mostly on earth-shattering titles such as Revenge of the Zombie Monks and Cats of the Clans but the librarian couldn’t change my fifty dollar bill (left-over allowance money from traveling this summer and since it was near closing time I suddenly felt like the shifty sort casing the joint for an Ocean’s 11-type heist because what kind of doofus tries to break such a big bill in their neighborhood library?). After I apologized and insisted I’d gotten my just desserts and would simply pay the fine as soon as I got home (over the web and I know what you’re thinking but I don’t think she thought I could handle the computer technology in the library in the thirty minutes before closing) she got a peek at Adam riding my coattails, holding a Dagwood sandwich-sized stack of books. She smiled and said she’d override the system so we could still check-out (normal protocol is that $15 or more in overdue fines gets you cut off). That was awfully nice of her to give us a break (in case you’re wondering, she wasn’t the other, weird-seeming librarian who jogs home in casual pleats through our neighborhood and whom I have a schoolboy crush on) and on the way home I explained to Adam we have to keep our library karma out of the red for a spell.
Saturday night, we took the boys to Gas Works Park to fly the most pitiful-looking yellow kite you’ve ever seen which has been squashed and pancaked under Adam’s bed for the past five years. The classic diamond was missing the spar but we cleverly improvised with debris from the junk closet. I’ll be honest in that it looked downright awful at first, sort of like a stingray trying to outrun an underwater vacuum cleaner, but we got the dang thing to fly. The boys were thrilled! I have the fondest memories of flying kites as a boy and it was a treat just to get ours a few inches off the ground so when the thing started hovering above the old gas works it was an extraordinarily grand moment. The brittle, homemade frame we’d fashioned cracked in several places but we performed field repairs and it flew even higher and bemused tourists from Japan went crazy taking pictures of Oliver Fern with his blonde hair, blue eyes and John Deere shirt as he sprinted up and down the park to help with kite-retrieval and yell at passersby about the fantastic yellow kite. There was a ton of weed on Kite Hill (several cannabis shops are conveniently and rather appropriately-sited on nearby Stone Way North) and park-goers seemed unusually giggly and forgiving as we disentangled kite string from their necks, arms and legs and Oliver Fern was regarded as something of a loudmouthed oracle of righteousness and purity. On the way home we passed nearly-emptied Husky Stadium, where we heard the Public Address Announcer flossing his teeth and announcing the third quarter score in the University of Washington’s pointless dismantling of Portland State.