Friday, April 9, 2010

Word it up with a nice big bow

"I say things. Largely in a vacuum. Words falling into void
with no way out. Trapped. Just like humanity.
Odd, unfreed in a land that headlines freedom as the big selling point."

A few years back I found myself-no thanks to Thoreau-sitting on a pile of pallets. Used, no less. Last smoke lit burning down much like my life. Watching it ash on the ground for people that were going places to step on. I had no where to be. Close to no where to go. I took comfort knowing the highly acclaimed son of G-d had no place to lay his head at one time early in his career. Maybe I found it humorous. However, this was no laughing matter.

Or maybe it was

I was coming down off of a non-drugged trip and thru non-loosely joined events was attempting to hold on to the small thread of sanity I still had. Maybe I just thought I had it, because looking back I was gnarley in a psychotic kind of way. All for good reason.

It was a tad bit below comfortable outside. Three feet of snow and a wind chill of minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit made it so. I had already pitched the wardrobe of a consultant and was headed to my pseudo job. The one I did not really have but really did need.

I came to Brockport, NY (nice 'lil village a rock's throw from Rochester) to advise a University on all things numerical. Boring work but it paid well. However, I was more interested in this red headed number. She owned a bar up the road and through a bit of negotiation and down-south-charm I had scored a gig.

I started slinging drinks.

I was there for the raw words. The placed was named 'the saloon.' It was true to form. A long narrow building that housed a weathered wood bar with stools. Regulars. Lots and lots of regulars. It was an eclectic group who knew it. Journals and books thrown atop a wooden top with etchings of writers who were tired of writing on paper soaked with beer. And they had words.

I had met the owner weeks earlier and after slipping my wedding ring in my pocket I slid her my answer to her question, “wanna fuck?” Thanks to the spirits it soon became clear that it was not her question but belonged to a girl down to the left of me. Thankfully the question holder soon became enamored with a logger to HER left who was more her type. Plus he said he had plenty of blow. Her eyes said she was thrilled. The redhead got a kick out of it all.

I suppose I owe the note passer a beer or a crack rock. Because of the note I got into conversation. Many of them. Eventually I got an invite up to the bartender's room which was housed above 'the saloon.' The solutions to my problems were housed there as well. Who knew?

I walked in the first time just as I did the last. Eyes half-opened but moving more to full. She had stacks. The type of room you would expect from a researcher or maybe someone half-cocked to full on nuts. Stacks of books and notes between the pages. Her reading was all over the place. Trying to find a home between Swiss Mathematicians and Historical whack jobs that she said she could not get with. I think she dug the whack jobs more than she led on. The books she did not like she ripped and burned except for the cover. She used the covers to decorate the wall surrounding her fireplace. They were hung upside down.

We would read in that loft. Sometimes random passages that turned to rants: Euler's far out proofs that got little play, Emerson sparking transcendentalism, Dr Seuss's brilliance oh so hidden. Other times we listened to the pages turn. Then we would light up and laugh at it all. Me the escaped consultant and her the PhD in anthropology playing pretend in a world that was edging closer to 9-11. Both people hurting and wanting to be understood. Somewhere in there we would have sex and I think it was good.

My time was running down at The Saloon. Word got back to the chiefs and the war drums were beating. (What was a guy like me doing in a place like that? What would it do to the company image?) On one of my last nights a guy walked in with no jokes but a nice sheet of blotter. He had Cali flair and a confused face that begged the question of why he was in N.Y. His hair was equally confused. Some black some grey some curly some straight and it all went whatever direction it wanted. But he had acid.

He went on and on that night about how this shit he had was not the opiate of the masses but better. It was the answer as much as it was the question. That somehow people heard the right words and saw just the right thing for them when they were tripping on his dose. And I got it.

That one guy on that one night with that one spill summed up all my confusion. I wanted someone, anyone, to hear my fucking words. Not agree. Not bow down. Just hear. I tried explaining it to the room of the now drunk and tripping, but they did not get it. Perhaps I just thought it. Drugs tend to blur the connection lines. Either/or.  An issue of EGR popped in my head and it summed up my state of affairs quite nicely:
"It seemed to me that no one really understood what anyone else was saying. It still does. We are locked up in our heads with our ideas: memories, longings, aspirations, disappointments, dreams. We try to explain. We fail. This disconnect is so dependable it has become our closest bond."
A decade later and I am there again. Better shape. Mind is steady. I quit smoking. I have no wedding ring to drop in a pocket. What I do have is a want to draw a line from me to you. Hieroglyphics on a wall that can be pointed at and drawn on top of. Someone else writes captions underneath and we nod because we kinda get it. More, we get each other. I wonder if it ever happens.