Saturday, January 11, 2014

stick men gone

I see some small amiss outside my window this morning. The automobiles seem to proceed, which implies purpose. Surely they move as they always move, excepting, of course, for when the Settings have been unnaturally adjusted, and it is just the observer who this morning sees differently. But I feel quite the same as yesterday. Both mornings I creaked out of the bed, complained about the ache felt, washed my face roughly with hot water and no soap, brewed exactly the same cup of coffee, fiddled about the kitchen whilst the coffee dripped, avoided my stretching and breathing exercises, felt equally guilty about this avoidance both days, and finally sat down with the coffee and the expectation that nothing outside my window would interest me enough to assign words. Perhaps the cemetery lot. I grow more and more fond of the cemetery lot. I always feel that if I stare long enough it will give me something.

But this morning I need not fixate on the green lot because it seems the traffic on Santa Rosa bustles. The automobiles gather in clusters at the various cross lights and then flow in bursts of acceleration, as if launched, like the starter's pistol has sounded and they have begun a race. Strangely they do not jostle. The cooperation of movement reminds of a dance team, well practiced and choreographed. Each member has an acceptable position and each has quite mastered it. The unison is compelling. Beautiful even. And now I will contradict this analogy as this dance seems more natural than described. Maybe the movements mimic a herd. Vibrant is the one word that sticks. Like the antelope then? I have only seen pictures. Splendid creatures. And outside my window are only machines. Powered by fumes and directed by the mostly absent and unaware. A grand silly notion then to assign such vibrancy to such ordinary landscape no matter how romantical one might feel.

Funny: the clock on my wall, between the windows and above the WALL STREET sign, is pounding this morning. I never notice whether it ticks or not. It is just there. And I like how it looks. But this morning the Pandora went off some time back, the one hour used up, and I did not notice the absence of music and I did not notice the silence and I did not until just now notice how loudly this clock does its work. Tick Tock, tick tock. Like a nursery rhyme.

There are other noises. Suddenly. I rarely hear anything in the morning but what I pipe in. Music mostly, sometimes chatter. Now someone hammers. It sounded at first as if someone knocks on my door. My pulse quickened. Who at this hour? And then the shifting grinding gears of a large oversized vehicle. Out of sight thankfully. Can I hear the traffic on the highway, the steady drone? I strain and am unsure whether I do or do not. I picture the sound and wonder if I merely create noise to fill the expectation? Have my ears become as uncertain as my eyes?

Frost said good fences make good neighbors. In my particular case good glass makes good fence. I need not explain all the advantages of keeping my windows closed. Sure, I could open a couple and be assured of hearing the whole world outside my window. What an idiotic notion. The sheer volume would make it indecipherable. Anyone with a beating heart would fail. And this before the odor that I won't bother to catalogue. This is an urban domicile. Sensory offenses abound.

Yet all things considered it is a lovely morning. The vehicles continue to surprise, to push on in concert. And I see human forms walk about the sidewalk. The sex and age indeterminate from this distance but this morning I find no stickmen. These are distinctly three dimensional forms and at this very minute I can see two of them connected, walking at a recognizable pace, a distinctly human pace, comfortably, hand in hand, a lover's gait. They walk away from my building so I see the backs of them, their outlines from the rear. They head west, towards tonight's sunset, towards a future I can't immediately fathom. Does this make me "in the present" or just unimaginative? As I watch them walk they cause me to feel feeble: it bothers me that I can't decipher him from her, whether they just begin, or are soon to end. It bothers me that I have no words to properly describe them, to offer them about themselves. It bothers me that they are out of my reach. And this last bothers me most: I can not steal from them what they must know, re-package it, display it, call it mine own. I will admit this much, and with a requisite amount of shame. But also I know that should this happy couple stop sauntering, pause for just a moment to turn their collective head to face in my direction, they would see their own reflection in my window and nothing more. They would not see me at all. And then they would likely complain about the distraction and the unpleasant glare from this morning's sun, now shining fully.

And so I keep the windows shut tight because I do not want to hear what the couple has to say. I know what they will say. And it will be base and uninteresting and likely offensive. I can do better. Except when I have nothing to say. And nothing to see. And when I will not listen. But that is not today. Even if today is the same as yesterday have I not just proven today is better? So when I get around to it I will give them a better conversation than the one they are having. Unless they now walk in silence, in which case I will give them a better silence. And I am happy to do this. But I must admit that while it feels good it also feel weighty. Like an obligation. A responsibility. A solemnity. How silly of me to feel these feelings, no? They will be gone from sight soon enough and then will be fully mine. Ownership transferred. It seems then, I fret for no good reason this morning. No good reason at all.


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