When I was in junior high, once a year we had a week where we were permitted to bring our cameras to school and take black-and-white pictures for the yearbook. Two of these pictures are from that. I no longer remember the people in them. There is a streetscape from near my house, and the grayness of the season, the dirty snow, the dried salt on the road, the bare trees in relief against the sunless sky return to me that feeling of endless winter that occurs in the North. And there is my younger sister, just a girl in elementary school at the time. I’ll throw out the pictures from school. I’ll keep that of my sister and the street near my house.
I imagine that your mind is probably shattering at the moment, too. There are too many mental balls to juggle, and they are flying all over the place and getting dropped. Some of them have explosives in them, others are just paint balls, and others are just trite metaphors getting overworked on an unread blog.
That can only mean one thing: It’s time for our weekly break!
I’ll leave you with this thought: It’s my former wife’s weekend with the kids. They don’t hang out with me, y’know, being teenagers and all, but that sensation when I get back from dropping them at school, their presence still palpable (the humidity upstairs from the shower, the smell of whatever it is that my daughter put in her hair, the mug that I used to heat the milk for the hot chocolate my son drinks in the car), it is overwhelming and poignant, it fades all too fast.
And in other good news, it’s baseball season!!
I no longer need or want the new and the shiny.
Pinhole taken with PX 600 Impossible Project Film, Natural light, 10 second exposure, 0.5mm aperture.
I like fixing things, and if something is still usable, although damaged, I’ll hang on to it if I like it. (That’s kind of how I–and hope that those near to me–feel about myself at this point in my life. All of these items are broken, some partially repaired. The mug on the left was a father’s day gift from my daughter, with a crayon drawing of herself. I dropped it shortly after getting it, but I couldn’t bear to throw it out. The Bialetti Moka is probably 6 years old. I’ve changed the gasket a couple of times. but there’s no way to replace the handle that I melted off by ignoring the fact that it was over a flame too long. I’ve done this to more than one moka. More than two. In fact, by the time I melted this one off I said the hell with new ones and I just wrap a coffee-stained towel around it to pour it into my mug. That’s just as well, too, because the Bialettis tend to drip down the front. Next is a mug that states “Will Work for Slivovitz”, with a broken handle, and next to that is a mug that says, “It’s a Katy Thing” with the same problem. But they function. Next to it, a big mug (I like big mugs because you can use them for oatmeal and soup as well!) with this great logo and a broken handle, and in the foregound, an Army Strong mug that has been pieced together with cyanoacrylate (super glue). It still has a handle! None of the repaired mugs has ever come undone due to the heat of the liquid in it.
WAS I ALREADY TOO OLD to call it a voyage of my misspent youth? Maybe–we extend youth so long these days, heaven forfend that we get older, because as you age, you disappear. When you age you get to that point where, when contemplating the future, you no longer see the things that once inspired you, but rather the indignities and the infirmities that lie ahead. That is, unless you adopt a healthy attitude towards aging, and I haven’t. I’m in the midlife crisis I’ve been in since I was 25.
What does it say, in any case? It says to me that I went to Thailand with some woman. It says that people drift apart and experiences are the remembrance of emotion, not of images or place. The trip to Thailand was fun, and it wasn’t fun. It was one of those relationships that had just a bit too much competition and a bit too much held in reserve. It’s all part of the past now, and whatever was good (or bad) about it I will hold in my memory. However, I’m at the point in my life where I’d like to–if I’m able–choose the time and place of my remembering things. I don’t like bad memories slipping in at inconvenient moments. It just muddies my mental waters. If I were a brightsider, I’d say at least I can still remember.
I know it’s only one piece of paper that I am throwing out. But they add up. If I kept it, my children would find it one day (maybe) after I died, and say, oh, so he went to Thailand once. It would not even be a footnote in their memories of me.
On the lighter side, the translations from the Thai are hilarious.
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Not my loss of youth, which is of no consequence. Promise. But 31 years later the title to my motor scooter shows up while I’m packing things up, and I’m thinking
“Great, the title to my scooter had my favorite president’s picture on it.” I had fun on that scooter, the best thing being cops wouldn’t ticket it on Chicago streets, or sidewalks, more likely. At least not in those days. And my girlfriend looked really funny with the helmet on. She had kind of a round face, so with the helmet, her face and head combined to form a sphere with nose, lips and eyes. A really cute sphere. Then we broke up, and this quasi-Amazonian blonde would ride on the back but we were just friends. That was fun, too.
But as I said, it is of no consequence.
So, not thinking about that.
This is what I am thinking about. This play was my introduction to Sir Ian McKellen, though he wasn’t a Sir then. Now he is an elder statesman of sorts, but back then he was just a great (fairly) young actor. I wonder what he would have said if future Ian came to him and said: “You will become most well-known for playing the comic book character, Magneto.”
Tim Curry was in the production, but I already knew him from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I thought he would become the great actor of our generation. This was April 1981. I was wrong, of course. Raiders of the Lost Ark came out that year, too, but voice for voice, Ford can’t hold a candle to Curry. (Or sing “Sloe Gin.” Or rock lingerie and high heels.)
I have searched high and low for a video of this performance. The screenplay was very different from the script for stage. If anyone knows of one, lemme know.
In the meantime, anyone want a playbill? I can’t keep carrying this stuff around with me.