I often dream of fish tanks. Several large and small and each and every one full of goldfish with bubble eyes and fish with glowing skin and sharp, innumerable teeth. There are also bettas and a few catfish. Quite the collection.
The fish tanks appear in different dreams, dreams not about the fish tanks but in which they linger in the background.
Regardless, in every dream, whatever the dream in which the fish tanks appear, I approach them and am horrified, struck by the realization that I have not fed the fish.
The fish are starving, and it’s all my fault.
So I feed them. But as I feed them the fish grow larger, they swell to grotesque size and multiply. More feed, more fish, more fish more feed. So many fish, it is insane.
I don’t often wake up at this point. But beyond this point the dream gets hazy, and I don’t know what happened (what happens) with the fish tanks and I don’t know what became (what will become) of the fish.
I know I don’t regret feeding them because of the fact I forget (have forgotten) that they are my responsibility, and I need to make up for it. It’s too late not to feel that way. Everything after that is perhaps regrettable, but then how do you fight the multitudes? Is that even the point?
Not when the fish are starving.
No, not then.
Some people are landscapes, and I catch myself staring at them so that I can take them in; their vistas, outlines and curves and bends. Each and every one of their distinguishing (and distinguished, depending, frankly, on the face) features.
It’s something I’ve done since as long as I can remember.
(And I remember getting into more than one schoolyard fight for “staring hard” at other kids and, once, as a first grader, getting into it deep a sixth grader whose prominent brow, delicate nose and permanently puckered mouth was like staring into the very depths of a suddenly de-randomized, nearly cogent universe…I feel like I was very close to something then, even if that something ended up chasing me back to the little kids’ side of the schoolyard, fists like cinder blocks raised in semi-righteous anger, puckered mouth ruining itself like a torn suture as they raged on at me).
It’s true, though: sometimes they catch me, the people do, staring at them. Taking them in. My options then are very limited. 1) Ignore and break away, or 2) Keep right on staring. Very little needs to be said in the moment.
Look. It’s not personal. You just have an interesting smile, a striking pose, an odd jawline, great limbs, a kind expression (or a monstrous one).
These are not compliments or criticisms or facts.
Just me, taking in the lay of the land and then moving on so we can both get on with the rest of our lives.
Now doesn’t that sound nice – isn’t that OK – if not totally one hundred percent reasonable?
If it wasn’t for the radio, I’d never be introduced to new music (new and new to me “new”).
What is this a sign of? Advancing age? The times?
If I am listening to the radio, I am likely in the car (the stations are pre-set from the previous owner so I just mash at them till I find something that I like or don’t dislike). Or I’m at the office. Or someone else’s office, the doctor’s, say, or the dentist’s.
But offices tend towards Top 40, which to the untrained ear (mine) sound like one long indistinguishable song with commercials jammed in at prescribed intervals.
Or they play “oldies,” the criteria for which are becoming increasingly arbitrary with time (like 50’s “Oldies”, 90s “Throwbacks”?). No help there, not for the uninitiated.
At my previous office, they played talk radio and podcasts. Even less help there. For all I know, they’re playing such things still. No music. No new (or “new”) music.
As for me, I will continue to experience new music as it comes, one song at a time, one car ride at any given time…
Unless I hook up the Bluetooth – which of course I will – with my playlist of exactly 8 songs, circa 2003.
The professor’s face was set amongst pleasantly rounded features – stub nose, soft cheeks spread across the gentle slope of his jawline, topped off by a pat of fine ginger hair and a pair of affable eyes that rested lazily under slightly-smudged and overlarge glasses.
We had been discussing my future as a graduate student. I mumbled something along the lines of “kind of” to one of his inquiries about my academic intents and ambitions.
“‘Kind of?’” he responded, laughter pulling those features into sharp, fine lines. “You’re either pregnant or you’re not.”
That sentence haunted me for a really long time. Months, weeks and so on. Even today, I think about it still.
That, and my response, which was simply a listless and non-committal, “Yeah.”
God. Damn. It.
So many other things that could have been said in that seconds after “you’re not.” So many things that should have been. Among these:
- “Only if I don’t know who the father is.”
- “Schrödinger’s pregnancy!”
- “Sir, I am pregnant until I’m not. And I’m not until I am.”
I think I have finally realized what happened, way back then. I missed it.
I had missed my shot.
Other people had said similar things to me since.
But it’s not the same.
Besides, the universe is not to be trusted when it comes to do-overs.
So many regrets in this life. In the end, what’s one more?
One more yeah.
- Dried out grapefruit is still grapefruit, but not great grapefruit.
- Semi-identical twins!
- Sometimes the weather really is all there is to talk about.
- If you put a dinosaur on it, I will buy it.
- More lemon water please!
- Take care of your cast iron and it will take care of you.
- Beware the jerks (but no need to fret over them).
- I like asking nicely until I don’t.
- My dog is DRAMATIC.
- Nothing like bad advice to put the rest of the day into perspective.
- Spicy beef patties or nothing at all.
- It’s good to be present, if not always available.
- Talents come in all shapes and sizes and, occasionally, smells.
- How to read the imperfect novel (still learning that one).
- Less brains doesn’t mean more heart.
- I hate “Actually.”
- Odd numbers please me.
- Descent into: chaos, madness, despair.
- Everything eventually possible.
- Skin deep is still deep.
- Normal vs. New Normal.
- Quietly: plotting, dreaming, lusting.
- Go. Ahead.
- Take out/Eat in.
- Lovely vs. Delightful
- Enough is already enough.
- Augmented: reality, fourths, butts.
- Profanity is life.
- Over the moon/Under the sun.
- Please Me vs. Excuse YOU.
- That was the deal?
- The Endgame Affair
- CRASH TEST
- Fool Me Once
- Blue Cryptic
- The Ensembles
- Just Swell
- Missy Disembarks: A Dame’s Night Out Mystery
- Only Ugly
- Flapjack’s Cafe for Lost Dogs
- Fluid Motions
- Turgid Boulevards of the Defeated Heart
- Turn Away
- Best Not Lived
- Silver & Gold
- Forgone Conclusion
- I Eat You Face
- EVERYTHING ACES
- Crab Logistics
- Pie In The Sky
- On, Wayward
- Half-Life Falling
- Clubfoot Jones: The Reckoning (Part II)
- THE JUNCTURE
- 100 Reasons, 10,000 Excuses
- Poke The Bear
- Not For Dummies
“Cindy. I love you. But [HORRIBLE THING SAID ABOUT ME WITHOUT REMORSE].”
Has this ever happened to you?
Why not just tell me to fuck right off? That would have been preferable. It would have been so much better.
Not, “I love you.”
And don’t call me by my name. Don’t use my name and “I love you,” so you don’t have to feel bad about that horrible thing you actually wanted to say in the first place, but were too cowardly to do so without some desperate preface.
In any case, the love, the particular love cited here: it was not mutual. We weren’t that good of friends, not to warrant that.
That horrible thing; it didn’t have to be true to be effective, if that’s what you were going for. But you cheapened it with “I love you.” That horrible thing could have stood well enough on its own and maybe we could have worked through it…
JK, JK, JK!!! You and me? We’re done. Oh, we are so over.
So I’m just left to conclude that what we had when we started was already less than what we ended up with.
In other words, we made some excellent progress, you and I.
There are quite a few things in my house that I literally picked off the street, things people left out for other people to take…unless no one does, and those then things become garbage.
My former neighbourhood (two neighbourhoods before this one) was great for found objects; weekly treasures that sprang up with the morning dew like mushrooms. Most of the things were gently used, some were brand new (i.e. still in the packaging); others, decidedly not.
My former neighbourhood (one neighbourhood before this one) was pretty good for found objects, though they were more seasonal in nature, appearing like the harvest moon or showering the streets like meteorites.
My current neighbourhood is OK for found objects. They appear often enough, but not always, like good (or bad) weather, seemingly blowing in with the wind itself. Timing is key here.
Then there are the random neighbourhoods I pass through with their own rhyme, reason and rhythms for found objects. Timing is everything, in these places.
My current take from the streets thus far includes (but is not limited to):
- A sturdy red (seldom used) TV tray.
- Books in varying condition (mostly good, mostly celebrity autobiographies, cookbooks and textbooks with interesting pictures, maps and diagrams).
- A detail of Michelangelo’s “Birth of Man,” in a gilded frame.
- A metal, Tiffany-esque lamp (the kind with three settings…bright, Brighter, BRIGHTEST).
- Coffee mugs (more than a few, some of them funky).
- THIS MAGNIFICENT TWIN HORSE LAMP.
- A wooden owl. Decorative?
- Big-ass sea shells!
- A working Magic 8 Ball (found by my sister-in-law and generously gifted to me). Yes – definitely.
- An ornate black resin picture frame, of the kind you’d find at your great aunt’s house, or failing that, an off-the-beaten-track Winners.
- Like, so. Many. DVDs (including the an entire season of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer).
- A kitchen mirror (non-haunted).
- Two 1,000 piece puzzles (one of doughnuts, one of shoes).
Will I ever stop finding things on the street and taking them home?
There are…other ways to live, I’m sure, that don’t entail picking things off the street to use and enjoy in your home – ways involving, I dunno, yachts and oversize vases that accent the Roman pillars holding up the front entrance of your foyer. Or not.
There are places with foyers. And places without.
There are ways, certainly, like that.
That is very, very true.
Because my driver’s licence expires in a month or so, the librarian at my local branch was only willing to renew my library card up to the expiry date on my licence.
Her reasoning eludes me still. Something about me needing to be the person I had to be, while also proving it via means beyond my own, personal power. Real means. State means. Government issued and approved.
I was told I could come back to that branch when I renew my licence – new expiry date in hand – in order to, finally, renew my library card for the full year.
Cost of renewal of library card: $0.
Cost of renewal of driver’s licence: $90 (plus a new photo, a new take on my face, to go with the new card I will be issued).
These two things are related and they are not. It seems to be that I am getting a free library card with my driver’s licence fee AND that I am getting a free driver’s licence with the $90 renewal of my library card.
Both these things are equally true, if not equally valid. The privilege of going to the library is having the power to drive and the privilege of driving is exercising the power, your power, to go to the library.
Either way, you pay.
As you should, or should at least expect to.