Thursday, January 6, 2011

Redolent Woods (Continued)

(I've been tossing and turning over a professional quandry for days.... and just now, at 4:41 AM, after falling asleep at my writing desk, and rousing myself to brush my teeth, and place my head upon a pillow... I have discovered the niggling solution.  A few hours ago I could feel the pressure of the need for an answer putting grotesque strain on my mind.  The last few mornings I've awakened, and as I slide off my clothes to enter the shower looked into the mirror at someone who looked like he had been tortured all night.  It's not all that bad... just riddles that present themselves to someone who NEVER knows nearly enough answers, and refuses the sensible retreat of his fellow creatures.  In any case... for the next seven or eight hours I can put into play the puzzle that has assembled itself... but for now, before I grab breakfast, I might as well write a bit.  Sleep.... beautiful sleep, has been replaced by a slightly less accusing mien, as I bend to my washbasin, an inch or two from the mirror... it's nice to have that slightly wrinkled codger back...)

The bath of my vineyard client is a tiny affair, with an old tub of cast iron, beneath a surround of thin plastic.  When I peel the plastic from the wall, an old window reveals itself and its frame, beneath.  The frame sticks out a few sixteenths beyond the wall, promising trouble for the concrete board that needs to, none-the-less,  tuck neatly behind the tubs coping, and accept the mastic, tile and grout, for water-tightness and appearance.  The window, which must have provided a yielding and mixing atmospherics, and more even than that... useful light, in a neighborhood that predates electricity, lost it's purpose beneath the expedience of a toggle switch and the moist, musty, confines, of this old bathroom, somewhere in the Eisenhower era, I'm guessing, wildly.  How many old bathrooms have a window frame rotting away in the near reach of a shower?  It seems crazy until you consider how thoughtless our energetic largess... our switch flipping entitlements have truly made us.  The dim, yellowed plastic and asthmatic intermittent hum, of an elderly, fake vent/ light, in many bathrooms, stand in for the sun.  And when, pray tell, was the audition for that?

Then again... perhaps I should not give much thought to auditions!  Who, after all, is the impostor, really, on this quiet, July evening.  A piece of trashy electric junk... or me?  As I try to imagine explaining my complex thoughts about the shooting claims of Honeysuckle, into the abiding arms of the sun gentled fluids of these Cicada buzzed hours... I realize what an odd choice of work I've made for myself.  Construction workers don't, as a rule, regard biophysics as deserving of their attention as Payton Manning.  Perhaps.  One of these things... is not like the other.  But is one of them me?

It actually makes me smile.  I'm just feeling defensive for the poor trashy bathroom fan.  Once upon a time it was a mat of lovely Pleisteine ground cover... which turned, by a number of miracles into petroleum (which should give pause to any interest in "organics" whatsoever) and somehow then, instead of being a sacrament to our ecstatic societies thermodynamic signature, it was polymerized and injected into the tomb like sarcaphagous of a Do It Best, injection molding Asian contract factory.  Was it molded into the happy utility of a Schedule 40 pipe, to carry, plumbed and pressured, the fabled needs of a City On The Hill?  Not exactly... the regular perforations of its unmolded rectangular form, were meant to brook no barrier to the unspeakable humours our children are taught that we stopped believing in, when Pastuer provided us with a different kind of religion.  But the perforations within this Chinese made, plastic cage, are a lie... not the fault of the ancient groundcover... or it's long arduous journey to China, through time outta mind... or the poor saps who flip a switch to listen to a bicycle wheel buzzing fan flap sound, that perfectly mimics all the symphonic potential of the concept of broken: no the fault is in our desire to not be human.  To not stink.  To need privation more than a window.  To build a wall that makes claims before the elements, and forgets that the rain will quench the thirst of the dying, just as surely as it will fall, like a tear, upon your broken pane.

What was it Fitzgerald said about "two opposing ideas in your head, at the same time, and still retain the ability to function?"  I just looked it up, and found a blog by a Gulf war veteran applying the maxim to his "fighting and flying" instincts.  His daughter is on the autism spectrum, and he fairly beautifully allowed his white hot feelings on that subject to elucidate how Fitzgerald's quote might limn something as staid within him, in our sad little world, as that old chestnut called a principle.  As talkative and self expressive as I usually am (my business partner, looking at my paperwork on my computer tonight, around midnight, said, "Jesus man, I guess you really like to type."  In a move that reminded me somewhat of Brian Dehenny pulling his orbitals skin to the side and bathing a voyeur in the movie Cocoon, I just tapped on my Blog Dashboard and admitted, that next to a spreadsheet, the canvass of digital parchment, lets my fingers do the walking.) the reserve that some people have, where their suffering is a given, can fill me with wonder.

Fitzgeralds's quote is often considered one of the ways in which intelligence should be viewed.  This cracks me up, since what most of us regard as community and loyalty, are therefore pools, relatively free of the pollutant of intelligence.  How many to stand at the dinner table and speak, with feeling, and enthusiasm, against the general drift of conversation?  How many in a court of law?  How many as the last words to their loved one?  How many before their congregation say, "this is my blood? Does anyone else think that is a little macabre?"  These acts are considered intelligent?  I suppose Fitzgerald could be counted on to reply, given that he was certainly a functioning alcoholic, "well, Andy, you wouldn't in those circumstances retain the ability to function.... and that wouldn't be intelligent, now would it.  One need never act upon the sea creatures of their uncharted mind.  It is enough to know they are there, yes?"

Frankly, I'd rather act astonished at a fake bathroom vent, or, to wit, an instance of possibly fraudulent transubstantiation.  Rebel, rebel.

(perhaps I should throw in the towel now, and not claim a continuation.....)


Harlequin said...

wonderful; i like how you riffed off the two ideas,perhaps paradoxical, occupying the same space and time in the mind.... man, i have those experiences all the time!
keep it up!

Andy Coffey said...

Why thanks Harlequin,

I guess we're both burning the midnight oil...

I can certainly tell, from the nuance of your celebrations; best of all, perhaps, your invitation for others to join you in the "pool," that you have a deep, abiding space within you for paradox.. among other things.
As always... nice boots.