Sunday, August 29, 2004

Pay the Rent

Written on a napkin during the drive back from Yosemite on the afternoon of August the twenty-third.
Somewhere in the joyless expanse of land called Merced, I began tracing some of the dead-end passages in my brain: things I’ve nearly forgotten, things that never quite entered my brain squarely, things strange and forget-me-not bits and pulp I’d like to retain but also refuse to let anybody else examine. A plane of Middle America agriculture, transplanted into the California landscape. It would stretch horizontally, infinitely if it didn’t end in the smog.

But what about those perfectly parallel row crops makes me wonder why my first masturbatory experience involved Lisa — why? — Kudrow? And why would I challenge my brain to remember my three earliest memories of something bad happening?

(they are, by the way (1) first grade: my mother getting a call from my grandma before just as we were getting ready to leave for school telling her that my great-grandmother had died, a week and a day after her one-hundreth birthday; (2) kindergarten: Sister Lois scolding me for incorrectly drawing a windmill; and (3) preschool: being too scared to walk down the hallway because I was terrified of a Halloween decoration of a witch — you know the kind, the ones with the paper fastener joints that let you pose them in the fashion that would best terrify a four-year-old.)

Why did I dream last night about giant sunflowers that turned out to be even-more-giant deandelions? Why were there men in blue hospital smocks and white Shyguy masks? Was I subconsciously perturbed by the historic Ahwannee Hotel’s resemblance to the Great Northern? And will nobody help Josie Packard?

Is the XM radio eighties station pumping into my eardrums as I write this coloring my recollections in neon green, electric blue and hot pink? Do I believe in heaven above? Do I believe in love? Do I?

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