Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Monday, June 18, 2007

    My Life in Fragments



    Maybe you can string it together and pretend it's a post. Or at least a really funky necklace.


    * * *

    A Kitchen Conversation


    “There are times when I've wished I was an orphan.”

    Laughter from O. I smile and nod at my dad, who has just made this pronouncement.

    “No, really, I mean it,” he continues. “My life would have been so much happier if I'd been left on a doorstep and never adopted. I could have grown up without parents.”

    “I loved my Papa very much, but...her.” I say.

    “She's a millstone around my neck. I'll be relieved when she's dead.” My dad says, then looks at me. “You need to be polite to her. I've talked to her...”

    “I will be polite. But we will not go to her house. That house is a place of horror for me. I need to protect my boys from it. And I think I will have a nervous breakdown if I ever set foot in there again.”

    “Well...”

    “No.”

    “What are you guys talking about in there...?”



    * * *


    I watch through the car window, unable to read, unable to write. I've never seen so many wildflowers in the Waste of Eastern Colorado. Nebraska is an ugly girl in a beautiful green velvet dress. Every creek is full, every field thriving.


    People in truck stops in Nebraska look at you funny when you have a nose ring, even if Andy is goofing on Elvis in the bathroom.


    “You can't run across the floor, Jack. This is a hotel. People are sleeping below us...Not so loud. Do you hear the people above us? That's how you sound to the people on the first floor.”

    “Mommy? Are we stacked up?”



    * * *


    Des Moines Girl looks beautiful. She's due in a month and she's absolutely gorgeous. She doesn't believe me. Her daughter is her five-year-old image and spills every secret imaginable with a smile and an innocent-wise laugh. The menu boasts, “The best shakes since 1988.” We had our first ones here in '89. I look around for a pair of familiar girls coming in for a quick meal between classes, even though they'd never believe it was us, and I wouldn't know what to tell them. Except maybe, 'Don't worry about where you're going; you're still holding each other up as you cross the ice.'


    * * *


    “Stop fighting or grandpa is going to get into an accident and it will be your fault!”

    Please, please don't tell them that.



    * * *


    The Amana Amish colony in Iowa now sports a water park. I'm not kidding. The Wasserbahn. I hope you find this as funny as I do.


    * * *


    Five minutes after walking through the door:


    SNAP Fingers.


    “Listen to me, Jack and Declan! You listen to me. Let's get one thing clear. You leave my cats alone, do you understand me? You leave my cats ALONE!”


    Who knew my dad was such a cat lover? Not me.


    Five minutes after that:


    I'm in the basement looking for toys to bring up to distract the boyos from the cats that have been hiding since we arrived. They're looking for toys too, completely unfazed.

    I see an old manikin; a naked boy. Buster Brown. A long-ago gift from the grandmonster.

    Here you go, R. He can be your new brother. He's just like the one you have now. Now say, 'thank you grandma'.”

    I realize I'm not looking for toys anymore, but scurrying like a rat in a cellar. Still, I mange not to cry in front of my sons.



    * * *


    “I told you father to call his mother. She'll be upset that she's not coming over tomorrow.”

    “We are not going to her house.”

    “Ah, well, whatever. That's up to you two. I'm out of the discussion.”


    She goes into the house. No, she flounces into the house with a little fluttery laugh.


    The boyos are running back and forth in the back yard laughing and looking for more lightning bugs like the one that flickered in my cupped hand, the first one they've ever seen. If I've done one thing right by them, one single thing in their lives that I've gotten right, it's that I've introduced them to lightning

    bugs.





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    Sunday, June 17, 2007

    Mercy

    I've been in Illinois for about 12 hours and already things are not going well.

    More later.

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    Monday, June 11, 2007

    Rehumanize Yourself*


    .


    My dad and I took the light rail to The Pepsi Center for The Police concert. It's the first time I've ridden it, and it wasn't until I saw the reflection of the train in a row of factory windows that it reminded me – just a little – of the El, and something inside uncurled and relaxed and felt a little more at home.


    Which was a good thing, since my dad and I weren't really talking.


    No, nothing's wrong. It's just how it is these days. I come from odd sort of people. Our knees don't seem to bend when in close proximity to other family members, so we end up standing around a lot, usually right next to chairs, and not saying much. Also, we develop this thing in our necks where our heads stay permanently turned to one side, or cocked downwards, depending on the location of others in the room. Think of plants growing away, rather than towards, the sunlight. I think my parents still have eyes; I just haven't seen them in a while.


    So keep this in mind as I tell you about the day, and you'll have an incongruent sort of picture in your head. I think.


    We took the light rail and got to our destination three hours early. The plan had been to eat at a restaurant before the show. A good plan, except that we ended up having a large, late lunch and neither of us felt at all hungry. This fact did not change the initial early-arrival plan because, well, when my parents are around plans don't change. So. We went to a bar and had a couple of beers.


    And it was nice, having a beer in a bar with my dad, because it's something that I've never done before. And it was also strained, having a beer in a bar with my dad, because it's something I've never done before.


    So we sat on bar stools next to each other and confused the bartenders for an hour.


    Then for the next hour we sat on a bench outside, waiting for the doors to open. The beer helped and we talked. About The Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica, Nip and Tuck, Grey's Anatomy. All of which he has seen and I have not. We made fun of Paris Hilton. And we watched the people pass.


    My dad asked if I remembered the World's Fair in Knoxville. I did. He told me how he saw a couple of Japanese guys walk by wearing Ghost in the Machine concert t-shirts and he how he envied the hell out of them. He was thirty-five. And I thought, “Jesus. I remember when my dad was younger than I am now.”


    Our seats were good; only seven rows up from the floor. Being short as well as odd sort of people, there is a distinct advantage to not actually having floor seats unless they are the first row. The only drawback is that you do not share that rarefied floor space in which you can walk and move closer to the stage at will. There is security that prevents you from leaving the bleachers. As I told my dad, “I wish I were a big fat guy so that I could be a security guard.”


    Anyway, the opening band, Fictionplane or somesuch absolutely sucked. They sucked out loud. They sucked too loud. The singer at one point climbed onto a speaker and my dad leaned over and said, “Fall! Fall! Put us out of this misery!”


    And then there was The Police. There was that moment when they came on and I thought, this is either going to be wonderful or terrible and there will be no in-between.


    And my god they rocked. Meno,you'll be glad to know that Sting wore a sleeveless shirt. I myself was very glad to see it. Or rather, glad to see his shoulders. There are no finer-looking shoulders in this world.


    They sounded great, and did a lot of new versions of old songs. And finally, finally, I had my wish to sing Syncronicity and Voices in My Head with Sting. I could have E-Oh'ed and Cha'ed and E yo yo yo'ed with him all night. The best two songs though had to be Walking on the Moon (No surprise; that's Sting's favorite song so it was well-polished) and Wrapped Around You Finger, which they stretched into a slinky, spooky song. Yum.


    E. Oh.


    And then during one of the encore songs, Every Breath You Take, my dad tapped me on the arm, leaned over and said, “I think we can get onto the floor now if we're quick.”


    So we did. We Zenyatta'ed, security Mondatta'ed, and before you could say canary in a coal mine there we were on the floor up closer and more personal with Mr. Sting. Not close enough to catch sweat, but hey.


    Our little maneuver of course meant we had to keep moving, so we left before the final song. But it was worth it. We ran for the train, hopped onto the last car and sped back out to the burbs.


    Quietly. But smiling.




    *You're gonna see a lot of Police references for a while, so get used to it.





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    Friday, June 08, 2007

    And the Winner Is...

    Me!

    But not first row. Oh well. I'm more thankful that O didn't slice through a tendon yesterday when he cut his finger open.

    Roller. Coaster.

    Anyway. My folks are on the road heading West. They'll be here tomorrow. If I get a chance I'll do a quick post with a List of Characters so that you can follow along at home when the boyos and I are whisked back to Rockvalefordton a week from now. Should be interesting.

    Oh yeah. And I forgot to tell them I got my nose pierced.

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    Thursday, June 07, 2007

    Walking on the Moon




    Wherein I totally lose my Blog cred.


    It's been a roller coaster, Dear Readers. I've missed you. I need to catch up on everybody's lives. And I actually have two partly-constructed posts that I haven't had time to complete. So things are going to get out of order here.


    Anyway.


    Clowncar and family were in town last weekend and that was Big Fun.


    Then I had a big fight with O (don't ask).


    Into every life a little rain must fall. Hard. With hail. And destroy the garden. That happened on Tuesday.


    But it was followed by a fancyschmancy dinner with /Jo which involved much red wine and pita bread and fifteen different sauces.


    Anyway, I've missed you guys. And I'm not even on vacation yet. That starts this weekend, when my parents get into town.


    And speaking of, my dad emailed me last week; a quick note saying, 'Are you going to see The Police?' I responded with 'No, the show's sold out, and tickets were way to expensive anyway.'


    Now, this is a tragedy. It's a tragedy because back in '84 my dad and I spent hours on the phone trying to score tickets for the Synchronicity Tour and never succeeded, and then they had the audacity to go and break up.


    And it's weird because, you see, Sting is Someone I'm Supposed to Meet. It's just one of those things.

    Trust me.


    So tonight when I was making dinner, O wondered why I suddenly stopped, said, 'Where's the phone?' found it, picked it up, dialed a number that had popped into my head for no apparent reason this morning, hung up, mumbled, “I hate this damn phone! You have to hit redial twice to get it to work,” then calmly said to the person on the other end, “I am? That's...that's wonderful.” and conducted the rest of the conversation from the kitchen floor.


    Because, well, ten minutes before that somewhere in the back of my brain I thought, “The Police are coming, and I bet that when a Police song comes on the radio you're supposed to call, and I have this random phone number in my head, and I've been thinking all day about what a funny post it would make if...”


    So I did.


    Yup. Going to see The Police. Friday morning I find out if it's from the first row. Either way it's ok, because my dad's going to be in town. After I called and told him the good news, he told me he had emailed me because he thought that if I wasn't going already, he'd try to score some tickets for the newly-added second show and talk my mom into driving out early.


    I've said it before and I'll say it again – my superpower is synchronicity.

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