Open your heart to the trees

The doormat can’t go askew but it does, and I have to straighten it each time I go by.

Cats act no different than people when they’re high on cat nip, on drugs: self-centered, prone to violent acts. Still I can’t get them to clean.

The dog has now developed an eyebrow thing with me, where she lets one eye hang down slack like it’s not looking (but of course it is), then raises the brow above the other and just holds it there locked, formulating commands, smiling as she does. I’m now convinced this means Touch Me which I do naturally, to break the lock.

Unfortunately the cats when high aren’t prone to compulsive sweeping or rearranging the art on the walls, as needs done.

There’s a painting in the foyer that no one likes but me, and I keep it there as a sign of dominance over the others.

The painting was done by Barry Blend, an English painter we met in France. It’s an abstract profile of a woman with a forlorn look, pale yellow discs for eyes and no iris imparting a possessed look, too many painkillers or not enough, it’s unclear. My mom had it in their house and was convinced it was an homage to John’s ex-wife Mary.

For me, I like it because it’s gloomy and reminds me there’s always someone feeling worse than you somewhere in the world, so get over it. A kind of morale-booster, that way.

But the painting is prone to hanging slack on one side because I never hung it right the first time and it requires extending the ladder out with everyone watching, saying be careful, don’t fall! So the painting needs straightened with the end of a broom from below, and then starts tilting again, Touch Me.

Now unemployed, it’s getting harder to do anything and I’ve realized that time is an abstract, hypothetical — but money is not.

Yet I can still find ways to put off taking down the exterior Christmas lights because, a.) Charlotte is sick again, up in bed, and could gag on her puke or something without me hearing, b.) I don’t feel like it, c.) no one else notices the lights but me anyway, d.) the weather is too good for taking down lights, or, e.) there are more important things I should be doing right now, but I don’t feel like doing those either.

I’m probably depressed because, a.) I’m out of a job, b.) the weather keeps changing, c.) I’m overdoing it with David Foster Wallace essays about depression that read like a kind of fortune cookie prophesy for his own life that he couldn’t crack open and interpret until he had to do himself in at last, and even though I’ve only read one, that’s overdoing it, or, d.) I have Geographic Tongue.

The doormat curls up on itself in the corner, and it’s unlikely anyone notices that or if they do, they feel compelled to address it. I can’t tell if it’s the unease or the satisfaction of fixing it I need to resolve.

We are learning German though, and Deutsch Ist Einfach (trust me). And just like childhood learners, adult learners put things off to the last moment, when it comes to homework or software updates.

The class is at a local community college in Building C, one of many small meeting rooms with placards outside telling you what’s going on inside.

On my way to German 1, I passed a class of people undergoing Project Management Practicum, and with a snapshot of their faces and guises, imagined who they were, what kind of project managers they were pretending to be, how it felt like pricking an exposed nerve sac in my tooth and made me shake at the thought of it, Project Management.

Sometimes the dog half-barks in her sleep, jerking and twitching, chasing something or being chased in some primordial dog dream, Squirrel-Chasing Up Forest Tree Dream Sequence #5.

And as we settle into the sounds of the house and the dream trees, the small tics and shifts and hums from the appliances run their timed loops and cycles, and day turns to night.

Familiarizing myself with the angle of the sun and which trees get touched in what sequence, trying to ascribe some unique quality to each tree I can use to differentiate them, to really appreciate them for the trees they are, that I never have time for and likely won’t again when I’m working. That perhaps there is some truth to the thought you can feel a tree if you open your heart and your palm and place it on its side, then sit there waiting to feel it. It will come, it always does.

Written as an homage to David Foster Wallace, trying to get some of his style out of my psyche like using a Neti bottle on the Internet, a good flush.

Categories: humor

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

21 replies

  1. Squirrel-Chasing Up Forest Tree Dream Sequence #5. Dir. James O. Incandenza. UNRELEASED.
    (I just learned that if you Googled his name, you get images of all his movie posters… Meta madness.)
    Did I mention my middle daughter is heading to Europe for three months. She’ll end up in Berlin. She was there with her high school class, loved it, took a year of German, and will be majoring in languages in the fall. Not sure if she finds it einfach but she digs it.


  2. Best way to accomplish absolutely nothing – have lots of free time.

    Best way to get depressed – accomplish absolutely nothing when you have lots of free time.

    I can start getting things done after a few days after I accept that free time does not equal lots accomplished.

    I’ve also done well when visiting in-laws (lesser-of-two-evils approach) – I redid a complete web site during one Christmas vacation.


    • Good gravy! The in-laws/lesser-of-two evils approach…I like that. I’m going to be on a flight next week for about five hours and thought, then I will work out our budget. Thank you sir! You inspired me to get my Christmas lights down as an antidote for depression and I think it worked. I got something done. Mostly. Putting them away is another matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think I have ever heard a man use the expression, “Good gravy.” Nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. yes, a good flush is always cleansing.


  5. Reblogged this on Gadsguru and commented:
    Very nice


  6. Today I learned about Georgraphic Tongue. I always wondered about Project Management, but suspect it makes a better mystery. Hope you’ll find some things that help the depression. If writing helps, all the better because I always love your posts. You’ve got the gift.


    • Yes, Geographic Tongue has such a good name, how could it be bad? Sounds fascinating. Usually, learning about new anomalies isn’t so benign. And I would urge you to keep Project Management a mystery…but I’m biased. Thank you for the kind words (and for the advice about that Low record, which I waited until December to listen to, and loved). And yours is a gift to share with me, with your words. Mind the half-eaten nuggets. – Bill


  7. Immerse yourself, after you get a job take a nice vacation to Germany. Maybe you already have. I am about to start to try and learn Dutch. THAT is a difficult language with parallels to German but dialect is WAY WACKY !



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