“In the midst of life we are in debt, et cetera”

Wednesday, that day time slows every week, with Lily on a late-start for school, the possibility we could all sleep in until 7:30 but never do, a day I work from home with Charlotte on early release, meaning she gets off the bus about 1:45 and Lily doesn’t leave until 9—so the work day gets compressed to about three hours, but I’ve learned to get a lot done in small slices, the same with my writing, I shoe-horn it in whenever I can. Charlotte at the bus stop picking at the holes in my shirt, “Modest Mouse,” and again her face goes by in the window pulling away, I turn and head back to my computer. And the dog follows, circles and collapses in her cushion bed, and I screw around with PowerPoint and can’t stop wondering how good things are now, which won’t last forever, and I tell myself not to get too attached.

Eight months of rain: the driest stretch expected starting tomorrow since last September. The bistro lights come on in the morning again, confused by the light, assuming it’s dusk, though just past 6 AM…and winding the road down to work with the windshield wipers on high setting, on the freeway at the highest…and surely by now, May 16, it shouldn’t look so much like winter still: with all the leaves and birds out it has the trappings of spring, though the sky can get such an unsettling dark, it hardly matters. Dawn quips “I think I’m depressed,” and I relate, driving in—an undercurrent of unease with the world, like everything is laced…”a low-flying panic attack.”

But then it opens up in the afternoon, a sun break they call it, and on our driveway it’s warm from the sun, a few degrees more, and dragging the lawn chair with a beer, settling in…perhaps this is middle-age: the dog and cat curling in by my side…everyone else on our street is off to work or retired, or stay-at-home, driving back and forth to the store…though it’s close enough you could walk.

When we left our first house I gave all my albums to our neighbor Curry, nicknamed after the MTV VJ Adam Curry because he looks like him, the one with the puffy hair who sat slouched on a stool talking about bands, about videos…Curry got my PIL and De La Soul LPs, all my Smiths records except one I set aside, the double LP “Louder Than Bombs,” a collection of singles I got around ’86 or ’87, the only way to hear it was to put it on the turntable…and the record never skips or gives me trouble because the vinyl’s worn down from so many plays…and could I have imagined myself 30+ years ago, that one day I’d be here in the den of some house in the suburbs of Sammamish with the same music playing…a beard and a dog, a cat, two girls, a wife…a gig with Microsoft, a company I didn’t even know…my friend from 5th grade Loren a few hours away, in Portland—and me with love handles from Northwest IPA’s, a sweater I bought in Germany, graying…and the bees outside on the spring blooms look like they’re testing for ripeness how they touch down and skitter across the surface, and then move on.

“The passing of time leads empty lives, waiting to be filled.”

And in the book I’m reading, the author (who’s in the Himalayas, high country) describes something called an “air burial” where they leave the corpse out on a rocky crag to be consumed by wild beasts. And when it’s just the bones, they grind it down to a powder and mix it in with the dough, and put it out for the birds so there are no remains, not a speck left.

And I think about the baby rabbit our cat killed I put in the trash but took out so the crows could get it, and was glad when I returned I only saw a few flecks.

What of these things we’ll leave behind? For whom, and why?
For pretend?

Better to be consumed wholly, for me.

Categories: death, Memoir, musings, prose

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

15 replies

  1. There is a rightness about being returned to the world, completely, the same molecules that have existed since prehistory, leaving our present shapes and spreading out, being remade in unimaginable forms. It’s a sort of continuation, a reincarnation I guess.
    Love your summary of your current life – family, job, home, German jumper! – and I wonder what your previous self would make of it all.
    And why did you give Curry your PIL and Smiths records? Madness! 🙂


    • That’s right Lynn, about the rightness. That’s right. And the madness of which you speak, you’re right about that too. I just kept a Joy Division album and that Smiths one. But glad for both. Today was the anniversary of Ian Curtis’s death and they were going to do a day-long tribute to him but then Chris Cornell, from the band Soundgarden died, and later confirmed as suicide…so, there you go. Strange days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I saw that, that Chris Cornell committed suicide. So very, very sad. You just wish people would reach out sometimes before doing something so desperate. Strange days indeed


      • On the anniversary of Ian Curtis’s suicide! And the local radio station was planning to devote the day to Ian music, but got distracted by this obviously. I might have mentioned that already, apologies if I did. Thanks Lynn, Bill

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I hadn’t realised it was the anniversary of Ian Curtis’s death till you mentioned it. Another sadly short life. Some poor souls aren’t destined to make old bones, it seems. very sad, Bill


  2. Upsetting darkness and low flying panic attack (instantly related to that line/song) pulled me in. Liked how it turned around around to let in some light. I’m sorry your spring has been so dark and wet. Still sounds like a slice of heaven.


    • Thank you for that Kristen, thank you. Side-swiped by this news of Chris Cornell today, really. Were you a fan? If you have a chance, check out the video I linked to in a post I just published. Good stuff. Sad day. Bill


  3. I sometimes think about what will happen to my worn old LPs. They’re in such bad shape, they’re not collectors’ items. I don’t even play them anymore, but I hang onto them like they mean something. Funny how that works, eh?


  4. That is a fantastic montage, perfectly arranged; composed. Heh, that’s a fine record, too.


    • It is a super fine record. I’m glad to have kin in your musical tastes. Let’s banter that any damn well time you please. Thanks for being such a great new reader Robert! I poked around your photos on your site. Keep at it, it’s fun. I’m blue here in Seattle today for the loss of Chris Cornell, from Soundgarden. Think I’ll go mope some more on that for now.


      • Cornell was the reason I’m gay. Actually, it’s the way the bassist for the Missing Persons was handsome whereabouts 1983. Now I’m gay because of Michael Fassbender.


      • That’s totally awesome. Thanks for sharing Robert. I might say the same about Madonna, making me the Hetero I am today.


      • And love that thing Missing Persons had. That was unique. That’s not easy either.


  5. Sabre Pink: he f__king dead, my lusty thoughts killed him. Suicide. About Madonna, I’m glad she’s not buffed out like a man anymore.


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