Humor identity Memoir prose writing

The long descent through the quarry

I got down on my hands and knees in the shower with a toothbrush and some baking soda paste. The web site said if the drain had a musty smell that was mold, but if it was more like a rotten egg smell, that was biofilm. After brushing for a while it went from mold to eggs and back again, so I dumped more baking soda in, a whole box full, then vinegar, glug by glug, until it formed a series of thick, gray-black bubbles that hung for a while before they popped.

Charlotte only talks about getting a new phone, what happened when she was on the phone, or other topics all relating back to phones.

Lily was having a down day so Dawn took her for a drive. There was the sound of crying or laughter in the house somewhere, someone talking to someone on the phone, or a recording of someone talking that might have been live or replay.

The dog had a cone on her head from the surgery and leaned against my ankle so the plastic on the cone bent and her chest rose as she dreamt. And as she did, I thought back to a dream where I imagined myself flying and how it felt on the edge as I dropped down and lifted up, then sailed over a wide body of water.

Outside the fox glove blooms were all bent over sad, like they knew it was time to go: some yellowing with blooms on the ground like deflated balloons. The party was over for spring, and with summer here now, each day we’d lose a little more light.

I played my music on my laptop, but this time it was all native, local files: no cloud-based stuff. And how intimate it felt, the knowledge that these were all local files. How we’d been reduced to that, the new warmth in digital media, “local.” Like I had more control over what I played.

I thought back to a time I could remember feeling more, being actually thrilled, even animated, by the sound of music, and how sweet it felt. And the newfound distance from that, that filled other parts of me with a space that was more empty than it was open, or something you would call deep. A descent down the quarry with the hopes of something more meaningful at the bottom.

At the airport bar I watched two fighters on the screen, one 25, the other 39, wanting badly for the older guy to win but knowing he didn’t stand a chance.

By pinklightsabre

Bill Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.

15 replies on “The long descent through the quarry”

Listening to music as an activity was ruined by the digital age. When you put on an album and only had 20 minutes until you needed to interact with the stereo again, there was really nothing to do except read the liner notes and the lyrics. I loved music, but that’s gone now.

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I think I agree with that but don’t want to, so I deliberately only listen to CDs or radio in my car, and have held off concerting my main stereo/listening area to digital. In fact, I have a turntable in there and it’s intended as the deliberate, sit and listen area. But odd, to think the iTunes shuffle that pulls from my local files is somehow more personal than the cloud-based algorithmic playlist.

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I was a spin instructor for years and have thousands of songs on my laptop. I don’t think a shuffle would seem very personal to me. Plus, most of the songs now represent working out rather than moments in my life. I find that most of my listening happens now when (during the school year) I’m making lunches for my family and I ask Alexa to play something for me. It’s interesting that Kim McCrea sent you Ripple as that’s one of my morning standards.

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Cool…somewhat related, was reminiscing with my wife last week about the first word processors, and recalled a brief period of time with electric typewriters. Funny to sit generationally among so many formats and modalities. Even remember growing up with the walk man, and first hearing the Police synchronicity while walking to it. Magic! Mobile music!

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Ha! Nice finish. I hate to say it but feeling less is a symptom of age, and I get what you mean. Music is so visceral when you’re younger, so full of import. I catch snippets of it from time to time, a song that lifts my head, but it’s a rare moment. The senses dull. I think that’s one of the reasons we get sucked into playing the old music, the familiar, to recall those sharp feelings in the hope of reliving them.

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You give good comment man, thanks. Gosh I don’t like that feeling of less feeling. No analogies to vegetables…was it vegetables, that post of yours? You know the one. My memory too, there’s that. Hi Ross! How’s the weather?

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Re feelings: Despite what I wrote, I get literal goosebumps every time I listen to The National’s “I’ll Still Destroy You” at the drum/climax/outro. I think that’s magic. (Saw them perform in Montreal last week.)

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