Jeremiah's School of Levitation
Friday, March 30, 2007
Friday Woid: Melt
How to Melt
- Hug everyone in your house and don't let them go.
- Tell a friend how f**king cool you think they are.
- Sit on a beach and just when you think you're hot enough, open another beer, and close your eyes, and take a deep, deep sip.
- Listen to John Lennon singing "Woman" or Bob Marley singing "Redemption Song" or, for a particularly poignant melting, listen to Billy Holiday singing "Strange Fruit".
- Pause Starship Troopers at the point where Denise Richards flies the big starship for the first time (OK, that may be only how I melt).
- Read about what Rosa Parks did on that bus.
- Count your blessings.
- Pay for the drive-thru order of the car behind you at some fast food joint.
- Eat some cheesecake.
- Watch the stars for five minutes straight. Notice how the longer you look, the more stars appear.
- Subject yourself to shape-altering heat, as can be found in Hawaiian lava pits, or within five feet of Denise Richards (!).
- Don't freaking forget that you are alive and, at every moment, can suck up all this life stuff, this air, this weather, this bunch of other breathing people, and, of course, A Unique Perspective. Enjoy YOURself. We're all roughly 98.6 degrees, so, in effect, each one of us has the potential to be a sunny summer day.
- Make grand, nearly embarrassing proclaimations (see above).
Thursday, March 29, 2007
But, Over Time, I've gotten used to it and, actually, have come to enjoy my time alone on the tar plains. I listen to SubGenius radio shows (Praise "Bob") and reggae and 80's music and my Spanish language lessons on my iPod and I sip coffee and, generally, have become like the masses that teem about me--I'm a commuter, and I'm resolved to it.
So, I thought, I'd bring my camera on the next sunny day, and, as best as I could from my car, try to capture my commute, or at least the slow part of it. I realized, as the traffic began to flow again, that driving and taking photos is kind of deadly. Not to mention some of the stares you get when a fellow commute-icator realizes you're snapping photos. I get the frowning of a lifetime. Boy, if looks could shoot the bird...
Any way, hop in. Check out my commute (by the way, I'm NOT a photographer):
This is how things look when I first get on the freeway and cross the bridge. That lump back there is mighty Mount Ranier. Second largest mount in the contiguous US. Because of our clouds, we only see her a few dozen times a year. So, when you can see her, well, it's going to be a double-martini day (cloudy days are triple-martini days--you drink less on sunny days so you can see them clearly).
Then, a few feet later, through my front windshield, we have Downtown Great Northwest.
Then, just a little further back north, oh!, what's THAT landmark?! And, look at that glimps of just ONE of our beautiful lakes. Ahhhh. Sip, sip. Sing along with the Thompson Twins...
Here's another shot of the lake and Needle that I had to lean back for. I almost killed myself to get this one, so look at it longer!
Now we approach another bridge I HAVE to cross. This is yet another of our lakes. And, that bright light in the sky. What is it? Why has it come? What does it WANT from us?
And, finally, when I crest that bridge, here's what I see outta my passenger window. Yeah, dawg. The speed picks up from there and though there's still more view to see, I can't stop to see it, and if I did, then the photo would be of Jeremiah's vantange point from a ditch.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
It's A Frightening Day in the Neighborhood
I nearly believed it. I mean, first of all, the dark comic possibilities there are rich. Imagine Mr. Rogers, at his post, looking down the barrel, and seeing an enemy soldier drifting into his range. Mr. Rogers sprouts a grin, and settles his cheek upon the cool metal of his rifle. He winks one eye as he takes aim. "Hello, neighbor," he says, as he squeezes the trigger. "Welcome to my neighborhood."
But, alas, it is not to be, for I proclaimed, as soon as I could close my mouth again, some twenty minutes later, that I have moved that little factoid to number one on My List of Things To Google (replacing "Mary Ann" "Gilligan's Island" "whatever happened"). And, I found out that this was just yet another urban myth. In fact, Fred Rogers entered broadcasting as soon as he graduated college in 1951, at the age of 23, and practically never left the business for 50 years. The only time he wasn't broadcasting, he was learning to become an ordained minister.
So, though it would have been a spicy novelty to know that Mr. Rogers used to kill, it is quite untrue. In fact, he would have been too old to fight in Vietnam anyway, seeing that he was born in 1928.
Still, I welcome any such rumor that will place my heroes on a different plane, especially one that completely belies their persona. I think, by the way, that's why the Mr. Rogers as sniper legend was so tasty--it ran so incredibly contrary to the qualuudically-calm man a lot of us spent quite a few hours with, that it almost seemed believable that he harbored a dark side because, in the end, who the hell could really be so nice? On only a slightly less jagged portrayal, I remember Eddie Murphy parodying Mr. Rogers in his character Mr. Robinson, who was always dodging the landlord via the fire escape. Same principle. Mr. Rogers running from debt collectors was so outrageously against his proclivities that it was funny.
Looks like Mr. Rogers was the real thing, though. No kills. And, cardigans just for comfort.
Though, from my research, I seem to have uncovered that a distant relative of Mr. Rogers used to live in London, around the time of the Jack the Ripper killings, and that if you study the shots of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood at the beginning of the program, you'll see that it was modelled after the area that the young ladies were found, and if you look even closer, there is a red car parked at the spots where a body...
Monday, March 26, 2007
Wherein Jeremiah Thinks Too Much
No, the fact that I'm as hip as the next teenage My Space-r didn't make me goofily happy on that day. I, instead, even as I clutched my Shuffle, went into a Spiral of Contemplation that left me feeling existentially drunk and nearly as ridiculous as I would have felt had I danced naked at church. I mean, at this point, I should have figured it all out. I should be discussing stocks with the guys, building shelves and kitchens in my spare time, achieved a career that includes cell phone calls at home to solve emergency occurances and travel to Boston to "seal the deal." I should be able to choose between a variety of suits, wear some cologne, and know more about investing than I do about the contestants on The Apprentice. Yep. Seems I never grew up, and, as charming as that may seem on the surface, it kind of bothers me when the house gets quiet and the walls get really close.
It's the classic "what have I done?" thing, I know. It gets bigger, though, when you start rifling through your writing, which was supposed to be your ticket to the moon, and you see unfinished everythings everywhere. Scraps of thoughts, wisps of wanderings, and tatters of tales that gather and now look like a sewing room floor--multicolored strips of tangled ideas just as paisley as they are mottled, as they are ragged and frizzled. Pick up one, turn it in your hands, smell it, and throw it back down to get lost again in the Shuffle of color.
And, of course, none of it has gotten me to the moon. It has, ironically, only gotten me to a place where I can't breathe and I don't weigh much.
My kids are quite the legacy. My youngest son is a natural athlete, able to pick up a ball of any shape or size and get it into the hole, over the net or the fence, or right into the hands of another kid with a deftness that defies effort. My oldest can dip and swerve around words and concepts like he had two pair of wings. I'm proud that some vestige of my abilities survives fully in them. I want them, though, someday to think "But, yeah, my dad, now HE really knew how to [fill in the blank]!"
No point here. It's just that after 42 years of service to mankind, I'm disappointed that mankind may possibly have no knowledge of me.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Dawg, look, check it out. You are having a hard time. I can dig it, but, dawg, I mean. Look, dawg, you at the beginning of your blogging, I was, I mean, you were a little pitchy, but you got the groove dawg. Check it. You got this, I don't know, this thing dawg and you need to just let it go, see what I'm saying. Let. It. Go. Dawg. You alright. But, you know, you gotta be what you gotta be and, dawg, I mean, you ARE all that! That's right, dawg. So, yeah. Peace. Keep it up.
Jeremiah, you are the most, I mean, look at you. You know yourself, you get up there, you shine, you, you, you, shine, and that's you, Jeremiah. You are you. There is no you like you, and if there was, that would mean that there was more you. You do your thing, and it's yours, and I love you. I love you. You stand up there making me love you, and you know what, you? It works. I am, I am, you are, this, I mean, everything. It's everything. It's all everything. It's all you, Jeremiah. You are YOU! And, that sweater. LOVE IT!
Dreadful. You post with the frequency that a rat takes a bath. Your posts are some sort of sporatic cast outs that could more likely be called farts than posts. Sorry for having an opinion! But, really, you just need to practice. Write the check, or get out of the line. This is a blog. So, don't "be a log". "Blog!" Frankly, I think you're in the wrong business. You ever tried garbage collecting?
Wooh, Simon. Now that's some constructive criticism. Jeremiah, you get free advice from a master. I wish I could get Simon to give me such wonderful advice on my career.
Oh yeah. Well, here you go. Put on a dress and hit the diva circuit. Be who you are.
Woo! You'd like that wouldn't you? Okay, Jeremiah, how do you feel right now?
(Whoops, Jeremiah is gone. He's on the freeway now, headed for his job, stuck in traffic, chewing on his dashboard, leaving handprints in his steering wheel, and wondering if maybe he should wait until lunch for his martini, or just go ahead and have one with his breakfast.)
Monday, March 05, 2007
From the Archives
MY MOTHER, THE LAKE
Lakes scare me. I don't know why. The bodies of water, sitting still, amidst the woods, nestled in the mountains, or spread across a prairie or stretched across tundra or snow-skinned fields, they all scare me, lonely sentries of the ocean, sitting and watching, reporting, waiting to once again be part of the mother, the ocean, and drown us all.
I relayed this fear to my aging mother, who I visit twice each week at the Grand Hills Assisted Living Facility, just past the hospital, on the edge of the woods and, ironically, only steps from the man-made Hopkins Lake, where water sat still and glassy, some of the perimeter staked with concrete viewing areas and railings. They took the seniors down there once a week. None were allowed to go on their own, but, according to my mother, the rowdier, more careless seniors did it all the time.
"That's scary," I said to her on one of my visits. We were in the commons area, a big room, full of deep redwood tables and light, padded cedar chairs. Windows surrounded us and the sun came in nearly unabated.
"That's a pretty lake," my mother said, "Prettier than this damn room that smells like Pine Sol all the damn time. Better to go out there and smell real pine, not some damn laboratory pine stink."
My mother sat straight up in her chair. A copy of Redbook lay upside down in front of her. I turned it rightside up and, in another moment, she turned it back upside down again.
"Somebody should be watching them, though," I said. "Wandering off to the lake. That's not good."
My mother bristled, her brow changing shape. "Nobody can tell me where I can go or not. I didn't make it to 109 years old just to be told what to do. I've forgotten more than some of these folks working here will ever learn. They ought to be asking me what, what all they need to do to run things." She pointed her finger, a stubby staff ruined and twisted by arthritis. "After 109 years of living, you got license to run things."
"You're not 109 years old," I said.
"Give or take a few dozen years. I feel 109 years old."
"You're 90," I said.
"By your figuring," she said.
I reached out to her. She just sat there, glassy-eyed, large upon the landscape, a child of the ocean of heaven herself. I realized then that she was just like a lake, a giant piece of an even bigger monolith. A representative of something huge. I stood at her shore and marvelled at her stillness, her expanse.
For a second, mom had allayed my fears, like she's done for 109 years, and she looked cooling and tranquil and, so, I dove into her, and gave her a kiss.
Friday, March 02, 2007
But, yeah, I'm hiding. I've got so much work to do and be responsible for and I'm trying to hide in my own hide, slipping around like a cat, visions of other people actually just a jungle overhead, in whose shadows I can creep. Someone says hello and I hide behind the air molecules, hoping they won't see me. Of course, they do, so I say words that relate to something about what I'm working on and I hide behind the sentences. They all seem to make sense, but I'll forget them as soon as the intruder leaves. What did I just say? Did it make sense? When they turned the corner, did they roll their eyes?
So, I go to my desk, look out of the window at the glass in the window facing me from across the atrium, and I see the outlines of people hunched and leaning at a meeting and I feel sorry for them because they can't hide in a meeting. I know. I've tried. But someone says, "we need an update" and I'm discovered, and I have to hide my shyness and speak something, without a waver in my voice, which itself had to come out of hiding, where it was trying to sleep amongst my daydreams.
And, of course, I hide right here. Right behind Jeremiah. He's a gracious lad, allowing me to occupy his space, use his face, move his fingers and reveal his thoughts. Our agreement is that if I promise to make him look interesting, fill him with breath and insight, then he'll continue to let me hide in him. If I should buck the contract, though, he'll step aside, and there I'll be.
"Pay no attention to the man behind the Jeremiah!" I'll scream. But, too late, there I'll be. In all my glory. Dr. Jeremiah, and Mr. Hide.