daily preciousness

Sunday, July 30, 2000

thoughts from a Chicago taxi

I took a trip not too long ago. I went to Chicago for a business conference. I enjoyed the city, but I was sad because my Chicago friend from there couldn't see me. He was out of town at the time. So here are a few brief thoughts that I jotted down while I was there.

The theme song for the trip was a Gershwin tune... "Looking everywhere, Haven’t found him yet. / He’s the big affair I cannot forget."(Someone to watch over me by George and Ira Gershwin.)

In this city

In this city

That is his own,

His distance is perceptible.

I feel his absence even over short distances.

From Wabash to State,

From Roosevelt to the fountain basin.

I miss him in newspaper stands, Russian tea rooms

And the clattering of trains above my head,

For these are the haunts, hoods and havens

of Gavin the Intense.

On taxis:

What is it

That coats

Taxi seats?

So vinylly smooth

And so amorphously soft?

Is it a teflon for trousers?

And why does it make me feel dirtier

Than the driver’s blackened fingernails?

On the O’Hare bathrooms:

I am the radar

In the airport bathroom lavatory faucet

That keeps Jeffrey

(Frenzied traveler)

from proper disinfection.

What germs inhabit

His fingertips? His lips?

His eyes? And will they hitchhike

A thousand miles to find a new home?

On air rings:

This is a great possibility.

This is not a guarantee.

This is intensity on a grand and personal scale.

This is what I saw at the aquarium. There was a pregnant beluga whale coasting around, quietly soaking up most of the attention. But…

This is me, witnessing curiously the male of the species. He blew air rings – like smoke rings, only underwater – and swam through them as they slowly expanded in front of him. It was a simple playful gesture that made him the most beautiful creature of my trip.

This is the feeling of ever expanding rings traveling through the water, through the glass, into my life.

This is me, swimming through them.

This is just being amazed at someone sometimes.

This is your brain.

This is your brain on potpies.

This is getting used to someone sweetly. Someone gently. Someone tenderly.

This is my version of air rings, ever expanding.

Saturday, July 29, 2000

Jesus and the albino squirrel

"JESUS" someone had written in large letters. It was on the Louisiana State University School of Music piano practice room door. Below the messianic headline, somebody had added, "…is not an ad campaign. …is not a status symbol. …is the way to everlasting life but not an appropriate subject for graffiti." I smiled when I read those clever comeback lines. Apparently there were musical Christians out there with a sense of decorum. Good for them.

I sat there, in a partially sound-proofed room -- that meat locker of a room -- just playing my scales. It was so frigid that I had to sit on my hands to warm them up. One scale, A#, was giving me a particularly difficult time yesterday. I'm not sure why.

I was the only person in the practice room. Quite possibly, I was the only person in the entire building. It was very lonely. But I logged a good hour of practice out of it. And I played my composition. Honestly, it wasn’t coming together yesterday. Maybe I was simply uninspired. Perhaps I was still running on auto-pilot after a long day at work. At work I tend to operate without really having to use my brain. I hate that. I wish it was a more intellectually challenging, so that I would be forced to wake up when I arrive at work in the morning.

The little finger on my left hand is still sore. It's been sore for days. I wonder if I broke it somehow. Is it possible to break a bone and not realize it? Probably. I suppose that could happen a number of ways.

I suspect it has something to do with the visitation I had yesterday by the albino squirrel. After work yesterday, I went to the university quadrangle to sit and read a book in the late afternoon sun. The library had just closed. It was 5:30 and the cute guy with nice calves was locking the front doors of the library.

I sat just outside its doors. There are comfortable wooden benches there. The seating is usually populated by nicotine addicts. So the wood has soaked in the odor. It’s like sitting on incense sticks. Only more sturdy and with better lumbar support than those little incense sticks could ever provide. So I sit and finish the last few chapters of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. Wonderful stuff. I’m so thrilled to be finishing the book, until… I have another visitation. It’s the albino squirrel again. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him. I remember my futile little thought – "Oh, he won’t remember me. He won’t terrorize me. Probably doesn’t care one whit about me!" Not so.

With the speed and mischievous delight of a ferret, he leaped down from a trash bin toward me. His tail fluttered and his little red eyes sparkled with dark maliciousness. He pretended that he thought I had some food for him. But I saw through that. Does he think me a fool? No, I knew his game. He wanted to find out my new safehouse. He was spying on me, as usual. It’s the same old song played on the same miniature squirrel instrument. (It’s probably a woodwind.)

I slowly put down my book and returned the same glassy-eyed stare the little monster was casting my way. I had forgotten the intensity of that stare. That devious little animal was plotting against me as he picked up that apple core and started nibbling on it. I wasn’t going to fall for this little routine, though. I’m too smart for that. I got up and walked away, making a pitiful attempt at the nonchalant. But I had to try. There was a small chance that he would leave me alone if I had the huevos to keep my cool. But I knew the odds. And they were stacked against me.

I walked away as if everything were normal… as if my world hadn’t suddenly grown darker and colder in the presence of such a devilish little creature. I walked away, trying to breathe normally. I walked the unbearable 15 feet around the corner, then broke into a frantic sprint. I had to put as much distance between me and the squirrel as possible. His agents! They certainly would have already surrounded the area! His careful planning and plotting had decimated any thoughts I had of getting away without being followed. I knew what I had to do. I ducked into a Mexican restaurant nearby, on the pretense of meeting friends. After two margaritas, I was relaxed enough to grab onto a girl, as if I were some heterosexual male.

This disguise was clever enough to fool the squirrel and his minions. I had a friend pick me up at the restaurant, since I knew the squirrel agents would already be stationed around my car.

I won – this round, at least. I just hope that I can manage to get away that easily the next time the squirrel comes around. I don’t want a repeat of the December 4th incident. I still bear the scars from that conflict, emotionally and physically.

And my roommate Jim had to nurse after me for a week after that incident. No, I can’t let that happen again.

Hold me.

Thursday, July 27, 2000

message from a university restroom

Somebody had written "EAR HER" is the toilet paper dispenser. Or rather, they had blackened out the appropriate letters of "TEAR HERE" so that the simple instructions were transformed into a vaguely erotic suggestion.

You can learn so much about people from their writing.

Another inscription, directly above the toilet, read, "Suck Cock." The second and third "C" were backwards, giving the words a heavy metal feel to them. (Do you remember how the 80s glam-metal bands would frequently invert a letter or figure to exhibit an air of casual contempt for the authority of spelling and the written word? Ah, those were the days -- such simple, symbolic ideological rebellion!)

This morning I arose early for my last day of summer semester. For breakfast, I quickly consumed leftover yellowtail sushi, honeydew melon and a glass of water. With the new kitchen, I find myself eating standing up a lot more than I used to. I'm not sure whether this is a purely time-saving function, or whether I'm simply too lazy to walk over to the dining room and eat there. Only time will tell.

I fear that I only have a little over a day to spend with my beloved, the one who brings me such joy. He lustfully pumps into me his passion for life. He warms and fulfills me.

He giveth and he giveth and he never taketh away. He fills my nights with song.

But soon, he will be taken away from me, to the great beyond. His transition into nothingness will not alter my memories of him or all that he has so generously shared with me. But it will certainly provide me with many sweet memories.

A circuit judge in Los Angeles said that he has to go Friday. His name is Napster.com and I love him very much.

-sad blend.

Saturday, July 22, 2000

introducing G

I'm sorry. I know I�ve let you down lately, J-blend journal readers. So give me a break. School�s done its usual number on me. And I just haven�t had any moments of particular inspiration worthy of your time and attention.

So to end this little literary dry spell, I thought that I�d introduce you to my friend, Gavin

(Gavin trapped in scannerland.)

Of all the guys on the 35th inspection team at the meat and poultry division of the Department of Agriculture, he's certainly the most amiable. If you ever indulge in over-the-counter frozen meat and vegetable pie products, you have a lot to thank this guy for.

Gavin�s a swell guy that met me online a few months back. We chat online quite a bit and on the phone, too. When we spoke last, he consented to a brief interview for my readers with my widdle punkin -- er -- I mean, "friend."

Jeffrey: Why the hell are you talking to me?

Gavin: Uhhhh. Because � without going into anything intense� I love you. Did you just put that down that I just said that?

J: Yes, I did. Don�t worry. I can type like an amazon secretary on steroids. How are you doing?

G: (Apropos of nothing) Boy, a taco sounds really good right about now.

J: If you were a soft drink, which one would you be and why?

G: A soft drink? (In a deliberate mocking tone) A carbonated beverage, one might say� I would be a orange cream soda because it�s sweet and I have that round kind of flavor to me, the round kind of flavor of orange and cream in the wonderful land of carbonated water� and I look good in a bottle. Just wait until you see me in a bottle, baby.

J: What is your opinion of beauty pageants for ten-year-old girls?

G: I think they�re an essential component of society and whoever thought them up needs to have a holiday commemorating them, their birth and their death. And I think children should be let out of school and families should be able to have nice little picnics and bond, you know, family stuff. Praise the Lord for their precious little beauty pageants for their little girls.� (Sighs a big sigh, pauses.) Wait. What about hermaphrodites?

J: I don�t know -- what about them?

G: They should have beauty pageants as well!

J: Why?

G: You�re joking, right?

J: No. (With a right-wing extremist bible-thumper�s tone) Explain to me why they should have special rights, those freaks?

G: I can�t explain to you it if you don�t already know!

J: (Senses Gavin�s discomfort on this subject. Quickly composes next question.) What would you ask me if you had the chance?

G: (Voice softens as though his larynx was dried with Snuggle fabric softener) I�d ask, "Would you run away with me to Paris and watch Fantasia on a big screen TV and cuddle?"

J: And I�d answer, "Oui, mon petit chien."

G: It would be so fun to watch Fantasia with you and cuddle.

J: Would it be in French? Would I understand it?

G: There�s no dialogue in it, so it�d be no problem. (Rethinks the response) They all wear berets and smell bad in the French version.

J: If you could go anywhere and eat anything while you were there, where would you go and what would you eat?

G: Hmmm. I�d be in Louisiana, with my baby, sharing a carton of Scooby-Doo ice cream.

J: If you had a thousand dollars, what would you do with it?

G: Oh, I would give it to friends of mine in Chicago who are having another baby, so it would help them out with their expenses. They�re wonderful people and they have gifted babies that are wonderful and beautiful.

J: So you're saying that you would subsidize their breeding program, right?

G: They only have one other baby besides this one coming. They�re not just like some crazy �ho. (pause) "If I had a million dollars�" Now I have that Bare naked ladies song in my head.

J: On a deserted island, what toiletry items would you bring with you and why?

G: I think it would be a toothbrush and toothpaste. Because I don�t want my teeth to rot � and just skip (B) and go directly to (C) I won�t be able to kiss anybody if my teeth stink since no one would want to. (D) It�s just common sense, I guess.

J: Have you ever been abused by a sockhead (a fellow fan of Sifl 'n' Olly)?

G: Physically, you mean? I�ve only ever met one, offline, I mean. Why do you ask?

J: I�m just concerned for you. Describe your most embarrassing experience with a Sockhead.

G: Well, there was that time when I killed her parents. That was kind of embarrassing.

J: Is there anything you�d like to get off your chest for my readership?

G: You know, I don�t know!

J: This is really important � it�s about my public!

G: Well, I don�t owe them anything. Screw them. (Pause.) Well, for a very, very long time, I�ve been putting down the movie Eyes Wide Shut, but now I want to see it again. And I feel that I should just let them know that I seriously love Jeffrey. And I�m not ashamed to admit it. I want your readers to know that because I�m claiming you, for the United States of Gavin... and for the entire GavinVerse!

J: So when do you think you�ll plant that flag?

G: Randy! Umm. August 17th, at 8 p.m.

J: What boxers do you want to reserve from my boxer-rama collection?

G: I guess I like the cocktail glasses ones, �cause it gives me something to drink. (Bursts out into that old "Whatever Lola wants" song.)

J: Do you care to comment on the breakdown of peace talks at Camp David earlier today?

G: No, I�d rather DANCE, DANCE, DANCE! Oh, and make sure that you make each "dance" successively larger, with a lot of exclamation points.

J: No, I can't. (slaps insect off elbow.) Damn mosquitoes. Why do they torment me so???

G: Because you don�t shower enough. Maybe you just don�t have a sweet guy their to fend them off. (Feigns Dr. Ruth sex therapist accent) It could be any of these things!

J: Where do you see yourself in five minutes?

G: Five minutes? That�s so far away. I suppose anything could happen. Maybe I�ll be president. Maybe I�ll just go to the bathroom. Who knows? Or I could be reading a story to you.

J: What about the vice-president-ship? Would that be okay?

G: No, I don�t take anything but the best.

J: Any parting words?

G: If you look on my cam in five minutes, you�ll see my ass. (Giggles suddenly.)

J: That�s eloquent. Thank you.

G: (Triumphantly, as though his dot-com had just gone public) I just did it! I -- I seriously did it!

J: What? What did you do?

G: (Laughing) I seriously showed my ass on my cam.

J: (Runs to computer.)