|Thirty years from now this picture will look as peculiar as a photo of a street with horses and carriages. At least I hope so. I was walking across the parking lot of the supermarket the other day, and I thought: damn, thats a lot of wires. Lots of poles. Looks like some sort of empty Golgotha. Took a picture (I dont go anywhere without this camera now) and I get a little depressed looking at it. Alas, poor Tesla. If only.
So where will all the wires go? Underground for some, away for others. These ugly poles, these long black scratches on the sky, will all seem like a big sloppy temporary patch, an aesthetically kludgy idea that was abandoned at the first possible opportunity. It will happen gradually, probably - one day in 30 years, some old fellow will look up and realize that all the poles and wires are gone. Poles: what a peculiar idea those were; why did we put up with them anyway? Stripped trees. Big tall empty tree-spines shorn of branches and foliage, covered in oil, pierced by spikes, topped with buzzing vats of juice and dioxin. Must have scared the shit out of the live trees. Holy mother, I hope this doesnt happen to me. If the trees ever took over, theyd probably place human skeletons every 20 yards. See how WE like it.
July. Already! But - this time I am not having the usual panic & fear over the loss of summer. The pressures off by July 4th. Everyone wants, everyone needs, a pure perfect May and bright fine June. We always think theyll set the mood for the rest of the season; we all think that the days lost to rain and gloom somehow ruin the entire summer. They dont. Each day ruins itself one at a time. When we get three straight days of sun and warmth here we forgive everything. One straight week and we think: whew, its summer, alright. Two straight weeks and we wish for rain and cooler temps. Right now its 80 degrees by the iClock (thats the oh-fer-cute! iMac clock I bought) in my studio, and its 10:30 PM. I like that. Ill have some more, please. Now summer begins. Sixty more days! An eternity.
In the afternoon when the temps were 85+ I decided - on a lark! - to steam off the wallpaper border in the guest room, which is the last room in Lileks Manor to be overhauled. (Its part of the Stuff Reduction Program - indeed, the impetus for the whole damn idea. Since it means that some of the items in the guest room had to go into the spare room, the things in the spare room had to come into my room, which meant - well, its a domino effect.) My wife was pleased at my initiative, and somewhat alarmed; bursts of domestic initiative are so uncharacteristic that she worries whether Im not myself. (Just to play with her mind, today I went shopping for modular closet units and additional shelves, which she also wants. Hah! Take that!) The border was an oh-so-80s pattern, slate blue with wispy floral accents, very much from the Morning in America era of home design. It was the last piece of the previous owners decorating touches to survive. This room was a girls room - so was my studio, if I can presume from the pink carpeting - and I felt a little sad, steaming it off. Everything you do to make a place your own destroys the physical proof of someone elses memory. Its possible shes never thought of this border in years. Its also possible she hated it. Or was indifferent. Im lucky - the house in which I grew up is still there, Dads still in it, and all my furniture is still in the room.
Although its not my room. When I left home, my sister took my room; it was bigger. My furniture was put in her old room - which had been the sewing room. I have one distinct memory of that room: I was talking to my Mom, who was sewing, and for someone reason I referred to women as broads. She was keen to know where Id heard the term, and I said, of course, that Id heard it on TV. An old movie. In retrospect, I think her concern was hiding amusement. There has to be something funny about a serious seven-year-old calling women broads.
My old room now has my sisters furniture, but it has on the closet door knobs some Marvel comic decals I got when I joined the FOOM club. Otherwise its all sis white prancy Frenchy furniture. My sober Ethan Allen desk set is in the next room, with all my books and trophies still displayed. The bed is the bed I slept in when I was seven. It still has sliding doors on the headboard and inside theres still the books I had when I was a kid. Theres a groovy 70s teardrop-shape Panasonic radio. Its all there. I wonder sometimes whether I ran so far from Fargo because all the props of childhood were there, judging me for growing up. Now, of course, Im grateful that these things are still there. Now Im relieved to see them again. But thats only because I did leave, and made a life elsewhere. Now theyre like old, silent childhood friends, like a row of your best grade-school buddies stuffed, mummified and arranged in various life-life poses.
Hmm. Another metaphor that went on too long.
Reminds me - better call Dad. He still doesnt have cable, after the flood; doesnt have the La-Z-Boy or the big big TV. Back to the small portable in the dining room.
Just the way it was when I was growing up, in other words.
Meaning . . . hell be upstairs, not downstairs. He wont answer by the cordless phone, hell use the old Ma Bell special on the wall. Well, then Ill use my old Ma Bell dial phone, too.
As long as we have all these damn ugly wires, we might as well use them for something good.