These are the odd days. The in-betweens. When the Fair’s on, that’s all there is, at least in my head. Not because I just wuv it so! but because I have to work there, in a manner of speaking. Not the sort of sweaty work where you hand over food in exchange for currency, although I’ve done that. Worked a Sno-Cone booth for a day for a story. I remember the yellowjackets, hanging around the trash, never going away, entertaining all with their smooth jazz. (Sorry.) It was sticky and unpleasant, but if you’re a Sno-Cone owner it’s worth it. I think they go for three bucks this year. Picture a Sno-Cone. Tote up in your head the cost of ingredients. I think they do okay.
Odd days, in-betweens. The weather’s hot - we were supposed to get true misery today, with temps in the high 90s and humidity; reporters were bracing for “how to handle a hot day at the Fair” story, complete with pictures of kids eating ice cream. The sort of thing they ran last year and also in 1957. It was mid-eighties, with a delicious breeze. Not one of those heads-up! winds Autumn sends in, either. A late delivery from June.
But daughter’s at school, which seems odd on a summer day. She complained going off this morning, complained about the heat: it was sooo hot in school, and unlike her last one they don’t have air conditioning anywhere. Except the Office and the Teacher’s Lounge.
This struck her as unfair.
I reminded her that they were the ruling class, and the objective in life was to suck up to them so you could get access to the sweet, cool air of the office. Or misbehave so you get sent there for punishment. Choose your path, grasshopper.
No, I did no such thing. Sent her on her way down the hill.
Past the little kids waiting on our corner for the elementary school bus. Which was once hers.
Turn around, and there’s the dog, watching me, wondering if anything was going to happen. As it’s always been. Then he went back to the floor and laid out to commence the day’s slumbers. When I pass him sometimes I pause to see if he’s breathing.
But! When I turned on the air conditioning today I thought: you get a week, maybe two, when this switch is neither right nor left, when you need neither cool nor heat. Can’t imagine needing heat; far in the distance, that day. And when it comes, and you hear the whoosh and rumble of the boiler, it’s nice. It’s a comfort. Same when you turn on the fireplace for the first time, settle into the sofa and feel the warmth; it’s an old friend, right down to cologne of burning dust on the fake ceramic rugs.
There’s no in-between time in spring, now that I think of it. There’s only impatience and RAW HATRED. In spring you step on the remaining sheets of sidewalk ice like the backbone of a collaborator. In the fall, you accept it. Time is a rope running through your hands; you take with one and give with the other and the slack inbetween is the measure of your day.
The wind just kicked up a bit, and stirred some dead leaves around the patio. Crickets. No planes.
I wonder why you never see any squirrel skeletons.
Sorry, went off the rails. But you start ruminating, and you remember something you were thinking about while digging in the dirt. Shouldn’t there be more skulls?
Here's something fun. From a magazine in the 1930s, a study of an actor's versatile looks. The man of Five Faces! The fifth being his own.
Hint: all stage plays. Can you name that actor? Answer on Monday.
Today there's some new old Wards 1961. Have a grand weekend, and I'll see you around!