Other people post photos of their cats. I post pictures of my teapot. Okay? Okay.
I dropped my teapot’s lid this morning, giving the teapot its first new blemish since I chipped it on the day I bought it more than seven years ago. Everything is fine here, no interruption of service should be expected. I was just saying, that’s all.
Did I mention?:
The comedian maintained his hammered-condition with straight shots of vodka. He repeated jokes and accepted requests from the audience, many of whom seemed to know all his material already. He made a passing remark about Vicodin, so a college kid walked purposefully up to the stage and handed him a prescription bottle. The comedian perked up as he squinted at the label. He opened the container spilling pills on the floor and crouched down to collect them. But he liked it better down on the floor. He gave up searching for Vicodins and laid on his back for the rest of the show, still delivering his lines.
The tourist asked directions from a woman reclining and enjoying her book: “Darlin’?” [no response] “Hey Darling?” [she looks up, gestures “me?”] “Which way is Pioneer Square?”
The businessman walked with another businessman, gesturing broadly: “I cashed in my 401k.”
I went bar-hopping in North Bend with Ingrid and her sister. First I unwittingly won a game of electronic darts at The Sure Shot. Next we went up the street to The Shanty. There was hollering coming from inside. We were careful not to swing the door to widely, that would’ve hit the end of a poised pool-cue – the table was right next to the door. A friendly drunk offered the girls drinks and his company within thirty seconds of our stepping inside. Drunks in the back got giddy after recognizing the first few notes of each song coming from the jukebox. They sang along, one using a mock-falsetto voice. The bathrooms were barren and filthy. We bought pull-tabs. Ingrid told a somewhat risqué story, talking louder than she realized; and two strangers gathered behind her to listen. At least one drunk marked us as outsiders – when we left he heckled us inarticulately.
Also: The bliss. The anxiety.
I put the finishing touches to my rocket this morning and took a quick trip to the moon. I didn’t have a spacesuit with me, so when I got there I just looked out the window. Re-entry was pretty sweaty, so I took a shower after I’d re-oriented myself to the Earth’s strong gravity. When I got out of the shower I had eleven messages on my voicemail – I guess word of my moon-landing got out pretty quickly. About half of the messages were from reporters, I deleted those immediately. The most interesting of the remaining messages was from Al Gore, he said he wanted to talk to me. I called him back and suggested that we go out for lunch. He agreed and asked if I knew of any good Mexican restaurants. I asked him if he knew where Taqueria Express was. He said no, so I gave him directions. I headed out right away, Al Gore was already there when I arrived. He looked at the menu and asked if I had any suggestions. I said that the cheese enchiladas were good, but he ordered the chicken enchiladas instead. I was a little confused when he congratulated me – I couldn’t figure out why until I remembered the moon-landing. I thanked him. I asked him why he’d shaved the beard and he said he was just tired of it already. He asked me what I was going to do next and I told him that I was thinking of taking the rocket to Mars tomorrow. He nodded and helped himself to a tortilla chip. I noticed that his eyes were watering a little, he told me that was because he wasn’t used to salsa that was so spicy. I asked him if he knew where I could get a spacesuit for my trip tomorrow. (I’d like to get out and stretch my legs after I land. Mars is a lot farther away than the moon.) He said that he wasn’t sure. I reached for my wallet after we finished, but Al Gore said, “No, no. That’s on me.” I noticed that the tip he’d left wasn’t very big, so I surreptitiously added a couple of dollars (I hope he didn’t notice).
Robert had been saying that he wanted me to help him write a letter to his mother. I’d been putting him off, “We’ll talk about it later.” I had visions of long paragraphs spiraling into nowhere and I didn’t have the patience to make sense of it. One of his pastors turned him down too. Robert said that the pastor had confessed that he couldn’t read or write either. I assume that Robert was filling some gaps in the story or that the pastor has a cruel sense of humor. Finally, yesterday, I said, “Okay. Let’s get this letter written.” And this is what Robert dictated to me:
Sorry I can’t make it down for your birthday. I’ll try to figure out a gift to send you for Mother’s Day. I hope you’re feeling well.
From your son,
I tried to draw him out, “Is there anything else you want to say?” “No, that was it.” We went out and got a card, he chose a postcard with Mount Rainier on it. I asked him for his mother’s address. He thought for a second, before admitting that he no longer had it.
I’m pretty much like this in real life too (once you get me talking). I can go on and on, recounting stories whose poignancy I feel but wouldn’t be able to defend.
Recently I’ve been self-conscious when I tell a story that I’ve written about or alluded to here. I’ll look nervously at someone who might have read it and see if I can slip it past them without them noticing.
Then when I write about something that’s come up recently in a conversation, I get the tiniest inkling that, on some low level at least, I might be betraying the person I was talking to – co-opting our conversation with a clumsy glossing-over of the facts.
When I tell a story aloud, the story is set free. It doesn’t matter if I’ve missed something, gotten something wrong, can’t find the words I’m looking for, or have misinterpreted someone else’s roll in the incident. There’s no record of my telling – I can’t be held accountable. When I type up a story and post it here, it basically becomes the definitive public record of my take on the anecdote. (Unfortunately nearly every time I look at an old story I cringe at the typos, unclear sentences, and the paragraphs that I obviously didn’t bothered to re-read before posting.)
Some small part of me worries that what I write down is truer than what I think or say.