Thursday, April 30, 2009

The lost days

I've spent two days on jury duty. The bad news: no posts. The good news: new material. When I get my act together (who knew one's civic duty could be so exhausting?), you'll be hearing about it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

About Viva la vida

This song -- Coldplay's Viva la vida -- has been in my head for months: I listen to it over and over, I (try) to sing along, I don't know, I just love it. It's my ringtone, damn it!
And then I found this video on another blog, and I'll never hear it in quite the same way, ever again.

The backstory from YouTube:
"The PS22 Chorus of 2009 has some fun with Coldplay's Grammy nominated song Viva La Vida, the amazing new hit single from the album of the same name." And more about them on PS22 blog>>

Monday, April 20, 2009

About the older man at McDonald's

Time for lunch, let's go to lunch, how about McDonald's?, noIdon'twanttogotoMcDonald's. We're at McDonald's.
The usual lunch crowd.  Long line at the drive-thru, wasting time and gas. Short line inside. The normal hubbub of conversation, fries beeping, orders, registers. Ice rattling near the pop machines.
Young moms with little kids not eating their nuggets. Senior citizen couples with coffees. A few office types like us. Some construction guys. Burgers and fries at noon on a dreary Monday.
Michelle and I sit at a bar-height table and chat about weekends and ballgames and work and Monday things.
The TV is on Fox news and I try to ignore it. Because.
There to my right, a gentleman by himself. A "senior." Cup of coffee. Burger. Fries. On the table in front of him, untouched. He's comfortably dressed, and if I had to guess his line of work, I'd say, retired farmer, but really? Who knows.
Like I said, he's alone.
And as I watch, he takes a breath, and folds his hands, and bows his head.
And suddenly, McDonald's seems silent, the sacred somehow finding its way in and sitting with us, as it so often does, unawares.
I watch him pray. He's perfectly still.
For a long minute he prays. And he looks so intense, yet so peaceful, here in McDonald's, asking for God's blessing on these burgers, these fries, and what else? For a wife who should be here, and is not? For a child, a grandchild, himself? Or perhaps, even, for those sitting alongside him?
Indeed, it's not my business, who or what he prays for, and specious of me to guess. Yet how could I not add just a small thought to his, and His? For whatever, there in the busy-ness of a Monday noon at McDonald's.
As the gentleman moves to begin his lunch, so I finish mine. And the day begins again.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

About what I heard last night

First time the window is open, on a warm spring night. A faint conversation. A car door. Far to the south, a train.
Shut my eyes and remember the day and forget it, all at once. The dark a familiar friend, a door shut between the day's hurly-burly and night's quiet surcease.
Then through the window, softly as smoke, a siren sings and then another and a third, creating a concert of alarm, and I open my eyes but don't see anything.
And the sound gets louder and closer, a crescendo of warning and emergency, until it fills the room and chases away the quiet and the calm, and suddenly I fear the sirens come for me.
Yet still it's dark, and I can't see.
And the siren sings louder, louder--
Then crests and begins to fall, begins fading back into the night, and, I know, has passed me by.
Quiet and calm will come again, here.
Yet the sirens are drawn to somewhere, something: A frantic call, a sudden accident, a flames? Somewhere someone is scared, is hurt, is waiting, is wondering, is dying. In a truck cabin, a radio barks, a heart races, time stops. Headlights and horns rip through the night, a race to whoever, whatever, needs those sirens, that help.
In someone else's bedroom, a phone rings. Tonight, someone else will get up and go out to face that dark, noisome night and whatever it holds.
I turn over and let the superficial silence fill me, sleep closer than it should be, comforted by the easy way the sirens of the night rode on. This night.
Yet before I fall, a song from the afternoon whispers in my ear, a soft reminder:
"She got the call today
"One out of the gray
"And when the smoke cleared
"It took her breath away
"She said she didn't believe
"It could happen to me
"I guess we're all one phone call from our knees." (Mat Kearney,Closer to Love)

Monday, April 13, 2009

UPDATED: About the movies I watched, whatever they were

I love watching movies. But there are so many movies, so little time.
On an Ohio visit, time expands a little, and I might get to watch a couple.
This weekend, it was A League of their Own (again), Kiss Me Kate (first time), Outsourced (also new), Ten Commandments (part of), The Sound of Music (part of) and ... another one. That I'm forgetting.
Oh GOD that I'm forgetting.
We watched one late Friday afternoon, before Outsourcing (our evening movie), and I cannot remember for anything what it was.
What is wrong with my memory that I can't recall such a little thing? Or maybe that's it--it's a little thing, and my brain in its, ah, maturity, let's call it, tends to just dispose of any bit of knowledge not necessary to function.
I have gone to great lengths to find out what it was. I've searched several TV schedules (I can't even remember what CHANNEL it was on), searched through the newspaper TV listings, tried to look on Netflix (had to log in but have cancelled my membership), and tried to clear my mind of all distractions.
Still no memory of that movie.
Oh, I really should tell you this. I'd also forgotten the late-evening movie, the one we watched AFTER Outsourcing. I was racking my brains over that one on the way home, listening to NPR and trying to distract myself. When, between news segments, the music was ... Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Which then reminded me ... of just what I needed.
I am holding on to my ace in the hole.
I can call my dad. I know he'll remember.
But the thought of calling an almost 86-year-old man for something I'VE forgotten is just ... embarrassing.
But if I go crazy enough trying to remember, I'm going to have to make that call. Before HE forgets.
UPDATE: I remembered.
My Cousin Vinny.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

About short takes


Let me watch you sleep,
Sweet surcease comes not to me;
I will rest in you.

Bad day

Last night.
Good plan.


Not expecting.
Sudden rudeness.
Blow up!
Spout off!
Calm down.
Oh well.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

About nuclear holocaust

And why not, with North Korea launching missiles over Japan, carrying who-knows-what who-knows-where?
Being born after World War II, lucky me, and all my cohorts, never have known a world without the threat of nuclear weapons, always the knowledge that life as we know it could be blown to bits at any time.
Oh, I exaggerate. Certainly we would have a few minutes warning of any said bomb. Enough time to climb into our bomb shelter. That no one has anymore.
But in the '60s, people did have bomb shelters. Not us. We had a wellpit--a cement room, underground, with a cement roof, that housed our well; we kept potatoes there all winter, too. How I hated that place! Full of dampness, darkness, bugs, and unseen creepy crawlies just waiting for me. I only entered during 1) tornado warnings and 2) when forced to go retrieve said potatoes. 
But when I'd watch the news and hear about bomb shelters, I'd think about us living in that wellpit. And wondered, how long could we last on those potatoes? And, what would the world look like when we came out?
I grew up about an hour south of Cleveland--maybe not a main target of the bad guys, but back in the day, a hub of shipping and manufacturing. Maybe even bomb-worthy.
What's one of my first memories of school? Being taken into the hallway and taught how to kneel close to the wall, and tuck my head between my knees. Bomb threat drill. Yea, that would buy us a few extra minutes, wouldn't it?
I don't remember the Cuban missile crisis--too young. I don't think the little kids of today will remember this day's news, either--not enough drama, thank God--not enough danger, not today.
But we've lived with missile crisis fallout since 1962. And if I live to be as old as my gramma--101--I guess I'll feel good that we went 100 years with a threat of annihilation ... and not more.
So far, so good.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

About ER

Funny, how some things just put us in a time or place or maybe just a feeling, puts us there so truly that all of a sudden we remember -- or we are -- who we were -- and we realize we are different now. And maybe we miss that ourselves, a little. Or miss a time, or a place.

I haven't watched ER in four or five years, probably, yet, at one time, it was the highlight of my week. I'd get errands done, chores dones, and let everyone know that for the next hour, the TV was MINE.

Then the music would start and I was lost, lost in a stupid TV show for an hour, my once a week mental vacation.

But tonight, watching -- it's 1990-something, and I'm not 50 anymore, and my kids aren't grown up, and I live in a different house. Just for a sec.

Although I'm watching on a DVR ... on a flat-screen TV ...

Wondering, in 10 years, what will trigger my memory of this time, this place?