Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Don’t forget - tomorrow is “Not One Dime“ day, which I mentioned in passing in yesterday’s post too. Meantime, here’s a belated journal-type entry about my weekend. Enjoy it if you dare.
Written Sunday 1/16, 12:10 am to 1:30 am
Back on my back, for night #2 of displacement. But “displacement” only feels like the right word in a superficial way. Maybe I need a new word to describe where I am, lying on the wonderful tan couch in the living room under two love-imbued comforters, a rich tasty dinner in my belly, laughter still aching in my sides, and my bedroom down the hall stripped, but well on its way to being reborn as a much more habitable space. Not so much “displaced,” then, as in happy transit to a reborn place - I’ll call it “neoplaced” for want of a better name.
Friday night, though I got home from work feeling a bit under the weather, we moved all the furniture out of the bedroom - except for the big sleighbed, which we covered with a tarp - and I took a sander to the baseboards while Kel Dremeled out the window mouldings. Then we bedded down in the living room to try to get some sleep.
We eventually woke up about 12 hours later, thanks to the power of our super-soporific sofas. I slept longer, deeper, and more satisfyingly than I have in months, stretched out under comforters that defy wakefulness. Once we finally roused ourselves, we vacuumed and tarped the bedroom floors and then we painted the ceiling. I’ve written before about this process; my sentiments about it remain unchanged - if anything, they’re amplified. There’s something about jamming a roller in a pan of liquid freshness and running it back and forth overhead, watching tired old greyness get eclipsed by cheerful crisp cleanliness, my arms and shoulders bunched and straining as I force the roller up against the ceiling of my bedroom, the upper limit of my most intimate living space, unable actually to push it higher but effectively raising it up with every stroke I take because it grows brighter and newer, more accomodating and less oppressive… I had felt, the night before, as I ground off layers of old semigloss and tore out defunct phone wires that had not carried data for decades and as I chisled out thick accretions of paint, generations of color, undisturbed, it seemed, since time began, chipping it off as a dentist cleans plaque off long-neglected teeth, that I was grinding and chiseling my way through stultifying strata of inertia and apathy, down to a base level where the original potential could once again be glimpsed and maybe even accessed, a place from which new efforts could be constructively begun, a true opportunity for a fresh start.... And as the ceiling turned from a heavy soiled palm pushing down on us into a reflection of an unbounded future, ready to inspire us as we open our eyes to it each morning, I felt as if, from bottom to top, this new paint job would really make every bit as much difference as I could ever have hoped.
Between coats, we went out for a quick jog around Stow Lake, where the plum trees are just coming into first bloom even as the gardeners are pruning back the rose bushes into thorny twisted twigs; the eel-man was out feeding seagulls that stood with chunks of stale breadin their gaping beaks, and a movie crew was building a pier into the lake from which people on the old stone bridge could be filmed. They were also setting out dozens of fake fall trees, plastic maples with vibrant plastic red foliage and pseudo-sycamores in synthetic yellow, all nailed onto tidy cruciform wooden stands that were being carefully camoflaged with skeins of ersatz ivy. The air was cool and clear and crisp, and the run was almost effortless - as we ran together, Kel and I, our communication left our words behind; our breath and pulse shared all we cared to share, or wished or needed to.
I detoured on the way home to get some supplies around the corner from our apartment at the friendly local pet-care store; this sent me past the medical marijuana shop twice and, both times, people strolling out with discrete paper sacks gave me broad cheerful salutations; at the crowded, claustrophobic pet goods store a general attitude of congenial harmony prevailed as people in line shared stories about their beloved fuzzy and feathered friends.
We had time for the second coat on the ceiling before cleaning up for our drive down to Santa Cruz for a bloggers-and-spouses supper that was full of butter, wine and laughter. Seeing Remy spray Pete with a fine mist of diet coke as he belatedly picked up on my line, “Dude, do you have a mirror?,” made the 200 mile round-trip drive totally worth it all by itself, though of course the rest of the evening was a delight as well, excepting the chagrin I felt as I realized that I was chatting at the bar with two other men and we all three of us had shaved heads and black leather jackets - like a cattle call for the russian mafia. But we got past that and had a great time, with a quick and uneventful drive back home… which brings me to now.
Now it’s well past midnight, Kel’s snoozing on the other sofa and we get to paint the walls tomorrow - that is, today - finally covering the 12 patches of sample colors we laid out months ago with the one warm colonial hue that looked good everywhere, under all lighting conditions. Those twelve patches have been a standing challenge all these months - a challenge to embrace an opportunity, to revive ourselves and our lives. Soon, today, we will grasp that opportunity and wring a new future out of it. But first, I think it may be time to get a little more sleep.