A Title So Dull Even Reverse Psychology Won’t Get You to Read On

I’d hoped to be back writing short pieces of truncated scenes this morning as I normally do, but I’ve gotten a late start due to an early start.Maybe some sort of weekend recapitulation is in order.

Our house is clean this morning.  Last week while cleaning resilient wads of red hair from the rollers of our vacuum I determined I was wasting time.  The thing was well and truly busted.  I didn’t want to fix it; I’m not Bedouin or a junk man.  Carrie quickly priced a couple options for a Dyson and we were off to buy the cheaper of the two since the pet hair one exceeded our gut cost-to-performance expectations.  Once home I jerked it out of the box and fired it up.

A trip around the living room filled the canister.  A second trip around the same carpet nearly filled the canister again.  The vacuum performs under expectations or the carpeting exceeds them.  I’m going with a win for the carpet.  We’ve found a comfortable combination of ambivalence and willful ignorance a quick route to a clean house.

So we Dysoned it up.  Moved all the furniture to the periphery.  And rolled out the Bissel home steam cleaner.  I use the word steam loosely—I don’t think they use it at all—because I don’t think it would make as much sense to call in a wet-vac.  This lonely tool bewilders and impresses me every time I use it.  An unintuitive combination of dials and triggers coupled with a long-ago skim of the instructions means I start each session by figuring it one more time.  In the end it’s simpler than I recall.  Then the cleaner sucks up all the pet stains—that’s marketese for shit, puke, and pee—and kid stains—not exactly the same but close.

The other pleasure is it’s facility.  I come away thinking we should do this once a month.  Why don’t we?  Why haven’t we?

Sink’s clean.  Kitchen counters clear.  Garage 10% better than the weekend before.

Hopefully these conditions maintain throughout the week till our 10th Annual Pumpkin Carving Party on Saturday.

Day 305

This is Olsen My Homophobic Friend

“Go the back way; through Langston.” Olsen requested. I nearly always do. “So. You know how I refuse to wear a condom?” he goes on to ask.

I dump the Chevy off 35 and float through the stop sign onto 33 headed east. “I know you claim to refuse. Never heard if you do or don’t. For sure, you never refused me.”

“I’d never refuse you, sweetie.” he says.

“Really?  Your wife left you and you wanna do the fake gay thing?  [With me?] You know what they say about homophobes.”

“Man, fags’ll say anything to get you to think that you’re repressed or some such shit.”  Olsen pulls off his OSU ball cap and dips it into the airstream.

I wrote the above a ways back but never posted it.  I am not sure why not.  I’ve posted plenty shorter.  I need to tweek this to make it more clear that the driver is gay.

On the way home yesterday I came up with a handful of exchanges between the driver and his buddy Olsen.  It flet like good dialogue, but I couldn’t really make a full conversation stream out of the pieces.  It reminds me of the piece I did with the actress discussing things with her assistant a ways back.

I should make it clear that I’m not gay.  And I don’t have any close friends that are that could provide me guidance in the accuracy or authenticity of the following conversations.  Were I to significantly expand this piece I’d do more research.  For now I’ve just used my imagination.  The driver shouldn’t be offensive; Olsen probably should.

These aren’t in order…

“So you wouldn’t fuck a girl at all?  Even a hot one?  Do you even think hot girls are hot?”  Olsen asked.

“No. No. Yes.”

“OK, good. Wait, what?  Would you fuck one or not?”

I’ve always tried not to go into detail with Olsen.  He’s not ready for this conversation–neither am I.

“No, I wouldn’t fuck a girl not even a hot one.  Yes, I do know the difference between hot and just regular pretty.”

“My wife’s smokin’.  You’ve know that.  You wouldn’t fuck her?” Olsen pauses.  I know what’s coming. “Not even in the ass?”

“Nope.  Not even in the ass.”  I’ve tried to keep things short.  Tried to keep things factual and basic.  I can feel it’s not going to work better than I can feel the Oklahoma evening air rushing int he open window.

“You know I’m not gay because I like ‘fucking people in the ass’, right?”

“But you do?”

“Have sex or like it?”

His look tells me to stop playing word games.

“Yes on both.”

“You can’t be gay.  You drive this truck.”

Admittedly, the truck isn’t very gay.  A 1978 Chevy Fleetside red with a white stripe down the side.  It’s a classic Oklahoma farm truck.  Beat up bed.  Dented and rusting back bumper.  Even has a gun rack–empty except for my rope and calf string.  I point to the plastic Bugs Bunny I superglued to to the dash.

“OK.  Gluing that there was gay.”

“I don’t mean gluing gluing it.  I mean Bugs.  Bugs is gay.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?  Bugs Bunny isn’t gay.”

I give him a wink about as flamboyantly as I ever can be.

“Jeezus.  Ugh.  Please don’t ever do that again.”  Olsen shivers like I’ve shown him a dead body.  “I’m just saying that fags don’t drive trucks.  Hell women don’t even drive trucks.”

“Now, what the fuck are you talking about?  Jamie drove a truck.  Christy drove a truck.  Joan drives a truck.  Hello!  Your soon to be ex wife drives a truck.”

“Yeah, but once you’re fucking them they want you to drive them around.  It’s like they have the truck just so they can get driven around in it.”

I have more of this stuck in my head.  Hopefully I’ll get to it later today, but for now I’ve got to get the work week started.

Day 254

Flight Lessons?

When I was much younger, still a boy in Scouts, our Scoutmaster took us out to a local airfield to get our Flying merit badge. This kind of thing was his thing. He brought rattlesnakes to our church basement meeting room and set them free on the floor among us boys. He invited a cop to come speak about his role on the local force. He located and wrangled a cowboy that had ridden or was still riding from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide. For him if you do it, you’ve done it. Near as I can tell he insisted on getting us as done as possible.

It was cold and a bit grey that day. I recall waiting in a smoked out room filled with dated flying magazines and one hastily cleaned ashtray. The plaid sandbag for a bottom kind. If a set dresser for a movie about a quaint little redneck airstrip were looking for the perfect set they would need to look no further.

Kids exaggerate waiting. I recall as a young child sitting in a doctor’s office for half a day or more just to get my throat swabbed. But at the airport I was in my teens so certainly my temporal judgment increased by then? As far as I know we never taxied the runway. My memory skips from the waiting room, to walking up to the plane, to being in the back seat—passenger’s side—of the smallest plane I’d ever boarded now in flight. I wore a hooded Ocean Pacific long sleeve shirt and I could feel sweat running down my side from my armpits. It was not hot.

The Scoutmaster, two other boys and myself. My head raced to keep up with the fear and the amazing experience. Roads and trees and houses and other structures that can only be seen from above ran under us like we were a canoe passing over stones in clear swift water. The plane regularly rocked or rolled in a number of directions. The words yaw and pitch come to mind now, but as much as I might have known what they meant on the ground back then in the sky, that day, they might as well have been made-up.

He must have been instructing us in his own inscrutable way. He had to have been talking to each of us in turn because at some point I switched places with the kid in front of me. I’m certain I would not have done this without being asked. Imagine climbing over the dinner table to swap places with another diner; you can’t touch the ground or spill your drinks it’s OK if you step in your food—or your partner’s.

I now have the secondary yoke in my clutching clutches and my feet tentatively on the peddles ready to break free at the slightest whisper of an inferred command. I’m feeling the flight path he’s flying through my arms and through my feet. The seat is sturdy and soft. The floor of the plane is solid and sure. The windows are clean and safely shielding me from the wind. The engine is running and will never stop turning the prop. In the whole world I’m the only thing likely to fail. He let’s go of the instructor’s yoke.

Holy mother of shit! The North Pole just flipped to the South.

Nothing is there anymore. The plane, once a car on a road unable to go up or down without regard for the terrain or left and right without regard for the curve, goes where I send it. Directions were at my finger tips and I could call them each up at will or whim or whatever.

Writing feels this way to me. Like a book is just on the other side of the threshold there is no way to ease through. That you simply jump off the cliff, pen and paper in hand, and write yourself out of a bad ending before you hit bottom.

You might see why I sometimes avoid tarrying near the edge.

Day 253