The Gully

  • Reading time:3 mins read

The what-seem-to-be period symptoms were ebbing today, so I figured, fine; might as well get some more groceries before the plague gets groovy and it will be unsafe to go out at all again. Took a larger than usual tote bag with me; one I hadn’t employed before. As usual there were no fucking baskets, so I threw the food directly in my bag, to procedurally unload at the scanner and more sensibly repack.

As it happens, about ten feet from the self-checkout, the bag exploded. Handle came right off, pulled the stitching right off like a zip cord I had to ask the lady there (luckily not the one who has acted… oddly to me) for a couple paper bags. Problem was, the bags here are really thin—and they have no handles. They’re not made for actually carrying. Still, I scooped them up and did my best.

It was a mile’s walk, with two heavy bags—lots of jars and fluid cartons, right, and no reasonable way to carry them beyond cradling them in the crooks of my arms, adjusting every few seconds as they continually slipped from my grasp. Hips were of little use; I was busy walking, and the bags were thin and irregular. I was terrified of tearing.

I got maybe a third of the way, and had to take a breather. Luckily my neighborhood is well-stooped, so from there I could rest every block or so, wipe away the sweat, try to get some feeling back into my deadened arms. No schedule; as long as I made it back, I was fine.

Way up often here on my street, I happen by this lady, out to garden at concrete or lug about great sacks with her gray hair and her elbows. Today she was down sweeping a concrete gully against the apartments—off and below the front steps where I panted and groaned. She tried gently to shoo me, till she learned I was resting. From there we moved to light patter—she aiming to keep her distance and most of her business, but with a certain ease.

It was nothing much, really; just me and this old lady, in social-distance nicety while she cleaned up a planter disaster. I couldn’t have been more than three, four minutes to gather myself. but it was nice. She was sweet. Distant, busy, yet compassionate. Just a little moment of human connection, you know, in all of this. I don’t get that often.

With my front door at my back, I just fucking crashed. I barely had it in me to put away the freezer and fridge things. Even now after a short nap I can barely lift my arms; it’s awful. I keep feeling tears streaming down my cheeks, from the sheer effort of moving—but that journey, and that respite, sort of confirmed my resolve to do something once we’re out of this whole nightmare. I want to make more contact. There are a lot of kind, sincere people out there, if you wait and listen for them and allow yourself to be a little vulnerable.

Sometimes all you need to do is share a stoop.

Passed Over

  • Reading time:1 mins read

I’ve spent months, off and on, searching for my passport. I’ve rent my apartment asunder. Today I found it. My passport was, and is, at eye level, thirty degrees from center, in front of the chair where I now sit. Two feet away from my face. Alone, obscured by nothing.

Well. Okay, then.

Slick Moves

  • Reading time:1 mins read

I just tore my pants and flesh, and twisted my knee. Thanks, sidewalk.

I think I’m most upset about the pants. The pain is annoying, but it’s overwhelmed by the nausea.

I wonder if the other kids ever called him “sissy-mouth”

  • Reading time:2 mins read

Here is something special.

No, it’s not porn.* What it is is amazing. I’ve sifted through half-a-dozen dozen tracks to assemble a reasonable album of Cambodia’s own Buddy Holly, Sinn Sisamouth. He is, to my understanding, perhaps the most well-known Cambodian pop musician, and representative of the swinging cultural era just before Pol Pot came into power and killed everyone. Including, eventually, Mr Sisamouth.

The quality is… shall we say variable, as is the volume level. That may only add to the charm, however.

In a bizarre bit of parallel development, Brandon Sheffield got turned onto 1960s Cambodian music at about the same time I did, through his own unrelated means. Not exactly the most obvious of tunnels to explore, so that was interesting company to find. And as with I, he had been largely ignorant of the Killing Fields, except as a movie title, until the music led him there. Yay, American education.

I’ve tested this compilation out in the coffee house around the corner, and it seemed to go over well, aside from the volume twiddling. Furthermore, James Harvey likes it. So that should tell you all you need to know.

*: My keyboard needs replacing; it only occasionally registers when I hit ctrl-c. So when I paste URLs, I have to be very careful that the URL I’m pasting is the URL I intended. I’ve been amazing a couple of my friends with increasingly embarrassing links, to the extent that I feel inclined to take a break from IM clients for a while…

EDIT: And if you like that album, here‘s a slightly less excellent yet still good follow-up.

Particulate Projection

  • Reading time:1 mins read

As I sat down, I sneezed. When I opened my eyes, the screen had turned to a starfield.

Song structure was still ahead of me, however.

  • Reading time:1 mins read

The day that I figured out how to use scissors, I remember wavering around the activity room in nursery school, singing to myself “I can cut / I can cut / I can cut…”, until I snipped an awkward gash in a medium stack of construction paper. A teacher admonished me, and presented me the paper. WELL IT’S YOURS NOW, she said. I was devastated. I didn’t want the paper, but… it was mine now.

Bean there; done that

  • Reading time:1 mins read

Every time I open the microwave to put in a frozen burrito, I look around for the little plates I use and can only find one of them. I wash the plate if needed, position the burrito on it, and open the microwave.

And there’s the other plate, with a half-cooked burrito on it.

This has happened three times since the weekend.