everyday banality presents the skagway connection

Out of my holding pattern, gone far away to yet another. Okay. Look: awaiting my flight in Portland I listened to two elderly men in suits discuss generic business things before segueing into talk of the cheap military sci-fi paperback one of them was holding. This guy with the book, he described with great relish the part where “this old master sergeant” runs out of bullets, but there are still aliens! “So he gets out is ka-bar knife and stabs one, and kills it! But there’s another, so he stabs it too! And it’s just a great moment Earl I’ll tell you!”

The book (he said) borrows a lot from Starship Troopers, which is of course a lot different from the movie. He was going into the borrowings when our flight was called and I was 😦

Near all this a woman with a stroller, and it takes about five minutes for me to notice that the stroller’s centerpiece is a mesh cube with a zip-top, and I notice because the woman lifts from the cube a toy poodle wearing a pink tutu w/ a silver-sequin spine. This woman will continues on with me from Seattle to Juneau, where my Uncle remarks on her in a way that suggests he didn’t notice my mentioning the very same person to my mother on the phone thirty seconds before. Three hours before, in Seattle, two people queue for the flight to Juneau whom I know will be in Skagway, and they appear again on the ferry the next day in the sixth hour when I finally wander forward to the observation lounge. One I don’t recognize in the airport, but I recognize the name of the Thai/Mexican restaurant on the hoodie she wears. The other I saw regularly at the grocery store, last summer, and she stood out in my mind because my coworker was a little obsessed with her.

It was my fault, maybe. She looked young and I know he likes that and I was bored. Bored and stuck with him for hours, I’d come back from break and mention that the underage-looking girl sure did receive money in exchange for my groceries and he would launch into the same two-minute monologue about her ass in those jeans and how we would see, we would, that she was of age, he swore he would be vindicated.

Eventually he learned her name and the fact that she was 22 but he still resented us for mentioning her corpse-pallor and her twelve year-old torso and the fact that we had seen her, across the street, entering and exiting the Mormon church. He wanted validation of his desire. He wanted validation of anything ever and we were just assholes (me doubly so for knowing what would happen the moment I made specific mention of anything female and of a certain age to him).

Yesterday, he arrives at the house and promptly shows me his phone wallpaper: a barely of-age Disney star (he assures me she was eighteen when the paparazzi snapped the photos) in a blue bikini that’s dating Justin Bieber and he would suck Bieber’s cock just to get close to her, just because it had been inside of her. He says he’s spent the last two months considering “why black people use the n-word”. He says they should abolish its use, make that one word illegal. He says, “it’s been 200 years since slavery get over it!”. I don’t correct his math but I ask him what that has to do with anything and he walls straight up, blinks, opens his mouth a few times before “But yeah! We just shouldn’t be saying it! If a cop is nearby and hears a black person say that word, he should arrest him!” This line of conversation dies to my unresponsiveness: I don’t want to know where this is coming from, and doubt he can deliver a semi-coherent explication re:anything if it’s not a stand-up comic’s routine, memorized.

A few minutes later, he holds out a stack of papers in a plastic cover. The top sheet printed with ENTER MY MIND over a color photograph of a human eye. He tells me it’s his poems, and some inspirational quotes. Would I like to read it? I’m wondering if the eye is his own. I beg off: this might not be a good idea, when I’m so tired. Who knows how terrible I will be to you, ha ha?

I remember him handing one of our coworkers, and a friend of hers who worked on the train, his green spiral-bound notebook of poems (scrawled on the front the same title). It was my second summer and I made some joke about the horrible consequences of me reading them while the girls said “oh they’re very nice no that’s fine you can take them back”. I remember picking up the same notebook over a year later, when he left it behind on the dock as I relieved him for break, and finding he had written perhaps two pages more in all that time. And yesterday I saw the notebook, on top of a box of his stuff on the coffee table, the wire binding undistorted after all this time.

He often asked me about my notebooks, and I’d tell him that they were just dumb bullshit and/or symptoms of unhealthy compulsion. Nothing worth talking about, but he would want to talk. He would tell me he felt Another Poem Coming On, that he needed to bike out to one of his favorite spots, his favorite Poetry Writing Spot, to Write His Poem. In his aimlessness, he tries to shape himself into a romantic image. He wants to be an Artist. When I replaced my Army Surplus Man Purse (home of the endless procession of almost identical dumb bullshit black notebooks*), he asked for the old one. I think I have become a model for him. I don’t know how.

He asked me to go get a beer but I was tired and my stomach was churning and I begged off.

So here I am. I’ve worked eight hours in three days and really could have arrived a week later than I did. So I watch torrented video and read and wonder why it feels different than it did a thousand miles ago. So I sit here and I type this which will go on a thumb drive I’ll trudge to the office and throw up on the internet, because it’s good to have goals even if they’re nakedly arbitrary. At least there’s only three more days alone with the Disney Channel.

btw Bored to Death season 2 the “buy a new insulin pump for my mom” joke reveals a fatal ignorance re:the cost of insulin pumps.

Also the grocery store is out of milk until the barge comes on Tuesday.

*dumb anime notebook????

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~ by ironcupshrug on 04/30/2011.

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