late rain world

The world was late today. I don’t know. I was late. But I wasn’t expecting the world to also be late. I had hoped for a leisurely ride in on mi bicicleta. Instead there were cars everywhere. An automotive horror show. Maybe it was the rain. Rain slows the world to a crawl. Like slow motion, creeping and crawling. Not me, though. I was pedaling quite rapidly, in fact. Bike commuting reminds me I am alive. Otherwise I might think I was a walking corpse. Or a dancing one. I’m skipping a meeting this morning. I don’t care. It empowers me. Robert Walser would skip it. Walser wouldn’t still be here seven years later, though. Walser wouldn’t have made it seven months. Seven weeks, maybe. More likely seven days. He’d be in his attic room writing his soul out on shreds of borrowed paper with a stolen pen. Oh, where is the rain crow. He migrated long ago. Now who will tell us when it is about to rain. I felt the cold rain on my face and knew I was alive. No more alive than last month or last week or yesterday, but alive nonetheless. 2013 dreams have been vivid so far. It’s like there is an arthouse revival series going on in my dream life. I’m liking it. There’s nothing else to report, I’m afraid. Raining, check. Biking, check. Reading Walser, check. No more rain crow, check. Not a corpse, check. Alive, check.

under the hood, or why employment sucks

I look at her and I think elven. I look at him and I think trollish. Can we agree to populate a new Middle Earth? A magical world beneath the earth’s crust but filled with yellow light and many moons, odd trees with moving limbs, fens and fields. I found the path, hidden in some words, beneath a curious pile of stones. It’s the wanting that matters, never the getting. The emptiness that follows never fills, so hollow, so immediately expected.

URGENT POSTSCRIPT: I started writing this, during a meeting, on my notepad beneath a drawing of a giant eye and a drawing of a unicorn that I labeled ‘uni-bull.’ The eye was labeled ‘the eye.’ After some time the unicorn grew spines on its back and a spiked battle flail for a tail; meanwhile, the eye took on an increasingly menacing look. The whole thing started when I noticed how one of my new coworkers looks remarkably elven and I began to imagine her ears growing to points up through her hair. See below for the Actual Page™. As you can see, the text has gone through some revisions since it first leaked from my pen. In the notes, ‘STP’ [sic] refers to the band Steel Pole Bath Tub, which formed in Bozeman, Montana. ‘Pig Latin’ is a reminder to myself to look up an online Pig Latin translator (for a private project), of which I found two: here and here.

Note: This post was composed during repeated listens to the unreleased Steel Pole Bath Tub track ‘Unlistenable 1’ available on the band’s website.

© 2012 S. D. Stewart

Important meeting notes

slug convention

The other night while out walking Farley I came upon a slug convention on the sidewalk. Needless to say I was delighted. There were three slugs in attendance, fanned out in positions facing each other. What were they discussing? Based on their relaxed posture, I theorized that this was more of a social gathering than a formal proceeding of one of their professional associations. Perhaps the slugs were reviewing their plans for the evening. Undoubtedly those plans would involve incessant oozing across the surface of my front porch, as evidenced by the many shiny crisscrossing trails present there each morning. Farley showed no interest in the slugs, likely due to their lack of movement. And even if they had been moving I suspect their slowness would’ve bored him. He has no appreciation for the subtleties of motion. The slug life is no life for him.

40 minutes over

Even before 11:30, I’m getting antsy.  I’ve been sitting imprisoned for an hour and a half, legs bouncing, hands restless, brain screaming.  Nothing to contribute, not much of personal relevance coming across the table to distract me.  Just listening to the others talk, and oh, do they love to talk.  The scheduled end comes and goes as everyone jockeys to get in the last word. “Well, I just have two points to make regarding what you just said.”  “Okay, I take your points and raise you three more!”  “Actually, I was thinking it would be more like this.”  “Oh, but what about this issue?”  More debate, more talking to hear themselves talk.  The temperature rises from all the hot air spewing out around spoken words.  Back and forth. Point, counterpoint.  I feel my skin tingling, my throat tightening.  I literally clamp my teeth shut to avoid screaming.  Several times I contemplate getting up and leaving, with nothing more than a mouthed “I have to go” to my boss.  Why not?  Would anyone really care?  Why was I even invited to this?  I have zero contributions to make.  I should be at my desk, doing arguably more important things.  [Of course, on a philosophical level, it’s quite difficult to determine what is of actual importance in this case.  On a personal level, were I to make a list, there would certainly be very little on it.  In fact, I really should be outside looking for warblers.]  For 40 more long minutes hope grows and dies over and over in the space of a few seconds as each person dispenses another useless nugget into the mix.  My stomach growls as the lunch hour approaches, then begins to pass.  Several of us gather our things to leave only to then replace them on the table with an air of resignation as we realize we were fooled yet again.  A guy on the phone speaks in a throaty warble…please clear your throat, please clear it, I don’t want to hear you struggle to talk through a clot of phlegm.  He finally tries to clear it, but the quaver rapidly returns.  Inside I kick and yell and curse with abandon. Outside I just look down at my notepad and outline the same words over and over and over until the black ink screams off the page. Finally, the end comes.  I can barely speak.  I am completely spent with nothing to show.  There’s another one scheduled in 50 minutes but I will blow it off.  There is only so much I can take.

if dante had worked here, there would be another circle of hell in the inferno

Today is meeting day at work.  Tuesday is always meeting day.  In my lexicon, meeting day is known as the Inferno.  We have an all-staff meeting, and then after only a 30-minute reprieve (Purgatorio), my section has its weekly meeting.  These section meetings are excruciating and often stretch their weedy tendrils into the lunch hour, so that near the end everyone has been stricken blind by the gnawing hunger in their bellies, and they begin to hallucinate that there are even more items to discuss on the agenda.  Nine times out of ten there is absolutely nothing on the agenda that relates directly to my work and so the torture is particularly poignant for me.  The boss man spews his oily drivel and we all flop around in it.  We drink down his bitter poison and smile through our gag reflexes, even as our insides melt away.  Then I go back to my desk and stare hollow-eyed at the computer until the end of the day.

On many of these days, the only moments I truly feel alive are those I spend biking to work.  Attention to my surroundings is crucial, as traffic is unpredictable and hazards abound.  At work, at my desk, my senses dull to a blunted finish.  I sit for hours, an empty husk, with glazed eyes and blank mind.  At the end of the day, I struggle to shake it off for the ride home.

Every day they dump new blazing coals upon us, and the greedy flames consume another chunk of our dignity.  As the fat sizzles, so do our ideals.

P.S.  Someone just told me that the staff meeting has been moved to Thursday.  Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel after all!

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