Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

Emily Dickinson, "A Book"

I spent a summer with you; should I want anything else?

My days living in this house are dwindling quickly. We have not renewed our lease and I will be homeless on the first of May. Well, not homeless. I'll be staying at my parent's house in the guest room like I have been doing during the week until I run off to Iceland.

I've enjoyed living here but I am quite ready to move on. Although my parent's house is not exactly moving on so much as moving back, but it's in line with my goal. Besides, I love my family. Well, Luis can be a real pain in the ass sometimes and my mother and I have different child-rearing philosophies, but that's the extent of the conflict. Heh, I win every argument with her by pointing out that she raised me and look how I turned out.

Perhaps I'm not exactly "winning" the argument but it certainly ends it.

I hate having so much stuff. I've gotten rid of much of it. Want to keep minimal clothing. Minimal footwear. Trying to get away with no furniture. I have a lotta books.

Lotta books.

It's odd not having...things. Possessions provide reference points to the rest of life. I suspect that shouldn't be the case. My ideal goal is naked and fearless, but there are social mores and heating issues to consider. Perhaps a loincloth of some kind?

I don't know why I'm talking about this.

There is much to muse about but when in doubt, loincloths I say, loincloths.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Gurg and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I fixed my right rear turn signal. After spending quite some time checking fuses, plugging and unplugging wires, and wiggling a lot of other electronicky looking stuff, I gave up and started smacking the light. After a few whacks it began blinking steadily.

I was pleased. I also made a note of which wires I should pull out to kill all my lights should I ever need to operate the bike in "stealth mode." Most modern vehicles infuriate me in that they automatically turn on running lights and brake lights. Not designed for the day-to-day and night-to-night mischief maker.

My license plate also came in the mail. It is customized to say "GURG". It was a toss-up between that and "ITS 42". I do not yet know if I made the right choice.

It feels odd to be completely legal now. I had ordered my plates in January and I never received them. I also ordered a replacement and didn't receive that. But "GURG" showed up eventually, acting like it was right on time. GURG always does.

Motorcycling has expanded my perspective. I'm not protected from the elements; I'm right out in the thick of things. I feel which way the wind is blowing, if the air is dusty, the sun on my back. I hear everything. The roars and whines of engines, tires purring along the asphalt, people laughing or singing along with their radios.

As I ride with traffic, I feel the other vehicles. It feels more like swimming. I imagine I'm some super-fast cyborg Mexican dolphin-boy swimming furiously along the floor of a sunken city in a polluted, futuristic ocean.

Semi-trailers are like the whales. I can hang out just behind them and ride in their wake. There is also a nice little pocket just at their back corners, an invisible swirling that seems to tug me along.

Most cars behave like schools of fish, always clumping together, speeding up and slowing down almost in unison.

Scooters are like the little retarded manatee that you try to be nice to but fervently hope it doesn't try to be your friend because it's really annoying.

Hummers are like sharks. Big, dumb, Hollywood movie sharks. I go out of my way to pester them, cutting them off when we're the only two vehicles around, making stupid faces at their tinted windows, and waggling at them (shifting my weight rapidly from side to side to lean the bike.) They are the only vehicles I harass because I retain a bit of elitism from my bygone days of driving Army Humvees and because I know that most people will find it socially acceptable. I will not bother any Hummer that appears to have been off-roading. Or I won't, if I ever see one.

In the vastness of the concrete ocean there are other cybernetic dolphins from unknown pods. I wave a glove/flipper at them as we pass each other. Often they wave back. Cruisers and choppers ignore me about half the time. Many don't care for my street-bike styling. I have yet to get a friendly response from anyone riding one of those decked-out touring bikes. Maybe they are too busy watching DVD's in their dashboard or something.

Scooters are pretty slow on the draw. I may be the only motorcyclist who has ever waved at them, or more likely if they take a hand off the handles the scooter will flip over and toss them awkwardly onto their satchels.

I really don't understand scooters. So much more dangerous than motorcycles. Much like my retarded manatee simile, they're Nature's speedbumps. They can probably spot danger okay, but they have no chance of maneuvering out of the way.

I bet manatees flip over if they try to turn too suddenly.

Ah yes, the police. They are like...priests. Their authority comes from a bunch of paper I don't believe in and you can usually lose their helicopters by riding through the airport.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The old places do little but grow older. Stuck as they are in stucco and fading pink tiles, time does not lend them majesty. Each season is another curling flake of paint, another molding patch on the ceiling, another reason to apologize. Sweat streaks clean paths on dusty faces. We enter the old places and shake like showered puppies, our teeth flash white and strong as we grin at each other. Mugs of glass still opaque with frost from the freezer fill with drink. We grin and toast the sun for setting yet again, we toast each other, and we toast the old places for suffering our kind for another blood-warm evening.

2. In heartless moments I seek completion. In moments loving I seek atonement. All the other moments I spend seeking the exact point where I end and something else, anything else, begins.

On good days there is a fuzziness to my features, like frayed silk or fat fluffs of unpicked cotton.
Other days my borders are strong; thickly outlined. Sounds are muted. Even air must struggle through.