written by gina m
It was just now that i remembered the sensation. Boxed up in the light blue front seat of the nineteen eighty-something Ford Taurus as it pulled up along side the battered parking meter closest to the corner. I hadn’t put my shoes on, and so i was out of the car on the balls of my feet and the tips of my toes nimbly sidestepping broken pavement and glass as my grandfather glowered at me from behind the windshield. I would just be a minute, though. I just needed to run inside to grab my G.I. Joes so that when we went back to his house i would have something to do other than talk to him, or my grandmother, or anyone. And, i would be fast, cringing at the coating of city grime that was slowly adhering to my heels as i neared my front steps.
My grandfather was never much of a driver that i remember – between his failing vision and his advancing bipolar disorder he wasn’t quite cut out for traffic. But, that day i somehow convinced him to start up the car and drive to my house. Children have short sight like that: one day my grandfather was lucid, happy, and amenable enough to drive me somewhere and i just wanted some toys to play with. Every time my mother mentions that he was overseas in the war or reminds me of how he lost half of his finger while doing janitorial work so that she could go to Catholic school my memory of him flickers off of the cartoonish and frightening man he was half the time, and off of the feeble thing he was in the nursing home. The image i see, ever so shortly, is the one that is framed on top of my grandmother’s television in Florida. Their wedding picture. Sometimes looking at it makes me very afraid, because they could look so absolutely happy together over fifty years ago without suspecting that any of this would happen … a war, a daughter, a sickness, and a grandson who just wanted his action figures so that he wouldn’t have to hear about any of it.
It took me a minute of thinking, but the last time i saw my father was while i was in the hospital last year. I’m not even sure he knows that i had surgery last month. The last time i saw my mother was a few weeks ago, i suppose. And i haven’t seen this little white box for eight days now.
Is time harder to measure than your heart?
And, now, for another episode of Writer’s Block Theatre.
When we last left our hero, he was awaiting a response to his record reviews with bated breath. Would he finally get to write for an honest to goodness newspaper? We pick up shortly after Peter receives the paper’s reply as we fade up from black. Though he was initially joyous at their friendly invitation of “Welcome Aboard,” over the course of the day he realizes that the congratulatory email has delivered him the worst possible news – his new editor is more interested in what he feels about records than what he thinks, and is hopeful that he will revise his reviews to this effect.
Peter stammers as he recoils in fright from this newly transformed message. “But… but… feelings are the root of all bad record reviews!,” he exclaims as he slowly backs away from the screen. “I’ve spent years detaching myself from new records so i can offer tidy unbiased opinions of them. Saying that any record i own by someone other than Ani or Tori makes me feel anything is an utter lie! I’ve reduced reviewing music to science!”
“Is that so?”
A voice rises from behind him; Peter whirls as though he’s being confronted by another of his worst fears only to find Amy sitting on his guitar amp nonchalantly leafing through a Rolling Stone. He opens his mouth to speak, but she silences him with a wilting glance.
“How you feel will influence anything you write, Peter, so you can just come down from the damned pedestal and write with some feeling for the benefit of all of us people who don’t consider each cd purchase a new child.”
Temporarily ignoring the implication that he would feel the need to be scientifically detached from all of his children so that none would feel more liked than the next, Peter madly gestures back towards the screen. “But, Aim, feelings? Why should someone buy a record based on how i feel? They don’t even know me!.”
Amy fixes Peter with a cool glare from over a two-page spread of Ewan McGregor. “Peter, are they really compromising your journalistic morals here, or is it a possibility that you’re so excited about this job that you just have cold feet.”
Peter’s only reply is silence.
“Erm… possibly mildly chilled feet.”
Amy nods to herself. “Just as i thought,” her face is buried in the magazine before the next sentence escapes her lips, “now get to writing.”
His moral quandary solved by the quick wit of his friend, Peter is again faced with the computer screen — now sinisterly blank white as it awaits his feelings about the Wilco record. Slowly, he approaches the keyboard.
(Cut to black, commercial airs while Peter frantically tries to decide if he honestly feels anything about Yankee Foxtrot Hotel)
Trio: Season 2, #15
Icy Cold, Old Apartment (BNL), This Tiny Trouble
They are cutting down trees with an official sanction, six orange trucks lined up nose to tail down the bike line of my street. The men are in jumpsuits, matching, carrying chainsaws and hackblades and wearing tinny little hats. They spoke to me, one of the identically suited men, asked me “Is your car parked on this street, sir?” They couldn’t begin their chopping because none of us had headed the warning, he said, that we weren’t supposed to park here today. I just smiled and said that i don’t drive, though i was inwardly thinking “No, i will not move it. I like the trees just how they are.”
Silly electric company with their flimsy power lines … can’t stand up to some branches and leaves.