flame-broiled unicorn and dragon drenched in awesome sauce
I am not the writer in our house; my partner is. Nevertheless, from time to time I find myself writing a bit of flash fiction or even poetry and vignettes in a series I call The Sparrow Story.
I truly have no pretensions around the craft of the written word at either a sentence or paragraph level, let alone at something as grandiose as stitching all of that together into a written story. Can you imagine all those words to write? Crazy!
Nevertheless, given my obvious insanity and lack of sense of my limits, I do have aspirations of someday producing a written story or two that may not be a complete waste of another human being’s time to read.
Here this morning under the dying Autumn sun the bus rocks over gravel slick roads and fluorescents flash steadfastly over the slated cherry slumbering eyes all while a metal bird chirps excitedly to the rear. We call this something. A life. A routine. A ritual. An exit. I wish I could tell my child this is all right. But how come? Everybody is on a shoestring, hamstrung into a bus where we grit our way no different than those that once creaked and cracked and broke on once our ironic laden rennaisainced oceans. How come? Can you tell me the difference between this world and a death wrought on flowery treachery of servitude? It matters little this that answer, the key to that lock-in-step thought is nothing next to this: that I am already free to think as simply as I breath and to embrace as humbly as I may even as this day that cools under the shade of this our modernity also warms contentedly to this the beat of our unimagined and simply real humanity.
And if you still cannot get off at the next stop then listen carefully to that tin brittle bird in the back because it is no bird as much as it is the creak and the grind of metal on metal, the scrape against casing that bullets you down to the dry well upside and inside out in Murakami form. Time to get up and get out. And remember your time now is no more than a monkey face and some wrinkles done beautifully under a mop of gorgeous hair. Smile.
For those in the know Seabeck Highway is where it is all at; it comes out of Bremerton and moves deeper into the Olympic Peninsula where you cut west and south after getting past Highway 3, which runs north to Poulsbo and Kingston, to find yourself glad to have skipped the prosaic ironies of Hempfest in exchange for nature’s own high, dude. While at times a seemingly innocent, even blasé, cruise through country suburbia, one but needs to keep their eyes a bit to the west to find oneself staring up into those kitten-adorable eyes that are the snowy crags of the Olympics. Some names hold little mystery in and of themselves and there is no better evidence for this than Scenic Beach State Park, but even the snarky and occasional jaded me cannot but say that is a most aptly christened piece of land. And if you go by without stopping then you are, well, a stoopid [sic] poopy head. Once at the park, I took it upon myself to lay on the stony beach for a few hours while watching the Sun arcs its way toward setting behind the mountains on the other side of the Puget Sound all while the tide slowly marched toward me feet. And it really just does not get much better than that, dude.
It is a good thing to sometimes remind oneself what is only 30-minutes-and-seven-dollars-and-change away from downtown Seattle: today I walked onto a ferry bound for Bainbridge Island. For those not in the know, Bainbridge Island sits off of the Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle where it is home to those lucky few who find themselves able to afford the greatly gentrified farmland of grass fed cattle and beyond-organically raised produce nestled between the pungent sea smell of the Puget Sound and etched into purple hammered skies of sunsets that is the Olympic mountains.
But not all is well in this Pacific NorthWest version of a French becolic scene; danger lurks just below the surface. A danger more Oregon and less French resides here. There is a very real and very likely chance you will die in Bainbridge Island. This death awaits anyone foolish enough to venture onto the typhoid-fever-cholera-measles-snakebite-dysentery ridden trail that is the Bainbridge Island shoreline trail, fully marked off with a sign that includes a rather misleading and jiffy pair of hardy backpackers who are blissfully unawares that their 50-lbs of REI-bought and professionally certified equipment will not protect them from what surely will soon become their and your death, too. Do not tempt this trek but leave it to those who have Himalayan fortified hearts ready to handle the long and arduous 1.5 miles of treacherous trail full of turn-outs onto nausea inducing vistas of gently rocking moored offshore sailboats and blue herons waiting in deafening croning ambush along weather-grey stained docks and greener than the greenest green green algae lain over little bits of life waiting between tides. Yes, I am sure you agree: you should leave Bainbridge Island and its terrors to experts such as myself. And if on my next foray there know that if I do not return that I love you all and that I died doing what I love most.
There are times when even I must wonder about my own self and the security of my sanity in a world that to me seems best described as more wonderful imagined in the boundless confines of my cerebellum than in the infinite variety of reality. To wit:
A week or so ago I was on one of my morning runs when I saw a bit of poster with the words “FOUND!” and a picture of handsome chap of a dog with a telephone number prominently listed below it. Now you dear reader, I will presume, may already have digested this chunk of information and come forth with in no haste but to a rock solid and irreconcilably logical conclusion that I will shortly reveal I sailed right past. I thought then at that moment how excited the child must have been to have finally had their best furry friend back that they then proceeded to replace all their LOST! posters with FOUND! posters. And more so, they even left a telephone number so citizens such as myself might call them up to congratulate them and tell them how grand it is indeed to have found what was once lost. And dear reader, and you are ever so dear are you not since you are indeed reading my blog, do not fret as I did not call said child, but if I had I would have shared with them my excitement for their reunion even while I thought to learn them a bit about how others might perceive them as off their rocker in sharing in such a public and indiscriminate a manner and even though I find such actions completely defensible in a manner reserved for universal logics and other such truths. In a word, I would have called them up because they are, to me, a child after my own heart.
Forward to two days back when I saw a similar poster along GreenLake. But this time I turned to my friend and mentioned that it was the second such poster I had seen. And of course, in the intervening days since my first encounter I still felt oddly compelled to call them to congratulate them even though I felt admittedly awkward to do so. More over, my only additional thought from the first encounter was that these posters were not for me but for all those other dog lovers who they feared would continue to fret about a wayward pet and wished to inform them that they could now rest assured that all was well. Alas my friend, who it seems is a more mature and worldly person than I, informed me that such posters were put up by people who had found a lost pet and not by an owner who had been since been reunited with a lost pet. Not till then had I seen into the mirror and realized there was another side, a juxtaposition of sorts of two roles. To my mind it is such a subtle thing. Both are finders. One is celebrating the reunion. One is trying to evince a reunion by leaving their phone number. Sublimely deviated really are they not?
It is on days like this when my world seems so different than everyone else’s. And the next thing I know people will tell their sky is really blue and clouds truly white, not the pin-striped skies and polka-dot clouds that I see. In some ways I might learn to acquiesce myself of this view of the world but only as long as stop signs continue to taste like hot cinnamon firebomb candy balls.
Today was one of those days. You would think that maybe the gods would have let me pass unfettered, but sadly they seemed to have thought I needed to learn of hubris when they locked me into a porta-potty. Yes. Porta. Potty. Of the kind that is permanently placed at a certain trailhead off exit 45 on I-90 and named, ironically enough, for an Ira Spring, an avid photographer, who single-handedly helped to put trails in Washington quite literally on the map. I do not think it was Ira’s intent that I get locked into a porta-potty but nonetheless I did. There were some folks on the outside kind enough to state the obvious by quipping, “I am glad it is not me” as if me or anyone anywhere in this world is interested and frankly jonesing [sic] to get a few hours or even minutes locked away in a porta-potty with a large tank of human “remains” with only a crappy plastic toilet and hole in the floor to separate them. Thanks, whoever-you-were. But my favorite “helping elf” may have been the thankless bravado of one person who told my friend to “get out of the way and I will show how it is done” and then proceeded to basically shake with delusional veracity the crap out of the door for 30 seconds. I was impressed. Truly and deeply. At some point my friend and I thought to try and use credit cards to get the door latch to open. But credit cards were too big. But not too big, and ironic as it is, was my GameStop membership card that fit perfectly into the latch: so goes my video-gamer cred.
Epilogue. Yes, just as I freed myself and as obvious as it was to everyone that I had just emerged from the porta-potty after being trapped inside, the wife of ever-so-manly-and-shake-it-till-it-opens-stuck-porta-potty-man went inside. Yes; she entered the porta-potty, and as only fate can have it, closed it behind her. And like every good samaritan, after I kindly but firmly got her husband from shaking the door with his still delusional veracity, I slid my GameStop membership under the door and explained to her what to do.