Thursday, March 19, 2009

The play's the thing

Gray wet morning but it's finally warmin up. I can smell the earth and the water and imagine life stirring beneath the surface of things. Effin crook-back Kierkegaard said he preferred autumn to spring because in autumn one looks up toward heaven whereas in spring one looks down to the earth. I think to myself, he must've been nuts. Worms, moles, and silverfish, these are my kin. Spiders, mice, muskrats. Not imaginary angels flittin about overhead. Only angels I've met have been flesh and blood.

Stretch, cough up some phlegm. Maybe I'm finally over this late winter cold that's been clawin at my lungs the last couple of weeks. Quist used to say, "It's a fine line between health and sickness -- sometimes it's just a matter of attitude. You feel good, you're dealin with a stuffy nose. You feel lousy, you start thinkin pneumonia." Sedentary Quist never complained about his health. "Just gimme a drink and a pipe and let me dream. Who said we're supposed to live forever?"

I'm makin my coffee strong, still lookin to find a rhythm to my days. Gotta fight this anxious tedium. You get laid off and it's like you stepped onto a stage trapdoor. Whoosh! -- all of a sudden you fall into the dark but the play is still goin on over your head. So you head to the dressin room, clean out your crap, and head home. Make lists of projects. Write e-mails. Take phone calls. Chop wood. Level the birdbath, replace the weather stripping around the slidin doors. Most days it's okay. But sometimes you wake up in blackness. You think, shoot, that effin play is still goin on without me. Former colleagues are still chewin on the scenery while tryin to remember their lines. Meanwhile you're out walkin in the woods gettin ready to audition for a new role. The squirrels and chickadees think you're just talkin to yourself.

I remember when Quist said, "Yesterday was the first day of the rest of my life and I blew it." He cackled and wheezed and turned red as a beet. "But today, poot, today I'm gonna grab the ring. You just watch." That was years ago. Ring's still there.

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