Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good sleeping weather

My old man called it "good sleeping weather" when summer nighttime temperatures fell below seventy and the New York humidity blew out to sea. Open the windows facing west and let the breeze do the rest. You sleep so hard the wrinkles on the pillow case impress themselves on your cheek. When you get up to take a leak, a puffy dragon stares out of the mirror back at you. You think to yourself, god when am I gonna get my old face back? But you never get exactly the same face back: the flesh rides time's arrow in one direction only, poot. Someday you and your wrinkles are gonna be one and the same.

Good sleeping weather works better than liquor if you wanna pull a Rip Van Winkle and snore through the revolution. The waking world is such a turn-off these days. The politics of it, polluted by money, makes me sick to my stomach. Effin acid. And not just the politics. The way my generation squandered its good fortune. That too makes me sick. We had it all, everything we could want -- food, sex, music, recreational drugs. But it wasn't enough and now we are settling into senescence and our kids' and grand-kids' prospects are looking bleak and bleaker. I can imagine them saying, look at these fat gray-haired geezers lolling about. When are they going to die so we can get our fair share of the pot?

When everyone is thrown back onto their own resources, you see how effin limited those resources are, and how unprepared people are to live meaningful lives without a societal structure to support them. A bunch of savages dancing around the trash-heaps of northern New Jersey is not democracy, poot. Neither is a sweepstakes to win a dinner with his holiness el Presidente. That's effin commerce.

I look around and see the old ones sitting in their wheelchairs out on the lawn, having achieved the longevity of tortoises, if not the wisdom, now with nothing to do except stare at some fixed point in the surrounding wood as it closes in on 'em. And I see the young ones looking at the old ones thinking to themselves, holy shite, is that all there is to this business of living? Getting wheeled over to a picnic table set with plastic utensils and paper plates? And little mounds of soft white noodle salad? And an effin bib so you don't splatter it all over yourself?

In the light air I get drowsy. But I'm not asleep just yet so I get up and head down to the pier to watch my fellow citizens array themselves on the grass. It looks like a colony of sea lions. Dogs run around wagging their tails and their tongues. If only people treated the poor and homeless the way they treat their effin dogs. Out on the river a thirty-footer is tacking into the northwesterly breeze as it heads up toward Bear Mountain and West Point. Ferries go back and forth between 39th Street and Weehawken carrying tourists and commuters alike. The edge of the city is full of life, like an anthill or a beehive. No matter how much my body wants to, I can't sleep through it. I don't want to miss anything -- kids on their skateboards and scooters, old-timers tossing a frisbee, young couples dancing barefoot to music only they can hear. Even the ghosts here are benign.

I think to myself, it's only because the world renews itself daily that it seems to stay the same. Otherwise life would be unbearable. Gimme an effin faceful of cold watermelon or an ice-cream cone with sprinkles. Gimme Leaves of Grass. No...let's dispense with metaphors and revel in sheer creaturehood. Let's stay awake while we can.

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