Don’t Give Me No TTC Blues

The other great thing about riding public transportation is you just plain get exposed to things. Even if you don’t like some of those things, or even if some of those things are nothing but boring, is still a boatload better than not getting exposed to things. Human beings, how they dress, do their hair; the conversations, the delays and the reasons for them; the advertisements. Yes, even the advertisements. (I once saw a comedy show because of a poster I saw in a subway. It was a quality show; entertaining and smart with lots of laughs.) But the thing I mean to mention of all the things you are exposed to riding public transportation is the books people read. 

It stands out because half the nation is passing their idle time, valuable reading time as I see it, by playing Candy Crush and not by reading. It’s a rather sad state of affairs and though my inspirations to write are nearly never complaint or lament driven, I did feel compelled to complain and lament about this before, near a year ago, when I had just sold my car and first started riding public transportation regularly. Let me take this opportunity to state that I have never regretted this change from owning a car to depending on public transportation, not even for a moment. One of the best, smartest, decisions I’ve ever taken, actually. 
So this morning there was a gentleman on the subway who immediately struck me as quite a lot resembling Steve Carrell and perhaps it was the fact that his nose was thus likewise a bit long and pointed that, quite like the saying, it actually looked as though it were buried in his book. He was engrossed. I careened my neck and noted the title and author: Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris. I googled it. A satire of the American workplace during a downturn in business just after the nineties’ Internet boom. Sounded like something I’d like. I added it to my list. 
At first, near a year ago, as I said, I’d been keeping track and count of all the books I was now able to read instead of being stuck behind the wheel. In the first two months alone, I still boast to people, I read thirteen novels. Thirteen! But then much like Ecstasy in the nineties, I could no longer keep track. (You see, in the back of my book « Dance, Trance and Transformation » I’d started a little list noting the date, the name of the rave, and the name of the E I’d taken. It’s fun to look back on.)
I went to BMV that evening and found the book and read the synopsis and flipped through the pages and decided the book was not at all for me. I did leave, however, with three other new books, one of which is Justine by the Marquis de Sade. I’d been looking for that one. 
Another day…
Yesterday on the way home from work I caught glimpse of another man likewise engrossed in a book he was reading. « Godel, Escher, Bach » is the title. I will have a look for it and who knows? In the meantime, I am reading The Complete Short Stories of Truman Capote, relaxing with a coffee, checking out a cute, young construction worker also on his way to work, and patting myself on the back while some kind stranger chauffeurs me to work. 
Stimuli equals thinking. Leave early, welcome delays, smile while the robots stress. 
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Cats and Dogs and Cows

Just sitting here watching the rain. The people in the rain with no umbrellas and black umbrellas and half-broken deformed umbrellas. One time in Manhattan after a rain the streets were absolutely covered with abandoned, broken umbrellas. Most of them black. It looked like it had rained umbrellas! All the trash cans, too, were stuffed and overflowing with these broken umbrellas. It was quite a sight. 

He said he saw cows lying down today and that is a sign of coming rain. I didn’t know that. Nor have I ever seen a lying-down cow. However I have been bitten on the shoulder by a baby horse. No teeth yet, lucky me. I was just a little kid. It was in Québec. 
Once you’re soaked, you’re free. I said that. It was his birthday, we were down by the lake. Years ago. The wind picked up rather suddenly. The sky darkened. There was no one around, at all, like in some spooky movie. Then a man appeared with his dog. He told us, « There’s a big storm coming. » Then he was gone, too. Then the storm came, hard and heavy. We ran, but it was useless. So we walked and laughed and that’s when I said it. Later I described the experience as baptismal. 
I won’t mention what restaurant I’m sitting in, watching the rain, but I’ve just noticed a man in the corner, talking to thin air and sobbing. Maybe he’s breaking up with his imaginary girlfriend like Lars did on that movie and he’s going to suddenly not be crazy anymore. Imagine life were like that. 
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Girl versus demons

Days like this, it’s much too difficult to concentrate on reading a book. Even Capote. It’s a beautiful Spring day, and very late arriving. I just keep looking about, eyes a bit glazed, soul a bit dazed, intensely content and calm. Eight degrees. Jacket on, a bit too warm. Jacket off, a bit chilly. That kind of day. A day of change.

I’m seated with a glass of red on the patio of Valentina in Kensington. It’s true I spend a lot of time alone but only rarely am I lonely. That is both very true and not wholly true. I’m happy but someone seated beside me would also be quite nice. 
It was a long, cold winter. Things were done, decisions were made, time was passed in necessary ways. Now the sun is shining and the winter’s wrath arrested. 
Now nearly one and nine, in the afternoon and degrees, respectively. Jacket’s off. 
Gloves, too. 
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Do Make Say Don’t Think

Sunday morning, I leave the house, I check, it’s ten oh six. Random, numbers, to which we seek to assign significance (not in this case) or is it that we search for meaning? No definite destination in mind, but I’m thinking Kensington. I want to be around humans but a specific type of human that won’t annoy me. I probably shouldn’t go to Kensington, then. But it’s the same everywhere. It’s all contrived. Gawd I sound miserable.

It’s true, I’ve woken in a strange mood. Is it the long weekend, too much time alone? Is it the surprisingly thought-provoking film I saw last night? The very ironic company kept me for it? Is it just another curve in the never-ending, uncontrollable often inexplicable roller coaster of life; no reason for this mood? Hormones? This snow in April, for crying out loud? It is any or all or one or none of these things so just life and thus nothing to dwell on or to try to get to the bottom of?
The film was « While We’re Young. » As I said, every now and then Hollywood makes a movie I like. I loved it. Anything that makes you think. Even if the thoughts turn endlessly like a spiral and are akin to asking, « What is the meaning of life? » The cursed, the blessed human condition. The fact that this condition exists brings us round to that same question again. 
The summers in Paris, for example. Diversion or fulfillment? Anyway the questions are exhausting me and the place is filling up and the snow is falling down and I think I’ll just go follow my big toes down the sidewalk.  So yes, there is some genius in me. 
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No different

Was that you on the subway this morning? I was standing on the platform and when the train rolled in. I thought I saw you near the front. I boarded and began to walk up the train to see if it was you. I envisioned myself acting mischievously casual, sitting down beside you and saying, « Good morning, sir, » as though I see you all the time, as though I was simply a friendly stranger, as though it hasn’t been years upon years, too long. It would have been a nice moment!

I began to walk up the train, to see if it was you, but then saw an empty bank of three seats, a truly rare find on the morning commute. I sat down. I scrambled wit my telephone to send you a text before we went back underground and had no signal. « Are you on the subway? » I sent this in time. No response. Back underground, no signal. I picked up my book and read comfortably sprawled in my bank of three seats. 

The government is proposing policy that will infringe upon our privacy rights. The city is paving over the park to build another mall. The university is raising tuition. We sign an online petition and go on with our day, feeling good about having done our part. 
I lament that I do not feel aligned with the society into which I have been born. I don’t walk the length of a subway train to say hello to an old friend, gambling on the chance they it probably wasn’t him. 
The online petition failed, the years continue to accumulate, all is as it has been. 
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Self-Talk of a Potential Line Jumper

Of course, it doesn’t begin the way you choose. You’re born into some city, into some family, into some genetic pre-disposition. You accept the language, the lessons, the routines of your surroundings. You don’t accept it. It just is. It’s subconscious. And if you stay here, live this way, without taking a good look around, without seeing where you are and how things are done, without giving thought to what it all means, what’s important; if you live robotically, why, how could, the end be any different than a damn straight line? Straight as a razor’s edge to your jugular, dear. Understand? You ask: Can I choose, if not at least partly, the direction, ultimately how this life will end? The answer is yes. It takes realizing you have the choice, love. Do you realize you have a say? That you have one life and owe them nothing and there are other ways? Wake up, sleepy head. There is time left yet. 

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Leaky Faucet

I am the enemy, not him. This is always my conclusion. This is unfair. To me. This is too narrow. Now it is not the conclusion but only my first reflection. Then I am nicer, more objective, more fair. To me. To truthfulness.

I waited until I was resentful before I brought it up. This made it less than favourable to commit energy toward fixing. This I easily concede. I was, at least, in parts, at times, passive-aggressive, antagonistic, accusatory, negative, already gone. I could have lovingly stated what I needed to go forward. Together. With him. I didn’t. So I won’t know if it was the issue itself or my poor address of it that was the catalyst of our demise. I know that I can’t always be graceful and pleasant and fun to be around. I am a writer of many drafts before the heart-melting poem! I know that I have forgiven and stayed. I know that it hurts to read ‘so long’ through a mere note.

I heard the dripping tap. I made him listen and then he heard it, too. Perhaps more loudly and unforgivably than me. I rambled, as he said, about its noise and the slowly-filling basin and the water bill and the impending flood. Yes. That was me. Perhaps he inferred it was best to let the ship sink, then. That this was what I was saying. I didn’t say that. He did. I feel cheated out of my get-out-of-jail-free card, of old-fashioned notions of staying, trying, effort. Of enduring the ugly parts. Of empathy. Of forgiveness.

The giver of the writing assignment on love, conflict and joy jumped ship! The tap still drips. I hear it alone. So what is conflict, then? In this case, conflict is a cold and convenient good-bye.


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