The Things of Living

Toothpaste, papers, laundry, oil changes, Con Ed notices, buying socks, sweeping floors, paying bills, setting alarm clocks, tying shoes, updating a drivers license, reading food labels, getting shots, millions of advertisements burned across your vision. These are the “things” of life. They eat patience and energy and attention. They are eternal in a lifetime. They are largely meaningless. Menial, mundane tasks and items that get in the way of living, that are life itself.

“I never thought this would be past,” has come to mind times too numerous to mention, while listening to a song (today it was Pavement’s “Shoot the Singer,” which, when we heard it, felt so far ahead of yesterday that no today could catch up, much less pass that moment) or re-being in a certain state of existence newly discovered to be temporary (sitting on a sofa on Madison Street watching my cat Danny – or Dani, gender ending felion/ess s/he/he/she was – jump sky high with no forewarning while summer turned old outside comes to me now). This is just only another thing: the time spent comprehending time, which I have heretofore resisted as just a human construct, granted unjustified weight and reverence and attention. The reality of no longer being (other than via vicarious memory building) in a given moment, however, and being whisked through moments piled on as years, has become increasingly undeniable to me. But, time, too is just another thing. Other than astounding us with its sphinx mysteries, turn this rubix cube around and there is no breathing shining gem of life pending revelation in any of its sides or contortions. It is a distraction and tool not much different or more or less useful than toothpaste or socks.

So what is there? A walk in the rain at 7:00 when the streets are largely empty, and faith in the shuffle function of technology pays off, and each word was written, specific and painstaked like veins on the backsides of leaves. This, and spurts of joy in appreciating another being, animal plant or human. The understanding of what effort it takes to plate a little kindness, and the wild flush rush feeling of being a guest at the table.

Here’s to you, and your kindnesses.

And here’s to my iPod, that always knows what to play. On my quick jaunt out to drop off dry cleaning and pick up a bottle of white for dinner, tonight’s set went something like this, while the rain danced in harmony above me.

Sorry to lose Donna Summer this week.  She was a regular voice in my house growing up.

Nice of Erica Wheeler to visit me through the headphones tonight.  When I was a law student in Madison, she stayed at my place when she went through touring.  She asked me later what the big books were for.  It only occurred to me then I’d never mentioned I was not a full time music junkie but also did some other stuff, like study, on the side.  I didn’t know what she was up to now but I’m glad this post brought me to it.  Check out her site.  I like the idea – reconnecting to place.

The only real downside to iPod on shuffle mode is that if you witness something like I did tonight — where the songs perfectly align with your mind and, even more, jump in the dialogue with swift and deft precision — and you want to save it to recount the unparalleled synchronicity of your thoughts with the so called random selections, be careful which way you spin the touch pad.  I tried to just pause it but the songs disappeared, shuffled back into the 7,000+ songs on rotation.  The last song I was going to share with you was a Bob Dylan one that I don’t hear often.  From the sound of it, I figured it was on Love & Theft or Modern Times.  I’ve been through both and haven’t been able to find for certain the song I was hearing earlier.  I am thinking now it just may be that you never can hear a song again the same way.  Either way, every song on Modern Times (esp. Spirit onAnd now I’ve just learned today is his birthday. Happy birthday, Mr. Dylan.  (I’m particularly fond of this one and the articulation of sounds/words in the foreign tongue) (this is my favorite — Bob Dylan singing, Charlie Chaplin playing)