Thursday, October 4, 2007

Without a grey hair in my soul...

Things are different in the suburbs. You want to park your car? No problem, park your car. Suburbanites are calm--we lack the spunk to flamboyantly towel anything, let alone corvettes with diapers.

Just kidding, we're even more crazy and spunky, due to our high levels of repressed desire.

Today I go outside and sit in the sun. I read Miranda July's story "Mon Plaisir".

I sunbathe for 34 minutes.

I do this. I count my minutes sunbathing. I accrue them and list them in the little journal in my head which also holds the phone numbers of every house I've lived in as well as a tedious reprisal of the amounts of sit-ups and push-ups I have performed day in, day out, over the last three weeks.

I dislike this little weird part of my brain and I try to ignore its siren's call, but the call cannot be ignored. Trust me, I've tried. A few days ago, I intentionally neglected to think about push-ups and sit-ups. That very night I bolted out of bed with one searing thought in my head: September 27th, 120 push-ups, 80 sit-ups!

I say to my wife: You see, I'm mildly autistic!

She says: It's four am.

Anyway, I was sunbathing, and I have to tell you about what happens on a typical cul-de-sac, in a typical town, on a typical Thursday afternoon, from 1:15 pm to 1:49 pm.

Not much.

But still, more than I would have expected. First of all, there's the lady across the street. She zooms in, zooms out of her driveway in her stationwagon about three times.

What is she doing?

I imagine she's killing time. She's adopted two little Asian boys and they're now in school. She seems incredibly agitated without them around, almost as agitated as when they are around. This Sunday, for example, she zooms into the driveway. I'm sunbathing.

She screams: Oh my god, Oh my god! Are you OK?!! Are you OK?!!

She's slammed the door on one of her son's fingers. That little devil could care less. His only concern, I know, is noise. So he remains mute, which I assume he knows will provoke higher-pitched, more agitated screams from his mother. So she screams and her screams, I know, are pleas for my attention.

But I'm half-naked and sunbathing. I'm hung-over and reading Miranda July. What the hell do I care?

After a few minutes, the tender, patient husband comes out. He assesses the situation.

She says: Why did he have his hand where my door is, that's what I want to know.

Indeed. The screaming stops, though, and the cul-de-sac resumes its spooky, boring hum.

So that's Sunday and now it's Thursday. What does she do today? She zooms in, she zooms out. I see her in her car, her head nearly on-top of the steering wheel. I think: No way, she's not masturbating in there. No way.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting on the lawn, a young man, almost naked. We share a glance at each other. I don't know what she's thinking, but I know what I'm thinking: not in a million years do you show up in a sexual fantasy of mine.

Without a grey hair in my soul
Or a snip of senility's gentleness
Raiding the world with
Sheer force of voice I'm strutting
22 years old

That's what Mayakovsky says. I'm not saying that.

(In the Ambler school of Russian formalism, of which I am apparently the only member, nothing much happens.)

I just check my watch, count minutes.

This is how I distract myself from writing. This is my break. Without this time, I start to evaporate. I become pale. I lose my Vitamin D stores rapidly.

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