first time i left my cat, noci, alone and went out of town he was probably only a month old, max.
when i got back he had clawed and chewed everything he could get his little paws on, most especially my poster of SBC park, which i found bit, shredded, and dangling by a fiber from a single tack.
but the majority of the poster was intact, so i pinned it up again, and chalked the incident up to a fussy kitten.
the second time i left noci home alone i returned to find he had not made such a mess as before, but again the SBC park poster had been accosted. this time rendering it beyond classification as “battle wounded”, “survivor”, or “it’s got character”.
i took it down, and tucked it into my bookshelf, thinking i might crop out the center and at least salvage some bit of it later.
about a week ago, noci was having some digestive issues, and he didn’t seem too interested in getting all the way to the litter box to deal with them.
he seemed to just want to tuck himself away in some nook and be miserable.
he managed to get himself curled up on the aforementioned poster, and it wasn’t long before i heard plopping and smelled something foul.
noci had crapped all over my poster.
what was i to do?
give it a proper burial?
i don’t have a shovel, and our entire compound has been paved.
i was left with but two options, burn it with the trash, or throw it down the shint bet.
down the shint bet it went.
perhaps it would have been better to burn it with the trash, because now i realize that every time someone uses that hole, they are literally pissing all over the giants.
lucky for me we have two holes in our shint bet, so, as far as i’m concerned, the one that leads down to that lovely aerial view of the stadium by the bay is forever closed.
the other day, alex told me she saw noci hanging out in the shint bet at night.
i wonder… was he holding vigil, or relishing his plot, and laughing maniacally?
my little noci is a diabolical dogers fan, and an evil genius.
i wonder if this has anything to do with the giants appalling start to the season…
the reincarnation of tommy lasorda. or am i just wishing tommy lasorda was dead?
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stay tuned for our next episode:
in the land of tea and honey, you gotta get it while you can.
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reading assignment: the princess bride : william goldman
it’s as though woody allen wrote don quixote. it’s rare that a book makes me laugh out loud. even more rare when it makes me laugh so hard i have to put the book down to wipe the tears from my face, and when you find a book that does that on almost every page, you know it’s a keeper. this is that book. don’t be fooled when you can only find the abridged “good parts” version, that’s part of the joke.
it’s a cloudless autumn night in theCity, and i’m at a college party with my buddy jef and his new girlfriend… jenny’s younger sister.
the first time i laid eyes on jenny, she was leaning against the wall in the entryway of a second story flat looking like she might hate everyone at this party, but that’s what makes it fun. she’s flanked by amateur photography, and the quirky hipster style artsy craftsy trappings of just about every sanFrancisco split level. without fail, somebody here knows somebody who knows the artist, and i’m sure they have a website i should checkout… or a band that’s playing right now in a basement in western addition. we should totally go. i can’t really describe their sound, it’s sort of like… it’s just like… you have to hear them, they’re awesome (they’re two white guys mixing gangsta rap over casio beats. without fail, it’s two white guys mixing gangsta rap over casio beats. there, i just described it. can we stop pretending it’s indescribable now?).
this is kind of how a City party goes.
it’s like the chaotic aftermath of a garden party at the gatsby’s.
there’s wine, and there’s beer, and inevitably a case of one is cheaper than a bottle of the other. which is which depends on the mood of the evening.
in the kitchen are the remnants of an ambitious home cooked dinner, prime for grazing when the munchies hit, and they will hit, because somebody here knows somebody who’s cousin is in town from the midwest, and he has to try this bomb cali weed he just got at the club (not the club. the club. we’re hippies, not coke fiends).
people are dressed a little too fancy to be crammed elbows to assholes in some stained carpet frat house where someone’s always bumping your shoulder and spilling keg beer foam on your sneaks, but no one’s dressed fancy enough to go out anywhere but a pizza run… or a basement show in western addition.
the other girls here have all succumbed to the bohemian fad (bo-hoes, as it were), the logical heiress to the bellbottomed flowerchild rehashing at the turn of the millenium. jenny instead has a distinctly beatnik look in her black sweater, scarf, and ratty sneakers. i dig the boho look, but after two years in sanDiego, it’s nice to meet a girl who doesn’t have blonde ambition and a “vintage” beach cruiser collecting dust because you can’t ride a fat tire through the hills that inspired bullit, least of all in a breezy micromini (maybe you can, but this is fixie territory, son. peg those cuffs. you don’t show ass cheeks when you ride here, you show ankle).
i knew jenny was something special when i met her that night, she fit the scene perfectly, yet she was different, but what do you expect? i had a whole world to see, and she was off to budapest soon. falling in love was not part of the five year plan.
mazatlan, mexico. 2008
jenny is a postcard from a tropical vacation.
i hadn’t spent much pleasant time with her in the last five years.
we had better things to do.
in fact, we were probably the last things on each other’s minds at the time.
her sister was about to get married (to jef), and i was still trying to figure out what i’d be doing with my life and how the hell i could get out (or stay out) of theStates. on top of all that, for an entire week, there would be a few dozen of us in town for the wedding, wearing little more than swimsuits and sunburns, and subsisting mostly on street tacos and buckets of beer.
like i said, we had better things to do.
i had been abroad most of the year, country hopping from developing to western, from asia to africa to europe to arabia. i had lived in orphanages, and straw lean-tos. i had slept on couches and picnicked on ancient sepulchres, and though i thought mexico would be a good place to ease back into my american social life, the week wore on and as it turned out, it was not. while my recent travels had forced me more than ever to grow up and try to see the world for what it was, the world i left behind seemed to be falling away from me.
i still wanted to drink and be loud and jump off of things and all that good stuff, but i didn’t feel entitled to do it at the expense of others. i had realized that my whole way of life since i was born was at the expense of others.
as the week wore on, i sort of just wanted to enjoy being in mexico. i had no interest in doing mexico as hard as i could in all those ways that theStates won’t put up with. i didn’t want to go to the strip club. i didn’t want to do upsidedown margaritas until i puked. i didn’t want to dance to that goddamn “berry berry good” song again. i wanted to just be in the warm salty air, holding a cold drink, enjoying the company of good friends, talking and laughing into the night.
…and there was jenny. once again, she fit perfectly, yet she was different. with the inky ocean behind her and nothing but starlight above, she was somehow luminous. the flowers in her hair, her sunkissed cheeks, her bright flowing skirt, her wrists bangled with woven bracelets. she sat unsuggestively, elbows on her knees, swirling a corona around by the neck with an air of detached amusement. i knew this was it. this woman was what i wanted life to feel like.
no goin’ out makeup, no hair did, no competitive fake laughter. life was her accessory, and she complimented the world as much as it complimented her.
san francisco, california (yes… again). 2011
jenny is technicolor in an otherwise black and white photograph.
we’re outside the security checkpoint at the airport, and i’m about to leave for two years in ethiopia.
that day i noticed every feature of every person that entered my field of vision: every waterproof northface expedition duffel, every pair of zip away pant/shorts and chacos, every armageddon-proof wristwatch. i was looking for the characters who would help me flesh out this story i would be living as soon as the little green light on the metal detector blinked its approval. when i recreate the moment in my mind, there’s no one but jenny in her faded jeans, hair pulled back, home-made purse over her shoulder, and a quivering smile that told me she was proud of me even though it hurt. she is almost silhouetted against the blazing glare of the sunlit southCity clouds bursting through the glass walls of the terminal. from all around me there is a flood of sound, but it’s muffled through the emotions. all around me life is in fast forward. this moment is swiftly running away. amidst the polished metals, sterile workstations, and drab stain-concealing carpets, jenny’s red chucks burned a heart into my memory as i stared at the floor, avoiding the tears in her eyes. then, the heart broke, as her feet carried her away.
lome, togo. 2012
jenny is a bird of paradise in full bloom.
the last time i saw her we were walking away from each other at SFO.
that was seven months ago.
tonight i stood impatiently watching a security guard dissect a metric ton of a whole lot of nothing because the guy who packed it did a suspiciously meticulous job of it.
then the doors of lome interdimensional airport opened into a world where we lived in rural africa, and i had decided not to go, and jenny had decided no to let me.
she was in a brilliantly colored west african dress (pagne… pahn-yah) with her cascading hair falling all over her shoulders as she waved. in a way, she was exactly where i left her.
i quickly assessed that i didn’t look nearly devious enough for security to stop interrogating the guy with all the unmarked boxes. i stepped around and shoved my bag through the xray.
i think stuff happened after that. probably we said a bunch of stuff, and i think there was some kissy face stuff too (ewww gross)…
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it’s funny how you think you remember things. certain things like the smell of grandma’s kitchen, the weight of a baseball in your hand, the exact way to sit in your favorite chair to achieve maximum comfort. certain things just get tattooed on your sense memory. all you have to do is close your eyes and remember that one thing, that one momentous and insignificant thing, but that’s the genius of it. it’s the perfect oxymoron. the entire universe is in that little thing that’s so small that you could never lose it. just recall that little thing and your whole being is there, stirring the sauce on the stove that’s just a bit too tall, playing catch on the freshly cut grass, reading a book on a lazy afternoon.
then life passes us by, and how often do we pick up a ball, prepare that recipe that smells so distinctly, or work so hard that we truly relish a good sit?
we take for granted that if we ever want to, we can just recall. we can just remember. we forget that no matter how vividly we can recall that universe, nothing compares to the real thing.
such is the feeling of holding jenny in my arms.
i could never forget what it feels like with every bit of my being, but there is no substitute for the real thing…