Day 524, December 1, 2021

Finishing

I have been back to work long enough that I have finished listening to my first Audible book (Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart) since the pandemic began. I only listen when I drive, and I settled on Murakami after dabbling in a couple of different podcasts. It is wonderful to listen to a good book, it makes you savor stoplights, linger at crosswalks, and close your eyes before turning off the car and unbuckling your seatbelt. 

Murakami wrote about living in dreams, and I started to think about a dream I dreamt a long time ago. I was in an airport and my grandfather was there. I was translating for him, but something was getting lost in the translation. I don’t think I knew either language I was trying to convey, and that was part of the problem. Like all dreams, this one is frayed at the edges, and some of the finer details are lost, like the seats at the airport gate. They were hard blue fiberglass like at the Cleveland bus station. The walls were painted corrugated steel. There was industrial carpet. People talked behind mustaches and nuzzled their luggage with their knees. 

Somewhere, in a dream notebook, or in the notes app in my phone there are more details, tucked in among a photo of my vaccination card, my dress shirt measurements, what songs I needed to learn for the Original Cowards album, the license plate number for my car, and multiple authors, book titles, album titles, and podcasts I’ve meant to investigate further. Someday, I will organize these random thoughts, the dream sequences. I will organize them the way I will one day organize my workbench in the basement. 

I was thinking about the workbench earlier today, how I want to have my workbench ready to receive a guitar, or amplifier, or some other project at a moment’s notice. Right now it is the repository for yard sale albums, old hard drives, bicycle parts, artifacts from my old office, and who knows what else. When I go there to look for something, I have to look really hard, because it is easy to miss something that I know is there. I need to streamline my life. Make it a bit more spartan. Find the joy and get rid of the dead weight, and all that jazz. I remember visiting a friend’s house and their place was so clean and orderly that they had a presentation easel with a framed painting sitting on it in their living room. My ex-whispered in my ear, imagine living so cleanly that you could have that in your living room!

I don’t suppose that will happen anytime soon. Besides, I’m too busy doing other things to get to the cleaning. Early in the pandemic, there was an effort made to clean and organize. To disencumber myself from possessions. Perhaps that will happen again. I need a vacation just to organize my space. 

Where did you go for vacation?

To my basement.

The interesting thing is, it almost takes me as long to drive home from work as it does to bicycle home. I have a long 20 minute uphill hike out to the parking lot where my car is. The one thing I miss about riding my bike is that I don’t get to listen to music or books. I’ve been tempted to try and squeeze earbuds under my helmet, but I am too nervous about not hearing cars to try that. A few years ago when we were bicycling on the cape, a group of scantily clad young men rode by with music pumping out of a little boombox (Can you still call the modern wireless speakers boom boxes?) and it looked like so much fun. But I think the deer would be annoyed, joggers would glare, and I would miss the sound of birds or water.

In any case, finishing a book, whether you listen or use your eyes, is like waking from a dream. There is an unsteadiness about one’s surroundings, there are people’s names that reside just beyond the tip of your tongue. There are streets and apartments you can almost smell, lovers you can almost touch, and yet they are not here, not now, not wearing a down parka and wool lined leather gloves. But, I like to think that stories feed us, become a part of us, make their way into our blood, our marrow, and that makes us stronger, more resilient, more alive. Even when their memories become frayed like lazy old dreams.

Take care and be well,
Leo

A poster from Tape Op magazine hanging in Sonelab.


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