one candle two flames
I need to train for Late Nights, so I’m not sleeping at four in the afternoon sitting in a chair.
It is with a heavy heart that I let go of the opportunity to see the Anita O’Day docu this evening. It begins in another ten minutes, and I just canna be there in San Ruffle, when I’m unruffled here, bath-warm and again calling into the Void.
Most of the day was computer-whacking, hours of it, just to get to the point where I could have e-mail like I am used to having it (cracked, not crushed….with no adverts). Finally got to have email both in and out.
So I’m back where I started last Thurs when (expletive deleted) company crashed all their computers. And we also bought high speed service, so all the probs got intertwingled. I know how much you care, faceless rider. Mid afternoon, instead of riding, I found myself editing my story about Scotland. Beats organizing the linen closet. But by five I had to escape Taj Mahovel. Rolled “Columboham” out and rolled away without even a goodbye.
Riding when you really really want a nap can be like those Ambien Contests Marla Streb refers to in the movie Hardihood. “We’d arrive somewhere, let’s say Tokyo, and all take Ambien and go out to dinner and then bowling or something. The person who stays awake the longest wins.”
The visual in the film is very effective: a face-down Streb somewhere, maybe a hotel floor?
I had to proceed carefully, and it worked. Got up to the lakes, did what I always do when Circumstances Permit, and came back down all refreshed. A rider passed me and said my name, it was a person I didn’t think I knew but of course he’s ridden here for 30 of his 40 years. Alone, always. “But you always make me smile” he said kindly. I have this effect on eremites.
It was nice to have company for that stretch of my very very short ride with the curry-scented gnaphalium back lit on the hillsides and the coyote brush (baccaris pilularis, now going to seed) pumping out the great autumnal fragrance that lends the Bay Area its distinctive scent, mostly obvious when you’re returning from an extended trip, and all the smells together clobber you.
The longer the trip, the more intense the emotion. It’s usually a good kind of sadness, maybe nostalgia. It hit me when I went to LA for the first time since 1983.. I sniffed the sycamore arroyos in Tarzana where I hiked almost daily in the late sixties with my Dad. There is no place that smells like that area (so much of it before, now less due to sprawl).
So “Columbus Day” (hey, on my fat tire Cunningham with shocks, every day is Columbus day because Antonio Columbo sent us the aluminum tubing to make that bike…coolllll) was a goodie. At home I realized how starved I’d gotten, and sliced all the figs I’d gathered from the very same houses that I got them in that Doris Doerrie film yesterday. It’s exactly a year since she taped that segment, man that slid by fast.
Quick! Throw under flame in broiler, boil one ear of that fat corn from two night’s ago, dice the chard from the yard, the basil from the aisle, and the tomato from the bottom of the er, you know. Beautiful solitary Green Stripe tomato, perfectly ripe. Sliced, rosemary/sea salt/pepper mix I keep always at hand, alla voil, and parsley. Then I put Serra De Strela cheese under the flame on top of the two types of halved figs, halfway done. And last, diced up a couple of crusts of the breakfast toast that I’d forgotten to finish but was damned if I pitched. Chopped the dry hard artisan bread so small I could make a panzanella, w/those mini-cubes soaking up all the super ripe tomato juice and oil.
Poured a glass of white, called Ed : “Hey how was your day?”
“Doing press stuff in the city all day.”
” Wanna eat the goodies I ‘ve got on now?” and I ran the menu…
“Hmm. I need a quieter meal…is that OK?”
“Oh, god yes. You’re taking care of yourself. “
I think it takes some guts to turn down invitations, but that ‘s because I’m convinced people get angry if I don’t say yes. This is patently untrue (cliche alert!!!) but it’s still got a grip on me and makes it exceedingly hard to get down to the What do I REALLY wanna do if I have the option of doing what I want?
I took his lead, and after quality time with Charie and that soak in the tub, I told myself a docu on Anita might be available on some other night than this, my own first quiet night. Thanks, Ed, for helping me arrive at that…there is this thing called Fear Of Missing Out, that afflicts conventioneers and Burning Man participants alike. And folks at Strictly Hardly Festival. With five stages, there is no way you’ll see all the acts you want to because you haven’t got an extra you.
Instead, my evening was: taking the three platters of food (corn, chard mix, and tomato panzanella) and the wine, tottering into the NOISY yard where every cricket in the canyon is wailing away, some throbbing and most trilling steady-steady. (whisper) The dogs were all indoors too! Have to say it softly, the hound next door might pick up my voice and go nuts.
It was only ten minutes, but the sky grew much darker, and the street unaccustomedly silent.
Up to the treehouse now.