Parsimony & Parallax
The pub was full last night, despite the rain, or maybe somewhat because the rain was pleasant and civilized. I stood out in it staring up at the street-light nothing of the sky and let the coolness into my nerves three times, and each one like a small eternity. It was a needed rain, which is rare along the bay, and time stretched as it did owing to an intense and universal gratitude.
The tables were full of people playing chess and scrabble, old friends uniting, and in back a man was doling out free wine. I had to work to keep up, and that feeling too, was a prodigal's return.
And as I poured and washed and walked around looking for glasses, my mind found a new window into itself, and I started listing, simply listing, all the things that I have done, where I have been, and item by item produced an aggregate vision of a being that was strange to me.
I have been to Prague. My fastest mile was 4:33. I've been homeless. I lived for a while off one meal a day, that meal provided by a professor. I've written and lost two awful novels. I broke my own horse, Whiskey, at age 14. I rode trains when I was a boy. Those tracks are torn out now. I dropped out of highschool. I have an ulcer. I was an editor at a publishing company for a while. I really was. I've been in jail. Can you believe the wife I have? How'd that happen? During college I went to New York almost twice every year. I'm friends with actors and professors and activists and artists and writers and other makers of things. I spent a year traveling with a photographer through California's central valley talking to farmers and hunters and fishers and beekeepers and jam makers. We're turning that into a book. I sang in our Methodist church choir. I can cook a little. For two months I played chess every night at 4am with a homeless man who came into the gas station where I worked. We had to take cold showers for months at a time when I was little because we couldn't afford propane. I saw my first orange tree only four years ago in Santa Clara. My wife and I sang 'On the Street where You Live' with an old Irish guy, and his wife, who shared a birthday, and their friends, who were Murphys, in Dick Mack's in Dingle on our honeymoon. I planted a vineyard. I'm building a winery. I have a little sister in Boston. My wife is going to be a science writer. I read a lot of books. I'm going out to breakfast at Cafe Ina with my wife. We know the owners a little.
Isn't that interesting? I don't know what any of it means, save that this listing became a litany of sorts and I like myself a little more for it.