Saturday, May 13, 2006

Into the light

It was too dark sitting in the living room on my comfy chaise; all the sunshine is here in the bedroom and the sunroom, but I will have to park myself on the desk chair and pound out another 400 pages later this weekend and I'm not anxious to begin. Instead, I want to sit here with the sunlight streaming over my left shoulder and breathe in the heavenly scent of fresh air and growing things (the living room still smells a bit like smoky burnt things).

As always on weekends, I have a lot to do, including putting together the club newsletter. I don't know why past editors had trouble finding enough articles, photos, etc. to fill the newsletter; I'm already developing a backlog. Of course, I'm not shy about asking people to write articles and I haven't had to do much of that. There will, however, be some arm twisting with the Evil One to get him busy writing the article about his new hiking poles/antenna and how that all came out. I told him he had until the 25th and I'll remind him again next week before I give him his birthday cheesecake from the secret recipe. Yes, it's blackmail, but a little blackmail is like a little jealousy now and again -- subtle spice to be employed with a deftly knowing and delicate hand. One of the past editors of the club newsletter is also writing me an article, one he promised me from last month, and I have to remind him. I think he's avoiding me now because he doesn't have it done yet (probably not even started) and is going to now claim he forgot we were talking about setting a date for lunch. He won't get away that easily. :cue evil laugh:

I received a phone call out of the blue last night, MJ again. He called me from the laundromat while doing his laundry. I told him he had just lowered my estimation of him and destroyed all my fantasies about semi-famous music stars. He said, "Then I probably shouldn't tell you about movie stars." I already know that one: movie stars put their pants on one leg at a time. That hit me almost as hard as the truth about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, but I didn't expect his feet would prove to be just as dirty and made of clay. :sob: I'm hurt and disillusioned.

Anyway, we spent another enjoyable hour chatting, laughing, teasing each other and telling jokes, as well as the usual chit chat of getting to know someone better. He told me this great story about a monkey but I'm going to save it and write it up in flash fiction style. The punch line is really hilarious, especially delivered dead pan the way he does it with a slight bass growl in his voice. I'm still chuckling about that one. He said he was going to write it up, but would let me have it, and I told him it wouldn't be the same story or the same presentation, so he should write it up, too, from his point of view and we could compare stories. He also mentioned that music is all he knows right after he told me my living room must be fairly room when he heard the echo of me walking through it. I told him he was right and about the ripples, hills and valleys in the floor (and on the walls) in this old Victorian house. He definitely has a good ear, but that's all he's good for -- or so he says.

MJ also told me he is going to be in town in June longer than expected, another four days. He ticked off his plans ending, I thought, with visiting his sister in Denver. Then he paused.

"Would you like to spend some time together?" he asked.

"Sure, I'd like that."

"So would I."

I seem to remember inviting him to see my little corner of the world and offered to fix him dinner. He's on the road most of the time and I'm certain he doesn't get a home cooked meal very often, which is probably why he's visiting his sister, and I like to cook. Too bad I don't have room for a table and chairs -- yet. I guess we'll have to camp out in front of the TV and use the coffee table instead. Maybe I can get the painting, stenciling and accessorizing done by June when he's in town and have some big pillows to artfully toss on the floor to use as seats around the coffee table. That could be fun.

I found out lots about MJ last night. I already knew he had an interesting, almost pagan, take on religion and life, but I didn't know he was a Netflix user and liked my favorite movie -- Laura directed by Otto Preminger. He loves the theme song but thinks it is irritating after a while (they do play it softly in the background throughout the movie, swelling for climactic or pivotal scenes). I like the music well enough and it is memorable, but for me the attraction is the way the movie plays out, the characters and the fact that Laura is seen only in flashback until about the middle of the movie because she's supposed to be dead. Laura returns in the middle of the night to find Mark, the detective solving her murder, asleep, mildly drunk and sitting in a chair beneath her portrait in the living room, having fallen in love with what he thinks is a ghost. If you haven't seen it yet, rent it or check it out from the library, but get it. It's the perfect introduction to B grade film noir.

I have never been awed by the famous, near famous or infamous but it is fascinating to find out that someone like MJ is so down to earth and likeable and shares some of my likes and dislikes like a real average person on the street. And now that I know he does his own laundry at a laundromat ... well, the mystery is gone.

When I talked to my mother last night she said she has never known anyone who could converse so easily and comfortably with anyone -- saint or sinner, bum or celebrity -- the way I do. She said even as a child I was absolutely fearless and people came up to see me and talk to me all the time. She and my father were terrified someone would snatch me or, worse, that I would amiably and eagerly go away with them because I didn't understand the concept of a stranger.

I remember the first time some friends took me to Poor Richard's, a bookstore cum restaurant cum outdoor cafe. We sat outside to eat and talked and watched the people stroll by. One old guy, ragged and run down around the edges, walked by with his dog. He looked homeless with his sagging backpack that had seen better decades, grizzled beard and ball cap shrouded strings of wispy curling iron grey hair. He stopped and chatted with someone and eventually came nearer. I spoke to him about his talking, complimenting him on the dog's looks and obedience and we chatted for a few minutes. From what he said, I gathered he was local and probably living on his social security, hence the not well heeled look of him, but he was friendly and obviously loved his dog and quite garrulous. My friends watched but didn't partake in the conversation. When he left one of my friends said she was surprised at me talking to him like that, "He could have been anybody." He was anybody; he was everyman and he had an interesting story to tell that I remember more than a year later.

People are fascinating repositories of ideas and history better than most books filled with facts and slanted gossip and political spin. Everyone is a little bit different and some so different as to be a shock to societal expectations, but they are all like amazing books of fantasy, reality and flights of surrealism. When I look at Dali's paintings, like the one with clocks melting over hard angular surfaces, I am reminded of the diversity and surprise of people all around me, changing, growing, melting into the background or lying on the surface of life caught in emotional or situational stasis, like the neon orange haired girl who pushes her baby's stroller to the park and back every day, rain or shine. Some days her hair is Easter Egg basket pink and some days a brilliant electric blue, but she always comes back to the glow in the dark neon orange. I wonder what her baby thinks when s/he sees people with brown, blonde, red, black or gray/silver hair without the rings in lip, eyebrow and nose and if s/he wonders what those aliens are stopping and talking to mother.

I look forward to learning more about the MJ behind the gold records and touring dates just as much as I look forward to learning about all the people who touch or cross my path in the course of the passing seasons.

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