Saturday, September 21, 2013

Consider the Bee

Message In A Bottle
OK. I'm typing in the dark by the light of the screen reflected on the computer keys. I'm typing in the dark because I moved my work table back to the back of the trailer before leaving town for another bout of McDonald's remodeling and yet tonight I am sitting in the front of the trailer where I get a smidgen of intermittent pirate wi-fi. I am typing in my underwear and so I don't want to turn on any lights because I don't want to put my pants on.

So there is that to consider. Today I sat a bike (the Goose) for the first time since Labor Day and I am currently a bit insane as a result. Tomorrow that will change when I do my country loop McLarge (34 miles) and then I am going to come home and get drunk as hell. Then (shudder) Monday I will wake up, take a cold shower, drink a gallon of McCoffee and then: I'm going to buy a truck.

How Far I Have Fallen
There, I said it. I don't like it and I was hoping somehow to get around it but there is no escaping the fact that I will buy a motor vehicle on Monday and that may be the End of the Fun. But I gotta do it; today it cost me a hundred bucks to get from Orlando to home, a fifty mile ride. Forty dollars gas for my girlfriend's SUV and breakfast for me and the girlfriend and I gave her some money for her trouble and then beer (and that is running out fast) and so on...

How long, O Lord?

As long as it takes, apparently. I looked at a decent little Nissan pickup on the way in from the Road and following my policy of Riding the Least Bike, I will try to purchase the least truck and that fifteen year old little piece of tin looks pretty least to me. I'm sighing inside but it is all part of the big picture.

Whatever the hell that means.

Viva Las Vegas
So I can't say much about cycling except that it is Interbike Week again and I ain't there (again) even though I keep expecting to be invited out there to Vegas for the big show; it has been thirty years since the last time and I'm pretty sure they forgot all that stuff that happened and there is the statute of limitations and so on...

But whatever. I look forward to the pictures and there are some pretty exciting things coming from the usual sources like Surly and Velo Orange and once again it will be about bigger tires and common sense, rare developments for the cycling world and long overdue.

For What It's Worth
Me? Good Lord. I am involved in so much disaster and conflict and sweat and blood and tears all in the name of Money and McDonald's that I really don't know where to begin. I mean, there is blood on the keyboards, not from some maniacal pursuit of my art (for what it's worth) but instead because our boss tried to save a couple bucks and bought really cheap plywood screws and so when you use one of these new impact drivers to put them in and the screw slips you jam the pointy screwdriver tip into your thumb or forefinger. It hurts really bad the first time but after the hundredth time you just giggle and cry at the same time and thank the heavens that you are not a brain surgeon or violinist in your spare time because your fingers are swollen and mushy and holding a cup of coffee in the morning is a monumental challenge.

No Sugar Tonight
I'm not tanked up enough right now to wax poetic and I really don't have anything worth saying but I miss you guys and wanted to say hello and goodbye and see ya soon and so is all about people, I think, the people. I am part of a crew that I don't lead and it is a new thing, this following. But that is gradually turning around as it always does; I learned many years ago that sometimes the best way to lead is by being the best fucking follower they ever saw and by pushing firmly from behind. Not that I have much desire to be the boss; but look, the least I can do is buy the right kind of screws and also there is unnecessary pain going round the crew; these guys need help of a different kind, a lot of unnecessary pain out there and that is one of the duties of a good leader: to make it as easy as possible for the crew to get the job done. It is easy and all it takes is a little organization and open ears and a little heart. None of those things are happening right now but I'm hacking away at it.

One of the hacks is to buy a truck so I am no longer a hitchhiker.

Consider the Bee
I was building a house once with a little crew (three men strong) and a carpenter bee was buzzing around the rafters we were setting and I watched as the morning progressed how quickly that little bee bored a hole in the fresh-cut pine of the roof framing; it didn't take long and I was coming down from the roof and was surprised and delighted to see how this tiny insect had created a home in the smallest part of the home we were building. It had chewed its way into a 2x8 rafter and I got a drink of cold water from the big jug and I thought about that bee. I have always remembered that bee and how good pure cold water tastes on a hot day when you are building.

I'm doing it again now and I am drinking the cold water from the big jug and remembering the bee. I am typing in the dark without my pants and drinking the last of the cold beer, it is late and tomorrow I will ride and I will consider the bee.


Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Apiary

September 21, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's Not Only Rock and Roll

Nostalgic Preparations
My new Smart phone is driving me crazy. But what of that? It plays music, doesn't it?

It does and I have been streaming Pandora, listening to old tunes that I haven't heard for years. My taste in music, as you may imagine, does not exactly run to the sound of the Top Forty. (Do they still call it that?) Or maybe it does. A lot of this music was on the charts 'back in the day' (I promised myself I would never use that phrase, but by putting it in those single quotation marks (whatever they are called) I have marked my usage as 'ironic' (another word I swore never to use.))

A Labyrinth of Words
Good lord. I certainly have a knack for getting myself lost inside a sentence. Also lost inside an old tune. Never did I like the television, the canned laughter made me sad and seemed to not fall in the proper places. The commercials made me hungry for things I never knew existed (also making me feel like a failure for not owning those things) and there was usually a roomful of cigarette smoke in the room where the watching was done. I cannot abide cigarette smoke, which is ironic for someone who has spent a lot of time in smoky saloons...

Left-Handed Labor Day
It is Labor Day. I'm making preparations that involve not ribs and potato salad and baked beans, but rather I am preparing for future labor (tomorrow) in the hot Florida sun, long, lucrative days that may not end for many weeks. I hope not. By experience and planning I have learned that by going out with a road crew and working myself nearly to death over an extended length of time I end up tired, lean, and wealthy, for me. Tomorrow we head back out.

The Importance of Being  Grateful
I have earplugs stuck in my ears and I am listening to my personal Pandora station called Grateful Dead. The music is old and damned funky and as I listen something occurs to me. I see how much this music shaped my world-view over the decades and how it also affects my writing. An old Faces tune, “Angel” was just on and with these earplugs the lyrics were clear and I was thinking how much I loved the poetry of the song, made particularly poignant by Rod's whiskey-soaked voice.

Angel came down from Heaven yesterday, stayed with me long enough to rescue me...

Man! That's what I'm doing, here, hunkered over a keyboard, whiskey-soaked and trying to capture the essence of these old rock lyrics. Many of them made no sense at all, and yet they got the point across just fine.

And she told me a story yesterday about the sweet love between the Moon and the deep blue sea...

Sound familiar? Argh! I'm a plagiarist! Crap! I always thought I was just some kind of soulful white boy who paid his dues and earned the right to sing the blues. A Skydog of prose, as it were.

I live by the sea: and the moon, always there, is an unavoidable reference. Does 'channeling' count as plagiarism?

My Hands Are Not Idle
I have a big pile of tools to clean and prep and pack.  I find myself wondering how many of the other guys who will assemble tomorrow at dawn will have done this; this worshipful preparation, old rock hymns blasting and small prayers in the form of tool cleaning and oiling and is my life story, really, wrapped up in this music and these tools, these preparations.  I treat my career (for what it is worth) like a good gunslinger or practiced samurai:  if it is worth doing, it is worth doing as though the gods are watching.  Because they usually are: watching, I think.

More From the Jukebox

Check out the bass lines on that tune. Pure hypnosis. Or how about this: 
Saturday night I was downtown, workin' for the FBI...about as odd an opening rock line as ever imagined. The Hollies.

Where There Is Classic Rock, There Is Hope
Here's another thing I find ironic (hey, once you get started it's hard to stop.) At the job the other night, while remodeling a Carraba's Restaurant, somebody had their smart-phone plugged into a jobsite radio. I was working away at some simple task when it occurred to me that I was hearing the old good stuff. I asked who had that music playing? It was the youngest kid on the job. Twenty years old. Me, (the oldest guy on the job):  well, I was comforted and reassured that there was hope for the future if these young guys could still connect to the tunes that shaped our world back in the sixties, back in the day.  

I'm incorrigible.  But again, what of that?  I'm a dreamer and a rock star and a cowboy and a samurai.  The pay ain't much, but it makes Labor Days like this one, days like this, when it is just me and the Universe and a peaceful easy feelin', it makes days like this one count.  Big time.

tj the dj

The Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Juke Joint
Labor Day 2013

By the way, for those of you who are interested,  I started a new Blog for posting stray chapters of Smiling In the Sunshine.  You can link through to it on my Blog List.  And by some kind of cosmic coincidence, just as I finished putting together the new Blog, I was startled and honored to see that Lloyd Khan, one of the spiritual gurus who set me on the path I tread, had featured one of my favorite chapters on his great Blog.  Check it out!  Thanks, Lloyd!