I’ve got the poetry books I grabbed when I left, and some novels, and a complete Shakespeare bound in red and gold, and then borrowed books, upstairs there are avocados and tangerines and lemons, a Walt Whitman greengrocery, all upstairs in a painted bowl waiting like some Eastern promise of an afterlife.
I’m listening to William Shatner right now (until tonight I believed he was both a musician and an astronaut)– and I’m considering the tinned sardines hanging around upstairs. It’s late for eating though and I’m working hard enough at the gym. My blue-collar gym! So working class! So normal-shaped! Creepster McCreeperson was there yesterday, resplendent in traffic-light yellow with an expressive mustache. Don’t people know it’s in poor taste to make eye contact with people exercising their gluts? I love these weirdos. I like that everyone reads on the exercise bikes, and the way the Persian boy grins theatrically with all his white teeth when he lifts the weights (which aren’t set very heavy.) The big free weights look like lies but I’m afraid to test-lift them in case Persian Boy is watching and I can’t do it. Then there’s the Russian with the prince Valiant haircut and the demure mouth who wears tighter shirts than mine over flowing sweatpants that taper to showcase enviable ankles. Actually I don’t know if he’s Russian but I have a generous imagination and limited experience with Russians. (By limited I mean the old James Bond with Sean Connery– Octopussy?– with the hot Russian baddies.) My gym is rife with these larger-than-lifes. I could tell you about this one guy who works there but he may befriend me officially on FB any minute, any day, from which there is a direct link to this journal, so I will keep that story private for one-on-one discussion.
I’m currently reading three books, but not in a Julius Caesar Dictating Twelve Letters at a Time kind of way, more in a 21st century ADD kind of way. My favorite is called Bozo Sapiens: Why to Err is Human. I got it at the library (to whom I still owe a Mbe’s dowry, practically) on the well-founded basis of the title and the fact that another woman was holding it. I was tripping down the narrow aisle of the improvised library at U-Mall, when I saw her holding it. It had a picture of a banana peel on the front! I love bananas!
I complimented her on her choice of literature, hopefully. She told me I could have it. Disappointed in the ease of my conquest, I checked it out, along with my other informative books (Teach Yourself Electricity and Microsoft 2007, just to substantiate wild claims on my cv) and took it home. I’m such a sucker for the Information Age! Man. Really I’m like the poster child for this era. Autodidact is my middle name. And it turns out the book is fantastic! I recommend it. There are loads of interesting things about us, and some really attractive suggestions: the authors posit, for example, that mammoths, like modern elephants, communicated in infrasound, which is inaudible to humans and yet, sets us on edge– we get all nervous and uneasy, our heart rates speed up and, in a memorable turn of phrase, “our vision smears in sympathetic eyeball jiggling.” They’re saying that our ancestors learned to get wise when they *didn’t* hear that sound, because it likely signaled danger.
I like this winter. I like passing RDU on the way to work. I like the departing planes, so cylindrical and unlikely, and the morning sun, and the Carolinian treeline, even set against the freeway. What a lot of cars! How are these places so populated?? how can it be that there are so many people?! I wish I knew them! What are those glassy buildings and what do they make? I solder metal for antennas all day long– I feel like Rosie the Riveter. Manufacturing. Manu=hand and facture=make. I like feeding the soft electrical wire and watching it suck onto the hot dry metal like a parched aluminum desert on a faraway planet, I like learning about electrons and currents and radios. Raleigh, I like your glassy buildings and your freeways, I like your ballet of merging metal on the highway– it’s impromptu yet orchestrated and every time that there’s no crash, it’s a success. It makes me feel closer to you, the same way when a siren sounds we all pull over. A nod to our collective humanity, the lovely lovelies, bozo sapiens sapiens.