Samstag, 17. Oktober 2009

When did summer get so damn short?

I haven't written anything in, like, two weeks which just goes to show how much discipline I have. I was out of town for work but mostly just kind of lost in space, too.

Does that ever happen to you? It just turned cold and windy here, and dark too, and I think some of that fog seeps into everyone, and then you get the vapors. That's what they used to call depression -- having the vapors. I think it rings more true than "depression," although it must mean something that both those words have something to do with bad weather.

According to the Free Dictionary, the archaic meaning of "vapors" is "something insubstantial, worthless, or fleeting," or "a fantastic or foolish idea" --and I think that that's fucking beautiful and exactly how I feel about summer when it's disappearing. The whole rush of sap to the leaves and the whole glutting your sorrow on the "rainbow of the salt sand-wave" thing feels like it had just started again, and now its over. It's especially noticeable in this town, where as soon as its October everyone stops grinning and slows way down and hunches into themselves and lets their summer dreaming evaporate.

The other day I was leaving work and as I crossed onto the central square next to the cathedral there were these two mimes standing on wine crates up ahead. A tiny man and a tiny woman. It was a faded out day, gray and pale. He was dressed as a silver sailor and she was a silver 19th century whore, and they had painted their hair and hats and faces silver too. And facing them, there were these two old Tibetan monks in wheelchairs, their golden robes fluttering at the edges in the wind. The monks sat slumped in their silver framed chairs, smiling beatifically into the middle distance just past mimes' faces. I made sure I left before anyone moved.

I was in Lebanon last week. I'd never been.

From above, the city of Beirut looks like a hot stone bowl that has melted into the sea on one side. The traffic is chaos, and fast. The honking comes in triplets on the small streets, one car after another, and on the highways it's constant. Not rude, but a matter of courtesy: I am coming quickly from behind, and we all just want to get where we're going, so make way.

At one point I was in a taxi, tearing down a one lane curved canyon road, no barriers, going 130 km per hour. We flew past a speed limit sign that read 30. I looked at the cab driver with a raised eyebrow and he actually took his hands off the wheel to shrug -- that crazy motherfucker -- and tell me that in Lebanon, the street signs and the painted lanes are "just a picture."

He told me I could never drive in Lebanon, because I would die. "If you follow the rules -- blink left, turn, blink right, turn, slow down for red lights, pass on the right [sic] then you will be die in five minutes. No shit," he said. "I am only safe if I am the fastest."

Now we were on the main road that runs from the northern suburbs into the city, weaving like a missile between old Mercedes and naked-looking old minivans, racing fast BMWs and at one point, briefly, a bright yellow Ferrari. Marwan rarely took his hand off the horn.

"You are still late?" he asked, as we came level with the sea. "What is the time?" He pointed across the bay. "Voom! I drive this way." He swerved hard towards the water, into the lane on our right, and then jerked the wheel back. Hahaha! A chorus of honks erupted all around. Hahaha.

But I wasn't afraid and I hoped we wouldn't get there soon.

Anyway, so this year I've decided to fuck assuming the winter position and growing slowly slow and sad and instead I'm just going to stay happy for ever and ever until I blow up in a supernova of joy next spring. Which pretty much makes me an A1 goober, but one the other hand, you're a total asshole for pointing that out.

P.S. The picture of the balloon man is from here.
P.P.S. The Go Speed picture is from here, although not originally, I don't think.

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