Monday, February 4, 2013

The Longest Days Are Starting

A friend of mine told us recently about how there is a point in the summer when the phosphorescent algae comes in on the tide. When I picture it, I think it looks something like that video above, the electric lace of a fish thought. A thought about food and getting food, the most primal function of a fish or any living being, and that's what it looks like. So maybe the algae looks just like the ocean's thought patterns - lighting up electric and sparse across the oceanic continents. I love the idea of ocean kingdoms existing, a whole second deeper level to civilization on our little month by month lease apartment planet. Maybe instead of rainclouds and sunsets, they have algae storms in their watery skies above them, that are the oceans deciding what to do with them.

There is so much to learn about biology and geography and sociology and oceanography here, the world is currently overwhelming with the things I don't know yet.

I went to the hall to see the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby, starring Mia Farrow, Robert Redford, and a very young disturbingly handsome Sam Waterson. It was extremely boring and they kept adding fake sparkles to Mia's eyes. They hit you over the head with the imagery of the book, the eyes and the shirts and the light were all overblown and overused. It lacked any subtlety. But I'm glad I saw it before the new one comes out, because frankly I think adding Jay Z to the soundtrack is particularly key to success.

I wonder what that thought looked like.

So much of my perception of the South before I moved here was based in Fitzgerald. That's an odd realization to have actually. I'm obsessed with replacing that with actual experience now, and I'm obsessed with ginger these days, I keep eating it and drinking it like I'm one of those people who has suddenly developed an addiction to eating dirt. Which seems unrelated, but I'm pretty sure is a direct consequence of this social tidal pool I've been dropped into. I'm just not sure how yet.

After the movie, we ate fried things at a brewery downtown, and I don't remember much of what we talked about, but I do remember at one point he told me I was such a "doer". I protested, but then I don't think I got a chance to explain why that wasn't true, because the conversation was a speeding train and it took every bit engagement to stay on top of where we were at any given point. But see, that's why I'm not a "doer", because I'm an observer. That was decided last year, sitting up in Lou's Pittsburgh attic late at night after the bar, discussing with him the importance of recognizing what role you have in society. I'm mediocre at doing things. I'm much better about just trying to remember and record them.

Later still we drove up the south side hill, where the lacy mansions lay hidden by trees, and went to his mother's house, where she was up watching tv. He wanted to show me the house, and it was so beautiful, guys. The woodwork, with lattices shadowing up the walls and the white ornate plasterwork, the random huge stained glass windows, and more humble lead windows. So many corners, all the corners and settees a girl could want. I drank Sprite and vodka, he played the upright Steinway in the front hall for a few minutes, and after he passed out somewhere, his mother showed me all the childhood photos of him, we talked about him, his life, how it affected hers. She pointed out he would never date anyone who smoked. I reassured her that wasn't my intention, but also told her that she should feel free to guilt trip me as much as possible about this smoking thing, and so she did. Incredibly effectively. I went to bed feeling like the worst smelliest loser, but also in complete awe of Southern Moms. The place was so full of stuff, books and artwork and glass trinkets. I crashed in the guest bedroom, on a very tall bed, the kind of bed that makes me feel short trying to climb on and off of. I left the door open so the cats could come in and sleep with me, but they didn't.

In the morning the battleship on the river was lit up gold and blue, a thick streak of pale pink in the background behind it, the tower of instruments and wires shining like a pope's crown in the sunrise. One little glowing neuron in the morning's chain reaction.

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