Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Life These Days

Its been a while.

And in one voice you say: "Amen!"

Nearly two months has gone by, (not quietly, I should add) since I last wrote. My apologies.
Pluto still lives in exile, but most of the other matters I mentioned in my last post have faded into distant memory. So if you were to ask me about something I mentioned a while ago, please don't be offended if you don't get anything but a blank stare.

In six weeks a great deal has changed. I have a new home. I have new opportunities. New challenges. New scenery. New underwear. New friends. (The old ones kinda blew.)

It occurs to me that I've not really gone into too great of detail about different aspects of my life since this summer began. The simple truth: I've become lazy with regards to this blog. It has surprised me to find out that people have actually been checking in to see what's up, and how disappointed they must be recently. I believe I should make it a higher priority. Sleep, already a precious commodity, will have to take another one for the team.

I anticipate several sessions in order to try and say all that should be said...

I now reside in the lovely Cleveland suburb of Chagrin Falls. An old, historic town which has not changed much on the face in the last one hundred years.
There is actually a waterfall here,(see photo) as well as a popcorn shop, an Hermes boutique and a well-patronized Starbucks. Aside from that, the hills are sprinkled with various high-priced homes, some old and historic (like the one in which I currently reside,) and some which are shiny new trophies, wearing a pair of freshly waxed Lexus' like a pair of earrings.

I have been rather ashamed at times to enjoy my time here so much. After living six years in Cleveland, (not exactly the envy of the country) and experiencing so much economic segregation, I have been embarassed to be in the midst of so much wealth. People here have done quite well, attending the appropriate college so that they could achieve "the" job and make "the" money for "the" car, and it has been such a inverse experience from metro Cleveland.
In Cleveland, to have nothing, means you complained about it, took pride in your poverty and generally kept it near the front of your mind.
In Chagrin Falls, you have a great deal, discuss it with your other equally wealthy and attractive friends, take great pride in your position, become bored and go buy a new sport coat.
I can not and will not fault anyone for their successes, but it is a sad truth that many of these people are owned by their possessions. Yet if someone offered me $200,000 a year to play viola, would I turn it down?

My second mother has taken me in, given me shelter, and even food. A warm bed and a place which I am instructed to call home. There are no words to express my gratitude to her, and I fear I could not afford an object which might express it for me. "It's the little things," I'm told.
I have discovered a weakness: housework. I abhor it, and I am also abhorent at it. If you give me a mop and instruct me to "look busy," I must fight very hard against my synapes shutting off. Vision becomes blurry. I stagger about as a man lost and confused, grasping at anything around me, knocking things to the floor, only to realize that I now have to clean that up as well. It is, as you say, NOT a gifting.

I can complete a household task, but I have no instinct for it. I must be instructed as to what chore to perform, for I could stand in front of Mt. St. Helens and innocently ask "what mess?"

I strive to do better. I shall do my laundry. I shall not leave my shoes lying about. I shall wash dishes. I will not trap the cat between the screen and outer doors. I will try to make my bed.

It does not look hopeful for that last one.

To Fill Up the Time I work at the Stone Oven Bakery in Cleveland Heights. No, we don't bake the bread on premises, but it is done downtown in our own bakery. And yes, the oven is made of stone.

(I intend to start a competing venture named the "Dutch Oven." Anyone? Anyone? Good. A few of you are laughing.)

I made the brilliant gesture of telling the store owner, John, that I would like to work 30 - 40 hours a week. Then school began again, and 60% of the work force returned to school, leaving about six of us holding onto the bread basket. I've gotten a good many hours of work there, which has helped to bring in steady income, but somewhere between your 3,500th turkey and provlone sandwich and a poppyseed tea biscuit you begin an inner dialogue with yourself that sometimes leads to disastrous consequences.

"Hi, what can I get for you today?"

A cup of coffee, I'll bet.

"Do you want the apricot, raspberry or poppyseed?"

Ooh, a tea biscuit. Way to shake things up there...

"Anything else for you?"

Remind me again; what is it you do?

"That'll be $1.85."

...'cause I remember that you were in college for something. Now what was it...

"Thank you."

Ah, big tipper. A whole 'nother 15 cents to split three ways! In another three months you can buy that bag of Doritos you were eying at Walgreens last night. I saw you. Don't try and hide it from me. I'm you, remember?

"Hi, do you know what you want?"

Oh, wait. Didn't we do something in music?

"What kind of bread do you want that on?"

Ten bucks says she goes for the multigrain.
Aha! You owe yourself ten bucks.

"And what side do you want with that?"

Here it comes.....

"Potato Chips, Tabouli or Cous cous are your choices."

Tabouli. Tabouleh. Taloubah...

Cous Chip chip. Potatoah Chip Chip

"That'll be $6.45"

In your ear.

"And what name can we call whe your order's ready?"

Why can't the women be younger who eat here?

Ethel. Figures.

Eight hours later we emerge having done battle against the ravages of dirty dishes, the onslaught of the bread slicer and of course, the mind numbing psychological war fare of prattle with the customers. How much of this stuff can some people eat? I don't have to pay for it and I'm kind of tired of it! Why would you pay seven bucks a day for it?!

I could do a whole lot worse when it comes to a job, but I have grown so increasingly thankful for my music making gigs which take me away from the Stone Prison for days at a time. Case in point: this weekend. But that's a story for next time, kids.