Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Let's see.  Sunday was Valentine's Day.  A shift looked forward to starting in December, the holidays are coming, the special menu nights.  And Sunday wound down, finally, after much, and then it was snowing.  It was really snowing.

And then there was Monday.  A Federal Holiday, and the snow turning from slush on the salted roads to freezing rain, no, it's not going to be a big night at The Old Dying Gaul.  The musicians cancel, a trio, gypsy swing, minutes before the door opens.  What are you going to do?  Send the busboy home.  And yet, there are the people, couples, who couldn't make it on the big night of Valentines Day, and who now come.  Their special night.  No one told me.  The night will drag on, even as the signal from the kitchen is close early, 8:30.

The romantics are not the only ones to drop by.  Regular brings cousin, who is going overseas, to foreign places where wars are being fought, where no form of booze is served in deployment.  Time to have a good dinner, and a Paul Mas.  Okay.  So this is not going to be as simple as the plan that comes from the exterior.

The two meet the other two,  there's a birthday to celebrate, regular hooks up with the storied other two, and everyone wants to go out a cigar bar.  Out on the street, now that every last soul from the restaurant is gone except for those late night people, a coating of glare ice over everything, and the bricks out front, the sidewalk, that four millimeter thick frozen layer.

"Come meet us out at Clyde's."  But I know, what I have to do, to restock, since I've had no busboy to help, and the Latin help isn't so engaged when they come to help.  It will be an interesting ride home, bundled up like a space man.  The main roads have been salted.  Before leaving I walk carefully across the street to see what the backstreets are like, and even with knobby tires, it looks dangerous.

I get home okay.  No Uber Navigators getting aggressive on my position as I drop down Wisconsin Avenue.  And up the last street, a car crashed into Sheridan Circle, the same perfect ice rink coating, such that one had to grip on railings.  In the door, the bike having been through it, dripping.

Takes a long time to all asleep.  War & Peace on TV.  Guitar, banjo...

And then the next day.  Again it's going to be slow.  Wake late, but the ice, and all the snow have melted perfectly, even, as I find, facing the wind, in the woods.

Face the same thing.  Try to make something of famous wine tasting.  Beaujolais Blanc, Provence Rouge.   And it's another slow one, close the kitchen early, but then yet again, everyone comes up to the bar, that's cool.

Then, getting on the bike again, to go home.  And finally, I get back to the circle of Lincoln's short general who did well in the blue ridge.   There is a homeless man camped out with his material on the eastern side of the circle underneath the tree that has been tended to.  And somewhere there is the sound of a cat crying.  And where is the cat sound coming from?  Over west by Korea?

I get riding around the circle, and the sound is louder, and it the sound is traced to the bushes in front of the grandest building, a work which curves with the circle, Beaux Art, happens to be the residence of the Egyptian Ambassador.

There it turns out there are two cats who are crying upset at each other.  In my bike headlamp I see two shiny eyes in the darkness of bushes, and then I see a cat, a large one, and then, the other, and they are not happy with each other.  They fight, I shout, being a good Christian, "stop it, boys," and then a man comes out the front door urgently with a flashlight.

There are two cats, fighting, I explain.  What?  Cats, I tell him.  One is grey, one is orange, I explain.  Cats?  Sorry, I say.

And then it occurs to me, as I pedal away.  "Really, two cats..."  The guy has enough problems.

The next day I awake, feeling the week's shifts, the neighbor's kind cat comes down and chirps at me like cheetas do as I stir some astragalus powder into my dragon well tea.  I remember the conversation at the bar mouth with a  kind lady from the neighborhood up at work.  It was about my book, the book I wrote.  I'm a little too busy, but she mentions 'how could you remember all that...' and we chuckle when I shrug and gesture toward a wine bottle.  But she is kind, and has enjoyed reading so far.  And an interesting comment, that it is not about being part of mainstream commercial literature book trade.  It's about the meaning of the act of writing, about the spirituality of the novelist inherent.  "Of course, now you have to go and write some novels," yes that is the problem.  But there's a big market for that these days, spirituality...

Oh well, what can you do, you get up when you get up, which has to do with how work revs your engine, how much, how long, at what time, the false lulls, the late hit, etc.   And so, after a pot of tea, running late, I hit the shower, and get ready for Jazz Night number Two, during which I will be bedeviled by various camps...

The warm energetic waters reach down, refreshing my DNA, and I decide to shave after all.  And my earth mother friend, free from ego, has reminded me of something that the male, in his ungentle struggles with his body against the weight of labors, needed reminding of.  The spiritual quest, the struggle of trying to be a decent person, and in the book, not just totally solely about one's own romantic failures and the stuff of heartbreak, but of some kind of a values system, shaky at that age, as it might always be, not quite fully formed, a work in progress.  And that helps.  So I cross myself, hope the silliness will not come tonight, that I won't waste my male energies tomorrow, distracted, in the lazy spirit of the day off...   And I will write about it all.

Wist ye not, the spirit is the novel, as it has  always been.

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