I did laundry this weekend, two whole loads. It was time. Actually, it was well past time. For the last three weeks I’ve been avoiding the chore, figuring no one would catch on if I never wore the same shirt to work two days in a row. I could conceivably continue in this manner indefinitely if it weren’t for the smell. Even with a cushy office job, the pits can get a little ripe after a while.
So I took care of that task. Along with sleep, feeding myself, and basic personal hygiene, the bare essentials were checked off my to-do list. It was time to get creative.
I have a couple of good ideas for stories (along with countless bad ones) but I felt this weird inertia that kept me from diving into either of them. I wasn’t too worried. It was only Saturday afternoon and my muse would either return to me or wouldn’t.
I spent a couple of hours on Stickam chatting with a friend of mine in Europe. He’s usually a good conversationalist and it was my hope that some witty banter would provide a colonic for my writer’s block
There were two factors that kept this from working out as well as I liked. The first was the time-zone difference. My friend was nine hours ahead so mid afternoon for me was past midnight for him. The second factor was the lump of hashish he decided to smoke. In a few short moments, an engaging and intelligent human being was transformed into a spaced-out dullard with sleepy-creepy Baldwin eyes. I was on my own.
So there I was, craving an artistic outlet but not knowing quite what to write. If I could draw, paint, or play an instrument, I might have created something beautiful that I could be proud of. Instead I had to make do with whatever was within reach, which turned out to be a roll of toilet paper, a bottle of Tapatio hot sauce, and a plastic baby head.
The baby head, purchased in Japan in 2003, is actually a piggy bank with the coin slot in the location of the fontanel. Now before any of you jump to conclusions, let me just say that the slot is too narrow and the plastic too hard to use the head as a sex toy. Besides, I’m not just some sicko. I have the soul of an artist. That’s why I used the hot sauce and toilet paper to make it look like the baby had its eyes gushed out and then was hastily bandaged in a futile attempt to keep the blood from gushing down its face.
So that was Saturday. Sunday was, of anything, even less productive. I finished reading Roald Dahl’s My Uncle Oswald, which I enjoyed for the most part but was a little let down by the ending. I’ve read books with worse endings (most of Harry Crews’ work falls under this category), but Dahl’s short stories have never lacked for satisfying and twisted conclusions.
I eventually found my way down to the Argus, as I am prone to do. I waited until after the Giant’s game was over because I don’t do well around sports fans who are drunk and stupid enough to think that their home-team hard on had any bearing on the outcome of the game. Instead I showed up while the 49ers were playing. They suck this year so the crowd was not nearly so rowdy.
I took out my notebook and scribbled down the opening to one of the stories. It wasn’t much but it was something I could work with. Every little bit helps.
I was still feeling distracted so I started surfing the web on my iPhone. I learned that the flood of red sludge in Hungary had actually killed people, at least seven of them. The phrase “Hungarian Ghoulish” popped into my head and I was proud of myself coming up with that. I wanted to turn that into something, a poem perhaps. I never got that far in this endeavor, probably because I could not decide between this opening verse:
I can barely hold my breath
and this one:
I can barely hold my fudge
There are some things in life best left unaccomplished.