Thank you for reading. If you like what you see, there is more just like it at glaringcontinuity.com
I Owe You
To Coach Steve Feaver, I remember coming to practice with a sprained ankle in the early weeks of swim season my sophomore year, that would make it January, cold. You could see the swelling, the black and blue as I pulled my pantleg up to prove my reasoning. I'm hurt, coach. You smiled, "drag it behind you, you'll be okay." I did and I was, but it struck me that you knew how to push people to make them better.
Pugilist At Work
It’s 03:58 on a Tuesday morning. I stand darkening the doorway of a building whose stucco is falling off in trapezoidal sheets. Water has infiltrated the cracks in the plaster, and large portions want to peel off high up on the front of the building. There is a gutter but no downspout, and it is obnoxious when it rains. Water falls 25 feet to the ground and lands close to the front sidewalk. A man limps to the sound of my knocking on a tin rollup door with a knee brace on, his keys jangling. I pull on the steel grid frame, but it is dead bolted from the inside with a key. That is not going to pass the fire marshal inspection, I think.
A Gateway Of Lemons
There was a whole bag of lemons to squeeze in the kitchen. Big yellow ones with pointy ends and thick skin. I think they were Lisbons, because they were certainly not Meyers. Their rind was hearty and fragrant and I didn’t know what to do with them. It’s a funny fruit in that you don’t ever really need them in kilogram quantities. One or two here and there for a drink or a recipe will suffice, but on this day I had kilos. The ones at the bottom of the bag started to grow a furry layer of blue-green fuzz during their time in ambient temperature. Penicillium mold of some kind. These were hard-earned lemons from a tree in my cousin’s back yard. He shared them with me as any good cousin would do when they’ve stumbled into a trove of fruit. It might have been currency a few hundred years ago in some barren, forlorn land. I couldn’t let these go to waste, so I woke up nice and early before the sun came up and brewed a strong batch of coffee. I started slicing them in half on a cutting board in the kitchen while my wife slept in the bedroom. I tried to be quiet, and figured that if I could just pull a few out at a time and get them in half, I could squeeze them with my hands and squish their insides with a lobed wooden mandrel that I found in the top drawer. That’s where we keep wierd kitchen utensils. Once I got the juice into a bowl, I would divvy the bowl into freezer bags and have lemon juice for the rest of my life and possibly part of my future kid’s lives.
When I was 12, I made friends with my cousin. He’s my cousin’s husband actually, but it’s all the same to me. They were recently married at the time. He and I became friends because it was summer and I liked to fish as much as he did. I couldn’t drive, so I’d ride shotgun in his 70’s Ford Maverick. The window crank on the passenger side was replaced with a pair of vice-grips. The floor was littered with empty chip bags and cigar butts. There were dented surplus military canteens and rolls of duct tape and little patches of sawdust and oilstains on the blue carpet. The tires were bald and underinflated. You could hear them squeal around mild turns in the highway as we drove up near the power station in the town of Snelling, CA. He took on the name “Maverick”, despite that he had sold the old blue monster long ago. The car had been converted from 3 on the tree, to 4 on the floor and it ran like a sewing machine.
I have never liked house cats much. I'm allergic to their fur and the way that they always seem entitled to their territory. They aren't aware of their own domestication and how good they have it, typically. The constant napping, the raised tail, the way they scratch and bite whenever they are in a bad mood, the way they come and go as they please. I don't like the smell of cat food or the havoc they cause in the garden. Their habits and personalities leave much to be desired in my estimation. Compared to dogs, they appear ungrateful, impersonable, they put me ill at ease with their dispassionate malaise. Perhaps I am biased from my own experience. The fact remains, domestic cats are at best an inferior analog to their jungle-dwelling predecessors. Those that hunt in streaks and prides, those that can take down full-grown ungulates in the desert or the rainforest. Those whose haunting figures are carved into cave walls, legendary in strength and speed. Feared among tribes and people across the world and throughout history. There's cats on other continents that can climb a tree with a full grown deer carcass in their mouth. I heard that once, and I bet it's true.
The Art of Shuteye
Among the things that I can measure to judge the condition of my physical life, sleep quality is the most accurate and reliable indicator of whether I am in a good place or not. As a young fellow, there were 8 years of mismanaged nonsense that I regret to some degree. Supposing that hindsight is perfect and impossible to act upon, I guess it isn't fair to think I could redo anything. Perhaps if it were possible I'd let my younger self know that it was a dead-end road. Unfortunately, I have more data to represent my mistakes than I do my successes in this. The only way the list makes sense is if I write it as though it applied to me back then. It certainly isn't a scientific approach, but it is how things ended up. Maybe it'll help you as 2022 approaches, I'm still trying to abide.
He didn’t know who owned it, but the property was abandoned like you might imagine abandoned to look in an old time movie. A caricature of itself. Tall, dry weeds season after season had grown through rotted tires and rolls of fence wire and bent metal posts along the edge of the dirt road. A giant fuse waiting to be lit. The road led up and around a bend where the apple orchard ended. It must have been dead for a decade at least, maybe longer. Everything was dead here in the last light of the day. The sunset off in the low Western hills reminded him of his serious time problems. He was running out of it.
He didn’t know who owned it, but the property was abandoned like you might imagine abandoned to look in an old time movie. A caricature of itself. Tall, dry weeds season after season had grown through old tires and rolls of fence wire and bent metal posts along the edge of the dirt road. A giant fuse waiting to be lit. The road led up and around a bend where the old apple orchard ended. It must have been dead for a decade at least, maybe longer. Everything was dead here in the last light of the day. The sunset off in the low Western hills reminded him of his serious time problems. He was running out of it.