Caffeine-Free Tidings

Friday, June 24, 2005

This is difficult for me. I’m not drinking yummy caffeine today because lately I’ve found myself drinking it in preparation for writing, i.e., I would drink hours before I planned to write to rev myself up. That’s ridiculous, of course, and I drank it not for the revving reason but because I felt I had to, which is a sure sign that I’ve been drinking too much of it.

To avoid that fate, I cut off my caffeine for today and probably the rest of the weekend, with one caveat: there is a remote possibility that this weekend the hospital will call Doolies for a delivery of one of her “continuity patients.” If this happens, I will find myself with two choices: sit around Doolies’s spacious apartment basking in the glow of her television; or escaping her apartment and heading to Banana Bread, her local (chain) coffee/lunch shop with free internets. If that most unfortunate of happenings occurs, and I chose the second option (a slight possibility with lovely television waiting unrestricted for me to watch), then I might partake in the yummy-ness known as caffeine, err, coffee.

I keep promising myself that I will write a story-ish entry, and I keep trying and failing. My discipline is waning on this issue, and I continue to pound out words toward my Goal that have no value and are terribly uninteresting to read.

Tried and true, grayness descends over veiled sight. I wait in the gray clad airport, people stream by across stainless steel walls and glass overlooking skies of gray. The door opens and lines of people walk out, looking dazed as they exit as if they expected a warm reception from the gathered people. We’re not waiting for you buddy, keep it moving so we can get on sometime today, I’d say if they asked. But they don’t, they walk past and break their straight lines looking for their baggage or the toilets or their loved ones, but not here at the gates.

People chat on their phones or watch the television, the speaker blaring in half of the seated area: to keep people in a stressful situation calm, it’s always best to put a television in front of them. The news replays interviews on today’s kidnapped or missing or runaway child, as the man- or child-hunt for her continues through the airwaves. Today’s story of the day. We’re not happy unless something miserable is happening to others, and then we want to watch the horror, keeping watch over how we would feel in their situations but being secure that it isn’t our situation, it’s their situation, and we’re safe at home, and our children are safe at home, and watching the show is like watching a movie where we don’t know what’s going to happen at the end, and because of that, it’s rather exciting. We hope for a happy ending, but we’re sometimes more satisfied with the unhappy ending, our feelings can extend in those situations for longer than they would if everything turned out okay, a prank, or a fake runaway bride, calling in her own kidnapping and rape. Why do we care? I don’t, but the television subjects me to it as if I don’t have a will of my own. I don’t, obviously, not here, in this public space where the television caters to the least of our society, which is to say, the majority of the society who want to dwell in the world of conflict and adversary because their lives are oh so dull, not realizing that the reason they are dull, their lives, that is, is because of what they don’t do, what they sit around and hope to do from the distance of the screen.

Everyone is traveling somewhere today or returning to somewhere. I’m traveling, leaving on a jet plane, but I do know when I’ll be back, which is a bit disappointing. Work was short today with little accomplished except counting the minutes until I escaped and made my way home. I watched a movie, but the clocked ticked on and I left the house too early to hunt dinner at the airport lounges, and find a place to patter away on the keys to say something so I could say that today I said something, like every day. It wasn’t a thing of beauty or a thing of interest, but it was a thing, and in my strange state of NEQID, as I attempt to improve myself and those around me—even those unwilling—I feel this is the step that will take me over the falls into the rushing whitewater.

The walk around looking for chairs. He has black hair, like a helmet. Wears a brown leather coat and runs by me too quickly to find the other details. A mustache, I believe, but he’s gone now, a silhouette against the brilliant windows, where the sun hasn’t even thought about setting. We’re still in the long days, but now the days are growing shorter. They’ll feel like forever for the next few weeks, but afterwards, it’ll grow darker earlier and we’ll wonder where the daylight went.

There is a water fountain behind me with a funny, artistic touch: with each touch of the button, a loud gulping sound of water is sounded from a hidden speaker, startling the drinker and amusing the children who wait nearby, ready to jump out and laugh at the unsuspecting drinker. If I was drinking, I’d pretend it was nothing or perhaps pretend I was deaf so the children’s amusement would be less. It goes with my cool, On the Road, persona. I’m the Dean of today’s world. But don’t tell him because if he didn’t live in a book, he would hunt me down and slap me silly for pretending to be as cool or as out there as he claims to be.

Words of lords and mages try to escape me and I fight them, digging my teeth deep into their substance and refusing to let go until I stop typing. I wrote those before, those words of stories that go nowhere, and I went nowhere, as I’m wont to do. One of these days, I keep telling myself, things will be different. I will not pound out words like this, these consternated, if highly stylized, at least for today, words in an attempt to reach that not climbable Goal. I wish I could climb it and get it done with, a few moments of pain and then it would disappear and there would little for me to do.

My bags are heavy today. In lieu of the dragging bag I brought my backpack and packed it until I can barely lift it or throw it over a shoulder. I also have my shoulder bag, but I can lift that. The added weight of the two bags is almost too much for me. The flight should leave in an hour from now, which gives me time to press out these paragraphs and run to the toilet before the plane sits at the gate and loads the passengers. I’m hoping there are many children going to Disney. There don’t seem to be that many when I look, but I’ve since forgotten what most of them look like, or, more exactly, I’ve forgotten to look for them most times I’ve boarded, living in my own world of searching for my seat and looking down at everyone around me.

It’s hot in here and I brought my jacket. The guy across from me interests me. He has a Mac G4 on his lap over a carrying case that might be cool if it wasn’t full of Velcro. He has curly brown hair, which is receding slightly in the front. You wouldn’t notice it if you weren’t looking for it or didn’t have experience. He wears brown, rectangular glasses over his pale white face. He wears a yellow button down shirt and a black hiking blazer. His pants are black as well with black sneakers. He has three bags to bring on the plane, the gray computer bag fits nicely in his computer bag. It looks like he’s reading the internets, something I find myself doing too often instead of working or writing, but those are the breaks. Distractions dominate me and I want to give them their due.

Lots of phone calls are going on around me. I’m glad this ends, the phone calls, when the plane closes its doors. There is talk of allowing the calls on the plane. The FAA and the FCC are in discussions, perhaps to form the FBB to regulate the phones on the airplanes. I’m too clever sometimes I hurt myself. I’m trying to get the rest of these words out so I can relax on the airplane and read the New Yorker and my current book. I forget its name, but it’s in my books list. I like it. He has a poetic writing style that I would strive for if I understood it. I read another of his books about a CIA agent in a wheelchair. I didn’t like it when I read it, but I seem to remember to many of its details not to have somehow touched by its words. It is similar to movies that I don’t think I liked until I find myself thinking about them weeks later, wondering about this or that aspect, a sure sign that my dislike of the movie was probably misunderstood or misdirected.

My hands and wrists are buzzing from too much uncomfortable leaning, and the warmth of the computer is not helping me concentrate. I’ll be done with this and fetch a chocolate chip cookie before my flight. I already had Chinese food in the airport. There’s a conspiracy amongst the airport Chinese food places. They all serve the same food at, what I’m assuming, the same price. The bourbon chicken lady gives free samples because the mix of bourbon and salt makes the first bite much better than the rest. Dinner, however, found me hungry and I scarfed it down while watching CNN and Larry King, who, I don’t understand, still cares about the ridiculous people he interviews. Doesn’t he see how empty his interviews are? He’s a skinny one, his shoulders seemingly popping up from his thin shirts, and his suspenders holding his chest from jumping out of his skin. That wasn’t the poetic description I hoped for, but I can’t always find the words, and I’ve accepted that.

A couple is playing their walkman too loud, the speakers around their neck instead of over their ears. Who are they trying to impress with that tinny noise? I’m sure if they were given the option they’d be driving an SUV with the doors open and the music pumping out.

I’m hitting upon my last few words and they could not come soon enough. I’ll have more to say tomorrow, I hope. I’ll stick the fork in today and write it off to too much not thinking at work, and too little driving in traffic, attempting to control the road rage that promises to squash me one of these days. I thought that would do it, but there are still twenty-five words to the Goal. Make that only seven. And this one should do it.

***

I won't bother posting this in a separate post because, well, it's nothing...again.

“When do you think they’re going to send us out?”

“You’re that anxious to get into a fight?”

“Are you the new mage?”

“That’s me. Where’s the lord?”

“Sir Dendle is at the front of the lines, preparing for our next move. Do you need an escort?”

“No, I should be able to find him. Thank you.”

He wore flowing yellow robes as someone fitting his stature. He graduated from the mage academy the past Friday, and he received his first assignment: supporting Sir Dendle in his fight against the barbarians from the north. They provided him with provisions and a horse, and he spent three weeks riding to the front.