I should start recording the little events of life here again. That's what it's for, after all.
So, before I forget, as I look up at the date, it occurs to me that today is the anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire that killed Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffey, and Ed White in 1967, if I'm not mistaken.
Tuesday night, Larry came over. He brought loads of DVDs with him... the whole Johnny Quest collection, Invader Zim volumes I and II, a few others. A little after seven, the phone rang. Turned out it was Dave over in Dublin. Yeah, Ireland. He was soused, and had three euros left on his cell phone card, so while he stood at the edge of a field waiting for a cab, he just up and phoned me. The conversation was kind of disjointed, and given that we'd never spoken a word to each other before, it took me about 15 seconds just to figure out who it was. All in all, kind of weird, but funny. We're living in a remarkable age, when you think about it.
Larry stayed over, but we didn't get up to anything. We haven't for a long time now. That's cool; it's not the nature of our relationship anymore. Still, when we came out of the apartment in the morning while one of my Chinese neighbours was waiting for the elevator, I remember wondering what assumptions he was making. How ironic that where he once would have been right, he now would have been mistaken to assume it was what it looked like.
Today's Thursday and I mean to finish copying the John Weldon video I got out of the library (due back tomorrow). If I don't, I have to phone them up and renew, and to me, that's just admitting I was too lazy to manage it in a week. Tomorrow night I'm supposed to go out to the Monk and Firkin with P-Doug about 8:30. I like those times with P-Doug. I can talk about things I don't get to talk about with anyone else. The beer's not that great for my gut or my wallet, but it's kind of "our" place now. Be better in the summer when it's warmer, though. Still, I'd like to drop about twenty pounds by then. I'm working on it... I'm working on it. ;)
Saturday I'm going to down Parkdale to hang around at Tan's, likely with Roc. I'm looking forward to that too. We were talking about doing it last week but the weather didn't cooperate. I told Roc if we were getting 6" of snow during the day, I wasn't driving down there. He offered to pick Tan up and bring him to my place. I didn't want to say anything, but if I wasn't going to hit the roads, with 17 years of driving experience, what made him think it was such a hot idea with a little over a year's worth? I told him, nah, wait till next weekend. This weekend looks like better weather, if colder. It's been almost mercilessly cold the last couple of weeks around here. I sure hope we get a warm, early spring. We deserve it.
All the while in the background is the knowledge that Jody's dad, Jim, is undergoing treatment for cancer again. He has this interesting, often confounding outlook on it... at once, resigned to the desperation of it, and yet still determined to beat it. It's almost like talking to two different people at once. I'm scared for him, the same way I was for Jody... it's the same. I can't admit the likely eventuality. It feels like treason to do that, as though my hope and good intentions made some material difference in the world, and withdrawing them would make the events they supposedly guard against more likely. It's a strange, superstitious way to live your life; it defies the sort of logical outlook I like to imagine I have. Makes a lie of it. But there it is. That's who I am. I look at the picture of Jody I have here at my desk — something I never had while he was alive — and I'm more acutely aware of him now than I was all those years he was a young man in good health with decades ahead of him to share with me. And so now all that is transferred to Jim; it becomes his inheritance... a reversal of fate, something handed down from son to father... the aching regard of some distant, powerless little man. I can't stop imagining talking to him years from now, though he's the first to gently remind me that's unlikely. Isn't it odd that the one more immediately facing the darkness has more courage than the one for whom the end is still nebulous?
Simon sent around this list of goofy questions. You fill it out and send it out to friends, and they do the same. Supposedly you learn things about them by this. What you really learn is which questions evoke snappy answers in which person. But in the course of it, a few people teased Alan about his recent (i.e., married fatherhood) incommunicativity (is that even a word? Well, it is now...). This morning he sent me e-mail with his work phone number, so I called him when I got in and we talked for about fifteen minutes. We're supposed to link up Friday next week. I sure hope we do... it's been about a year, maybe more, since I've seen him. A far cry from 1999, when I saw him every workday and often on weekends.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
It's my day for sad old songs.
The laptop they gave me in October has a great CD burner in it. I moved some of my MP3s over to it and burned a disk (just picked up 50 blanks for $16); I'm going to see if they'll work in my car. It's been surprisingly stubborn about playing burned disks. Some work, some don't.
Anyway, I'm reviewing the disk. The song that's playing now is Feels Like Heaven by Fiction Factory. It's from the late 80s, but it really escaped my notice till I was in Curry's art supply store one day in summer 2003 with my buddy Roc. I found a copy of it and I can remember testing Camtasia software by filming an icon of Invader Zim's dog-suited robot Gir dancing while I played the song. I sent it to Jody to amuse him. That was during the beautiful renaissance in which everyone, especially Jody, believed he'd beaten the cancer and come through the other side. There were still months of good times ahead before that awful day he told me he was feeling the pain again.
So many of these songs have become about Jody, and the strange but beautiful, multi-layered relationship we shared all those years. I've written about that in this journal time and again, and though I'm aware of it,I make no apologies for it. It still makes me desperately sad to remember I've lost him, that his cleverness, kindness, humour, and uncomplicated, unconditional brotherly love exist only inside me, standing like the sole remaining support of an elegant bridge, tumbled into the water with the support on the far shore gone. You know, it still hurts. But oddly enough, deep down, my greatest fear is that someday it might not. What an utter betrayal that would be... of myself, of Jody. I would be a whole other person if that happened, and the person I am now would be dead too, because my love for Jody and our friendship is a defining characteristic of who I am. I wouldn't be the person I am now without him, those ten years. And dozens of other people could make that same claim.
O simple thing, where have you gone? I'm getting older and I need something to rely on...
So I end on a happier note... Someday, Someway by Robert Gordon.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Yesterday around noon I decided, damn the snow. I want to go to Wal-mart and get an electric wok.
Well, I didn't exactly get that. I bought an electric skillet instead. Made really great fried eggs with it this morning. But I digest...
So on my way back, taking it easy along 16th Ave., I come to a set of lights where the signal is just about to turn green for us. Doesn't some asshole turning left into the lane I'm in decide to race the light. He hits the skids, and his car turns 180 degrees, facing sideways, pointed in the direction he just came from, in front of me and the guy in the lane beside me. Luckily, we had plenty of time to slow down, and let this jerkoff right his car. And when he does, I see his bumper sticker.
"KISS A PILOT".
Terrific. The federal government lets this dickwad fly a plane.
So I'm watching him, wishing I could get in front of him so he could read my bumper sticker, which says "pog mo thon" — "kiss my ass" in Irish Gaelic. As it turns out, I do manage to pass him, as he stays in the westbound lane and I move into the left turn lane at the next intersection. I glance over. Huge beard, giant turban the colour of Big Bird's ass. Really. Welcome to Canada, numb nuts. Get some driving lessons; the temperature occasionally falls below "tropical" here.
Friday, January 07, 2005
It's been a while since I posted anything on here. A few things have gone on, of course.
Well, first of all, it's seven months today since Jody died. He's been in my mind a lot lately. Yesterday, I printed a photo of him to put beside the little cedar chest with his ashes. It was the one where he's sitting at his computer desk, turning in his chair, smiling at the camera. I guess it's from 1999 or 2000 or so. Everything was still ahead of him.
Jody's dad has started chemo and radiation treatments again. He says he'll fight but I sense a certain resignation. He keeps saying that he's on the same path as Jody was. But what else can he say, I guess? He did all that research in the course of Jody's illness. He knows what's typical.
Trying to think what else. There's a lot, but I just don't have the patience to lay it all out right now. I'll try to get back to this later.