Sunday, June 26, 2011

Proof that I have had too much exposure to bizarre things as of late.

Life has been pretty eventful, so I apologize for not bringing any witticisms this way for a bit. I'll get back into the swing at some point, once things slow down. But I did want to venture this way to tell you all about one of my more bizarre dreams. I don't normally share that sort of thing, because I don't think most people really care usually. It can be kind of boring subject matter. But this one had me not wanting to wake up. It was that entertaining.

I start off running down Broadway near the Schnitz, on all fours. I'm barefoot, in the street, and keeping with the flow of traffic. I can feel the asphalt under my hands and feet, but it feels surprisingly comfortable and natural. I specifically remember the way the green and red of the traffic signals played off of the varied surfaces of the asphalt rocks. It wasn't wet, but this is something that I tend to notice while crossing the street during my waking hours. There is something beautiful about that, and it was really showcased strongly in this part of the dream; almost prismatic in nature, moving and changing as I traveled over it.

I continued down Broadway until I came to Jefferson, which I followed up toward where I lived about a decade ago near Portland State University, in the Goose Hollow neighbourhood. I passed the apartment complex I once called home, and continued up a path to a much smaller, dingier place; still on all fours, still barefoot, through brambles, broken glass, rusty screws and nails, shattered bottles, caps of said bottles, gravel chunks, and unidentifiable detritus which really could have been anything. I was moving so fast, I was unable to determine exactly what some of it was. It was also darker up there, so that played a role.

I didn't want to get raped, mugged, or lopped. My objective? Unclear. But I was strangely motivated to move like I had never moved before. When I finally arrived at the appropriated complex, I noticed that it had several residences attached in a row, and it was kind of a strange setup. I had to tap in a code that I somehow knew to enter the premises, which sat behind an iron security door. Once inside; instead of a hallway, there was a long breezeway below what should have been a hallway leading to second floor units. I could see stars, since there was no roof. It wasn't exactly an atrium, not exactly a courtyard. Just a strange, seemingly unfinished corridor. They had only ever added planks to the hallways in the floors above and someone created makeshift catwalks using cheap plywood boards which did not meet the sides of the structure, leaving very large gaps on either side that one could easily fall through if not careful.

As I walked through, I felt something on my back. It landed with sort of a thud, and moved. It had claws, and before I really understood what was going on, the damn thing bit me. I grasped it, tearing it away from my body, and realized it was a rat! I threw it as far as I could. It hit the wall, sort of convulsed, then stopped moving altogether. My stomach lurched in discomfort, and I just wanted out of there, but I knew I needed to keep going.

Why? Well, that I did not know.

The farther down into the building I walked, the more rats there were. I picked another off of my back, only this one spoke to me: "You don't want to throw me, little lady! I am a nice rat! See? Feel my fur. Aren't I soft?"

I tried petting it, and while it was rather soft, it too, bit me. I gave its head a twist, broke its neck, and tossed it aside.


I finally reached my destination. The door was slightly opened, and I could hear the song "Time" by the Chamber's Brothers playing on the stereo. This song has long creeped me out. I have never liked it; especially the long version with the screaming man solo in the middle. Yeah, not my idea of a good time, listening to that.

The apartment was pretty drab. Typical basic 1970's unit with wood cabinetry, hollow doors, nicotine-yellowed walls, stale smoke lingering in the air, and brown shag carpet, which was strangely pristine. It seemed to have retained its original luster from the time of installation, which I am sure was not any time in the recent past, despite the unfinished nature of the building.

Not far from the front door, there was a sofa covered in crushed velvet embossed flowers. As I walked farther in, I noticed a man sleeping on the sofa, wearing a pair of white boxer shorts. Someone had placed a paper towel covered in hemostats and scalpels on the coffee table just adjacent. He had a cloth over his nose and mouth, that had begun to fall off. Of course I noticed this just as the screaming started in the song.


Soon, an acquaintance of mine walked in, and began working on the sleeping man. He said he'd used chloroform to put him to sleep, and he reassuringly told me the man could not feel a thing. He just wanted to fuck with him a little; not kill him. Did I want to watch?


But for some reason I wanted to make out with this person, so make out, we did. Because it's what you do. Right?

Not long after that, I found myself traveling back down Broadway using the same means I'd used before.


Really, brain? Really? I guess part of me wanted to wake up, and part of me wanted to know what happened to the man on the couch, and this weird person I hardly know who wanted to do demented things to him. I guess I will never know. Oh well.

Dreams are so strange. They can be so vivid and create such a storyline, and yet, these non-lucid thoughts are all very self-contained, only having to do with things that we have witnessed in our own lives.

The brain sure is one interesting, enigmatic motherfucker. I think it does like to have fun with our sensibilities when we are unable to reason with what is going on in there.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bill and Coo

I am often lulled to sleep by the lullaby of Birdland. I don't live at 52nd and Broadway in New York, but the pigeons here in Portlandia can be loud at times. There are lots and lots of them around here, and I suppose dealing with them is part of living in the city. We have installed roosting spikes so they can't shit all over my porch steps anymore. However, there is one spot we haven't quite gotten to yet, and I regularly have to scrape the area below.


There has been a bit of bird drama here since we have moved in, including a crow mob summit, the occasional spat on the roof next to my bedroom window, and even birdie murder.

Oy, vey!

I have dealt with most of this, because it has been easy. It has been distant. It has not really been anything that I felt connected to since it didn't directly affect me.

The day we installed the roosting spikes was a day that I still bristle thinking about. The truss in the front area of the porch is quite high; at least 20 feet. That is just where the two eaves meet. The beam where the pigeons were roosting is even higher than that. We don't really know how high it is, because when we tried measuring it without climbing, we attempted to do so with the tape measure, and that bent and fell over around 17 feet. When the time came for Mr. Hed to climb the ladder up there, we were more focused on him not falling to his gruesome death than curious about the height of the beam. So yeah... no clue.

The process of getting him up there was not remotely easy, or un-scary. We positioned the ladder on one of the middle porch steps, and he climbed up. This had to be done with a sliding ladder. We tried using a "Little Giant" leant to us by a friend, but alas, the "Little Giant" was too short. So, I stood there, on the step above where the ladder was positioned holding onto the fucker for both of our lives, and he climbed up. I think I may have conjured some superhuman strength for this, not unlike that demonstrated by Nadine in "Twin Peaks".

It didn't take long to install the spikes, and they do work, but lord, that was a freaky experience. We were both in tears by the time that was over. Totally worth it for cleaner porch steps though.

That said, please don't drive past my house right now expecting to see anything resembling a good sense of decorum. The porch needs another good cleaning. I will get to it this weekend. Yes, I will.

But to the story at hand: A-hem!

One morning a little over two weeks ago, I started a frittata in the oven. I had run my ass off the day before, and my back, as well as my legs were pretty stiff. I didn't feel like crouching down, and digging through a low cupboard for my usual single-serve, square baking dish. Instead, I grabbed a pan from the pot rack, and added the frittata to that. I placed it in the oven, set the timer, and went to the living room to hang out in my my favourite wing chair, drink my morning coffee and read for a little while.

I heard something. This something sounded close, and distressing. Then, I saw something. The board in front of our fireplace moved, and scared the living shit out of me; almost literally. I knew what was behind there, and truth be told, I am pretty freaked out by birds.

Yes. Birds. They freak me the fuck out.

I don't... usually think the birds are after me or anything, but I don't enjoy close contact with them. From a distance, they are cute, sure. But just wait until one decides to make your life hell! My dad had one, and good god, that bird was beyond psycho bitch. She would lure me in with her cuteness, then when I would stick my hand into her cage for her to climb off of her perch, she would bite. And hard! I am pretty sure she developed a taste for my particular blood early on.

She tricked me once by taking a liking to my mother. I thought for sure then, that she would come around and be nice.


I have a scar on the webbing of my right hand, between my middle, and ring finger from the time I was fooled. No more. No more, birds. Sorry, but y'all are unpredictable freaks.

So, you could imagine my distress when I heard that there was at least one in my damn fireplace. I was so scared, because city pigeons are worse than domesticated birds! They are like rats with wings! They are dirty! They carry disease! I did not want to have to remove it, but a friend told me I should before the thing hurt itself. But... what about Me? What about my baby!? She was upstairs playing in her room, but that was beside the point! What if the bird went insane, flew up there, and pecked her eyes out?



Shit. Fuck. Shit.

I steeled myself, digging the depths of my soul the confidence to open the makeshift door. All the while thinking about the thing freaking out, going after my eyes, rendering my 4 year old motherless, most of the day ahead of her alone. She'd sit there, crying, terrified, with my corpse on the floor; face half eaten by said motherfukcing pigeon, which would of course, be flying around, shitting all over her, and the living room at that point.


But, I did it. I put on my heavy-duty gardening gloves, got the broom, and I opened the door. The damn bird was petrified; standing toward the back corner of the fireplace. I was not very impressed by this, since I guess I was expecting more drama. But no. I had to actually use the broom to coax it out. It wasn't easy but it finally hopped out, then sort of hopped to the door, and out.

I closed the door, and thought that was the end of it.

A minute or two after securing the fireplace door, and sweeping the resulting detritus from that ordeal, the timer went off for my frittata.

Ring-a-ding-ding! It's a classy timer.

I went into the kitchen, replaced the gardening glove with my silicone oven mitt, and pulled a beautiful work of art from the oven. Ahh, breakfast.

I waltzed over to the cupboard, calling MicroSqueak from the depths of the toy closet. I pulled out a couple plates and took them back over to the stove area. At this point, I forgot that I had baked this creation, rather than cooked it on the stove, apparently. I went to release the dish from its hold, and forgetting to put the silicone mitt back on, I grabbed the handle of the pan I'd used, and ended up screaming in pain, in a heap on the kitchen floor.


My right hand sustained a blister that went all the way from mid-palm to the tips of my ring and pinkie fingers.


About 2 hours later, I heard yet another motherfucking pigeon in my fireplace. I wish I'd realized sooner that there were two in there.

What the hell pigeons!? My fireplace is not your speakeasy! Get out!

Well, this one would just have to wait for Mr. Hed to arrive home so that he could release her. I was not going to attempt to remove that stupid door again with an injured hand.

He did, and again it took some coaxing, but the crisis was averted. No more birds. At least for now.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Overheard... over my shoulder...

There are times when I am out and about, and I have the hardest time controlling my desire to just laugh at certain people, and their wacked-out conversations. I really want to turn around and ask them: "Are you really saying these words? Really?"

Last night was quite a doozy. I decided to grocery shop sans kids for a change, because I spend a lot less money when I can do that. It's true. I'm not buying extra snacks, drinks, dollies, and whatever else they bring to the cart with their sad eyes they know I'm a total softie for. It just works out better. But that is also the time when I am more likely to run into some goony-assed people.

Living in the Reed neighbourhood, I do see a lot of college kids; some drunk, some high, some... just being Reedies, which could be nothing, or a combination of many things. As I stood at the checkout counter of the grocery, I caught part of the conversation that was going on in the line adjacent to mine. They talked of the weather, and how it sure is cold for this time of year, still, and how could global warming be happening when it seems so cold?

Personally, I think we forget this every year. There have been many years in the past where it has remained cold into June. We are in the northern states, and it happens. Sometimes it floods. It is something that has happened throughout history. In fact, there are markers from the flood of 1894 all over downtown Portland, and they go up pretty damn high.

Also, isn't this a La Nina year? That damn Nina. It should go back to La La Land.

I am not attempting to debunk global warming, or even suggest that it is mythical. I do think it is a real thing that we ought to take more seriously than we do. But I also don't think the sky is falling, or that the world will end in the next day or two. Call me a lazy sunbather, but I just don't believe we are in imminent danger. Sure, changes need to be made, and we all need to work a little harder to live more sustainably, and I feel like I do my share of that. I don't buy a lot of new stuff all the time, 'cause Sting had it right when he said: "When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around." I have plenty old things in my life. Some are things I nurse and baby so I don't have to replace them. Other things are useful heirlooms our families have been generous with. I don't see the point in replacing every little thing that shows a little wear.

My plates don't match. Most are chipped, and sad. And while I do have some things that are nice, my preferred glass to drink from is an old Adam's peanut butter jar. It's huge, and I can get a lot of water down the hatch that way. Doesn't mean I don't like my fancier stuff, but I have to think of the everyday, and the required durability that brings on, having two little kids. It is an added bonus that this means I recycle, reduce, re-purpose, and reuse like mad.

That said, when I heard the actual conversation going on next to me, I channeled Sheila Broflovski from "South Park", and found myself saying inside of my head: 'Wha-wha-what??'

It went a little something like this:

Girl Behind Me: "So, I don't really get how this weather pattern that's happening now could be part of global warming. Why would it still be so cold? I think this weather thing is just something that is happening, and it ripples, and affects the whole world, to let us know we are all connected." I swear at this point, I think she may have twirled around and said "Tra la la," touching one toe with the opposite hand at the end of the twirl.

Oh lord.

I... well? I wanted to put a fucking bird on her right then and there.

Checkout Guy: "Well, I don't think global warming works like that. I have seen studies where they cite changes in weather patterns. We are going to see more extended springs, and milder winters as a result. Perhaps more Indian summers like the one we had last year. We need to take action NOW, as in RIGHT NOW, or we are going to pollute ourselves off the planet altogether."

Thank you, checkout guy. Can you see my irises through the back of my head? Let me move my hair out of the way.

Girl Behind Me, in kind of a wilty, lilting voice, making her sound like she is barely cognitive, and somewhat cowed at this point; as if looking into the sun for the first time, or speaking to someone with a brain... for the first time: "Oh... yeah, that totally makes sense."

Wow. Uh yeah. All connected are we. We are one, and we twirl, and we laugh, and we eat our sugar cubes... together, over the ocean, over the sea, holding hands, planking, covered in, and gliding with birds, as we should... through the day, through the night, then the day again... until we reach the sun... only we don't burn. We gaze, admire, stroke, dance, lock arms, and hug this beautiful, beautiful star. After all, we probably should, before it ends up killing us all like a big, hot, microwave oven.

Oh my. I think I will always prefer science. And perspective.

Connectedness, world peace, and sustainability are all fabulous concepts, and I do enjoy them, along with the occasional experience when everything lines up to make it so. But common sense and proper context will always win.