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The Bellowing of Crickets

23 Oct

I spent the last four days in the clutches of a crushing sinus headache. At one point, while climbing out of the car, I realized I must look like Patsy or Edina from Absolutely Fabulous, staggering, bent, squinting, and clutching a drink. In my case, it was Diet Coke, darling, and I didn’t have smeared lipstick and rumpled party clothes, but I’ll bet my hair was plenty askew. And I was holding my keys like Patsy holds her cigarette.

I really should call a doctor about these things, but when I’m ill, I can’t remember or bear to perform such superhuman feats as think or dial a phone. (Do people still say dial?) When I’m better, I forget — in large part because I’m terrified the thing will return just by thinking about it or speaking its name.

So my headaches are like Voldemort (Don’t say that name!), only they have a nose (being of and related to my sinuses). And Ralph Fiennes is nowhere to be seen. Alas.

But now a break! A tentative moment of clarity.

I’ve enjoyed my reprieve by spending the evening eating gummy bears and reading P.G. Wodehouse. It’s my first foray into Wooster & Jeeves — at least as a reader. I shelved the books over and over again in the various libraries and bookstores of my employment. If I didn’t know who wrote them, I’d know his or her last name started with a letter at the end of the alphabet because I can still see where they sat on the long wall of fiction at one particular store which we shall refer to as Barns & Stables.

I can’t remember to get a medical solution to debilitating pain, but I can remember where individual books were shelved fifteen years ago. And the lyrics to obscure Ambrosia songs I haven’t heard since I was in the single digits but which are now playing faintly over the speakers at a loud brew pub.

Anyway, lots of laughs from the books…

  • On Jeeves’ seeming ability to appear as if from thin air (apparate): “I’ve got a cousin who’s what they call a Theosophist, and he says he’s often nearly worked the thing himself, but couldn’t quite bring it off, probably owing to having fed in his boyhood on the flesh of animals killed in anger and pie.” (Those last five words got me.)
  • On a trip away from Manhattan: “The days down on Long island have forty-eight hours in them; you can’t get to sleep at night because of the bellowing of the crickets.”

One week until NaNoWriMo. Gots me a book on Vaudeville. I’ll do a little light research tomorrow.


I Woke Last Night to the Sound of Thunder

19 Oct

I fell asleep last night to the sound of neighbors playing bass drums and rolling boulders down the street. This is a Monday night ritual, although most call it wheeling three mammoth waste cans to the curb.

My dreams were fitful since I’d gone to bed feeling sick, and when I heard someone bowling beneath my bed, it seemed about right. It scared me, but it fit the mood. Took a moment to realize that, hey, that’s not right. Husband eventually discovered that one of our apparating mice apparated onto a tupperware full of sugar and knocked it out of a cabinet to the floor where it then rolled across the tile. I sleep just above the kitchen. Thanks mice (who are obviously in league with the ants).

Thusly awake at an ungodly hour, I discovered there was real thunder, too. I watched the rapid, flickering lightning that usually occurs only in horror movies, listened to distant thunder, and then the inevitable happened:

The Depths of Despair.

I believe the great Sir Elton John said it best when he declared, “It’s four o’clock in the morning. Dammit!”

It was five, but same difference. Just as many Dementors on the loose.

A song crept into my head that used to play a lot on the classic rock channel when I was in college:

I woke last night to the sound of thunder
How far off, I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain’t it funny how the night moves
When you just don’t have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves

…When autumn’s closing in

The verse follows a crescendo of exulting over being young and restless and bold, and it seems to be him as a middle-aged man looking back. I thought it was kind of sad when I was twenty-three. At forty, it’s kind of tragic. At least, it’s tragic at 5 AM, and it set me off in reeling despair about age and wasted time and doors closing and no CTRL-Z/Undo.

Bob Seger eventually gave way to Pink Floyd. Yesterday, I hurtled along the road with my five-year-old in the backseat enjoying Dark Side of the Moon, so the lyrics to “Time” were readily available to my nighttime brain.

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

In the wee hours, a lyric can seem like an epiphany, a message crafted just for you. And even if you wake up later that morning and most of its poignancy is lost, even if it’s lost all meaning like those dreams with ideas you think will be brilliant that turn out to be gibberish, some of the emotion remains.

I need to get writing to burn off some of the irritating angst. I blame Bebe. In trying to put myself in her head while plotting Upper High Hog, I seem to have opened a few dark little doors in my own life. Let’s just call it inspiration that I can use in my story.

It’s a dangerous thing, waking before the sun. Too easy to see what lurks in the shadows when you aren’t blinded by the light.