Another First Date

Been thinking lately.  About the concept of ‘clean.’ At least sporadically, whenever I’ve finished tidying up either my workshop or my person.

It’s really rather fascinating if explored on its molecular level. No, perhaps not quite that in depth. But, at the very least, on its surface level. At face value.

‘Clean’ takes something .. anything .. from imparting a feeling of disarray & discombobulation and elevates it into the realm of The Emerald City. Same exact thing or workshop or person, but ‘clean’ not just removes the dirty, scary flying monkeys – it imbues a shiny new consciousness, heart & soul … To the point where whatever it was that was lovingly de-dirted sings in its appreciation … with the thoughts I’d be thinkin’ I could be another Lincoln.

Windows, screaming gleaming clean – invisible to the naked eye. Visible only in the same dimension as is a dog whistle. Thanking you by singing a squeaky little love song all their own.

And how about your car, your highway star – after having spent a summer’s afternoon massaging it with varied polishes, potions & lotions? Now dressed to the nines, you’re on your best first-date behavior in your first ride. Nothing but the utmost respect: napkins fit tightly in the bottom of the coffee cup holder – both to hold the cup more firmly and whisk away any rouge drips before they can leave a scar; windows cracked if you dare light a cigarette .. no matter how cold the outside temp. And eating? For the next couple of days anyway .. uh-uh .. nope.

For she’s again a clean machine. The machine of a dream. Screaming fast. Screaming clean. Riding better and floating more free than should be. Feigning Ferrari. Posing Porsche. Simulating the grandest of the grand: a ’63 split window Corvette Coupe. Reality be damned.

For the effect ‘clean’ has on an object isn’t linear, it’s exponential. A quick sweeping or wipe down: … ahhh … nice, making it easier to navigate your way around. Tearing up just a tad peeling away the outermost layer of the glass onion. A bit more extensive: round edges begin straightening out; nuances begin to not only talk the talk but walk the walk. Old familiar faces reveal places and traces of home. But a full on cleaning assault adding time + tools + waxes & polishes & conditioners oh my … we’re off to see the Wizard.

For ‘Clean’ is like a 7th sense; a 5th appendage; a dimension not only of sight & sound but of mind as Rod Serling would say about The Twilight Zone.

Everything is still itself. But renewed. Rejuvenated. Itself squared. A treasure trove of who & how it was meant to be … Waiting to be rediscovered.

For: “God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them” Franz Kafka



Tailgate gate

Drivers who tailgate.

The tiny 3-word sentence alone nearly enough to induce temporary insanity or some other full-mind malady as my brain busies itself navigating its undulations. A sailor in a tiny boat on a rough sea … searching for an answer in a bottle to the profound annoyance & stupidity ingrained in the act.

Einstein’s string theory – of which I have close to zero understanding – comes in clearer and more complete in its complexity. The Great Pyramids of Giza: explainable by a simple, if yet universally accepted, engineering solution. Israel; Palestine; Sunnis vs. Shiites … I know you – you know me – one thing I can tell you is you got to be free – come together – over me. Boom shakalaka. Boom shakalaka.  Done. Easy peasy.

But why someone piloting 2-plus tons of steel & glass at speeds exceeding 55 mph would intentionally position this automotive abattoir within scant feet of the equally deadly 2-plus ton mass of steel & glass I’m piloting, I simply cannot grasp – leaving me at a loss for any recognizable explanation.

kkk canon city 1925

This photo of devotees of the KKK – bed sheets, pointy hats and all – having a gay old time riding a Ferris Wheel resonates with more clarity and less dichotomy than does the concept of the desire of the driver behind me to emulate the greeting ritual of two dogs getting to know each other.

It’s at least understandable – irrational hatred & lynchings aside. The men under the killing costumes are none the less human beings who, between burning crosses & trips to the laundromat were probably just seeking some down time at the local Carney.

But in the time it takes to read this sentence …


if I tapped my brakes as I spotted something in the road directly in front of me which the delirious dog in the car sniffing me did not & could not see.

And this is on a good day. A clear, dry day. Throw some rain or snow into the mix and it’d be all over but the crying, death & dying … ‘they both died instantly’ read the news, oh boy. Then again, doesn’t everyone die ‘instantly?’ … ‘you’re alive .. you’re alive .. you’re alive .. you’re dead.’

It used to make me irate, trying to figure out this tailgate gate. Would tense all up. Flip the rear view mirror up so I didn’t see. Ignorant bliss at its best.

But I’ve decided to no longer let the angry pack get the better of me. Now, when I spy someone filling my rear view, I just sit back & smile at their utter absurdity. Make an overly grand display of waving back and forth – is there any other way of waving? – so they’ll know I know they’re there.

Sometimes, I’ll even tap my brakes to disengage the cruise control … and go slower and slower …

In essence, turning tail & biting the dog behind me who’s been getting just a little too personal for just a little too long.

In a dog eat dog world, it’s either eat or be eaten.

Amazing … from one end to the other

“Amazing,” I mumbled to myself between sips of my morning coffee & drags on my Marlboro while snaking though the construction on my way to work.

Amazing … the dance of the manlifts & cranes & men positioning ladders to elevate their status from ground men  to 1st floor & beyond men. Men & machine dancing the dance of defying – defying gravity, defying the near certain death awaiting if one or the other suddenly decided that they were bigger than the band and in that moment decided to embark on a solo career.

Not a wise  life choice considering the stage props in this particular play. The largest of which were massive, multi-ton structural steel I beams. The smaller, bit players showed no sign that they would back down if goaded into a heated argument either

Bricks; cinder blocks … metal; stone; sharp, heavy things designed to carry the weight of more sharp and/or heavy things piled up row upon row on top of them. Things designed as pieces of  what is engineered to be a permanent puzzle, anchored 30, 40, 50 feet into the ground, rising to twice that height. Poundage upon poundage upon tonnage upon tonnage all meticulously fit, fabricated & formed to follow whatever vision conjured up by the head architect.

UB110 sub 1918

And, as if that weren’t enough … an untold number of people would be adding the weight of their own person to the thousands upon thousands of less sentient, yet equally weighty building blocks upon which they would soon be walking, shuffling and otherwise ambulating from one end to the other. Conducting business, discussing wins & losses or wines & bosses or limes & coconuts … put the lime in the coconut drink it all up .. I said ‘doctor’ is there nothing I can take … I said ‘doctor’ to relive this bellyache …

Diverging thoughts, personalities, idiosyncrasies. Some heavier than others. Weightier in both gravitas & gravity. Adding their pounds of flesh and two cents worth of opinion to the delicate & dynamic design in progress I was fortunate enough to have witnessed while it was still in the womb.

Less than one block removed from this living, loving Universe – can’t we all just get along? – a man, alone … talking to whomever on his phone … flung open his car door with the greatest of ease – Please, mister, please – registering the existence of my two tons of rolling rubber & metal in no way that I perceived.

Trusting me with his life. As the dancers just down the street trust in each other.

Amazing. But nowhere near as well thought out nor well-choreographed.

A rogue ex-ground-man & his machine who decided to go it solo, I imagine.