In honor of Bloomsday, the World Cup for Joyce fans.

Except we don’t sweat as much as they do when running and no one really considers reading/writing long sentences a sport unless of course you include those sad sacks who enlisted as English Majors somewhere near Dublin who, today, must, undoubtedly, be measuring their lives in shot glasses. Yes, I know that paraphrase is from Eliot, not Joyce. Pass me a Guinness and shut yer bloody haggis hole ‘afore I tar your skinny arse…

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Yesterday, I ended up in Culpeper sitting in a Target parking lot laughing at the thought of Starbucks coffee tasting so much like monkey ass that people go ape shit over it while thinking of calling home which meant I would’ve had to turn down the Max A/C to non-Max A/C then, after talking, go inside and get my Grande cup of Monkey Ass and check the old Money Monitor to make sure my deposit hit softly. I looked outside and could see the heat sweltering on the pavement. Regretfully, I left Tammy’s Temp Handicap sign at home so I couldn’t enjoy being one of those fucks who use the system for their benefit while bitching about welfare. I sat there a moment more, enjoying the momentary lapse of reality and feeling that sense of “This is my world, and it rocks.” when I saw a man at the other end of the parking lot.

Crutches carried him. Silvery flying buttresses swinging in the sun. His left leg, I saw later, protruded straight out and was thin like a broom handle. He wore black, dingy looking jeans but through them I could tell his right leg was meaty. He was frail looking. A scruffy beard covered his face unintentionally. His beard hair was as long as his head’s and as mangy. Sweat came down this man’s face, that profuse sweat that covers your face, gets in your mouth and blurs your vision. He huffed and puffed across the parking lot. The black top mocking his effort with reflection of the 90 degree heat. Everything about him portrayed poverty. Everything.

He had no cast or brace. His condition had probably followed him since childhood into his middle-aged life. You know how sometimes you glance at cars when you walk pass them. Not a creeper, glare just an innocent, quick look-see into someone else’s world. Most do it unconsciously This man didn’t look at any cars. He didn’t seem to look at any person he passed. He just kept huffing and puffing with this look that seemed to say, “Don’t notice me. Don’t even look at me. I don’t want to see THAT look. That fucking ‘Awww’ look people been giving me since birth. Look away bitch. This ain’t no party train.”

He held that stoic look as I got out of my Max A/C with my credit card cologne and my leather shoes and my good job and for not one moment did I feel that I didn’t deserve those things. Not one. But I did wonder why I put emphasis on those things as signs of a “world that rocks.”

I was over two hours from home ruminating like coffee was important, like being able to call Home was an inconvenience. Regretting I didn’t have a handicap sticker so I could shorten my walk, my healthy walk, by ten parking spaces. I felt like a spoiled dumbass whining to himself because he wouldn’t dare voice his pathetic concerns.

The man came near me.
“Hey buddy, you want some water or something?”
That was all I could really think to say.
He ignored me.
He kept swinging his flying buttresses around, kept his left leg at 45 degree angle in front of him, and kept reminding me that growing up never really stops.

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The kids are in Vacation Bible School at a nearby, friendly Baptist Church. They are having a blast. The youngest came home all full of herself and Bible verses and Jesus talk and Daddy did you know? She told us she’d learn her Bible verse quicker than anyone.

“It was from Palms.” she said.
“Psalms, honey. The P is silent but the S has the emphasis..”
“You’d think Bible people would’ve known English”

The next day she positioned herself as a Preacher at the pulpit and told us,
“I would like to begin by reading from the Book of Guinnesses.”

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Say what you need to say.

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