“JOEY! SHADDUP!” The voice thunders down across the alley. It has awakened me countless times through the twelve years I’ve lived here. The women’s voice is deep and gravelly, a smoker’s throat. Her shout at her German shepherd grates out over the neighbourhood several times each day, like a Mullah from his tower.
Joey is a lovely dog, unlike her Rottweiller companion.(spell checker thought it should be rototiller…Close!) If I’m walking up the alley Joey will bark furiously but will come to the fence for a pat on the head, unlike her pal who snarls and drools like a hound from hell. The dogs never get a walk, nor apparently, much loving attention. They have a path worn around their yard just inside the fence. If the owner is in the yard, she’ll apologize, loudly and profusely, about not knowing what’s wrong with these dogs. We understand she is trying to make amends for the barking but doesn’t really care about her companions of so many years. “Just take them for a walk damnit!” Maybe she does care and her neighbours just don’t understand. Certainly, we’ve tolerated Joey’s imposition for all these years. There will come a time when we won’t hear Joey anymore. We’ll miss her.
Out of another alley last night, a black and rusty SUV rolled at a good speed. I braked, wondering what the driver intended. He gave me a vague but rude hand signal and so I proceeded. The other vehicle now lurched at me, a few feet at a time, like a bear threatening his intended victim. For some reason that triggered a mindless response from me to jam on my brakes. BANG! The vehicle rammed my car’s back end. I flew out of the vehicle and tiraded “If you keep driving like that you’ll keep meeting old assholes like me!” What the hell was I doing? I’d just broken all of the Four Agreements which I try to live by. I knew I was accomplishing nothing except to make an enemy. I’m weary of public mindlessness and selfishness but this was no way to deal with anything and what was I ever going to change.
The other driver was adamant that I had violated his rights. Really? His rights? I see. All’s well that ends. My old car wasn’t damaged and life went on but think of the possible scenarios in my moment of knee-jerk madness had I been carrying a gun. I am not a reactionary thug but I am a human. It happens to the best of us when our karma runs over our dogma.
Baxter Black, who’s he? Most folks have never heard of him but he was a cornerstone of the Cowboy Poets movement, which few have heard of. Yet in the wake of his death YouTube is filled with videos of Baxter reciting his work. He was flawless and humorous and a great inspiration as he dealt with the basic matters of life. He would always sign off by describing himself as being “From out there.” He has again proven that the big step in receiving artistic recognition is to die. Coming Bax, coming.
I went to a clock repair shop with an old wristwatch. I like these places, full of ticking time pieces and a sense that all is in control and in order. It’s a lovely illusion. When I arrived the proprietor was standing out on the curb in the pouring rain, cell phone in hand. Turns out that he was trying to spot an elderly lady who couldn’t find his shop. He works in a ground level basement of his home but somehow, despite his efforts, it was hard for this old soul to find. When she did arrive, in a late-model but battered Mercedes, the stooped old crone produced a hand bag filled with small clocks. She kept producing them, one after another all the while declaring that she was going to be late for a hospital appointment. I felt as if I was caught in an ancient Monty Python skit. “Can you fix ziz for ten dollar?” She demanded, handing over an antique alarm clock. “It vaz built in 1906 and has been vakink me up sinz I vas unt little girl.” The man behind the counter explained he couldn’t come down the stairs to his shop for ten dollars these days and besides, he couldn’t give her a quote until he knew what was wrong. “Ya, ya I must be gettink to ze hospital.” I cautioned her to drive carefully, the streets were slippery wet. “Ya, everyvon ischt beepink at me!” I find myself wondering how she’s doing.
Electric Harley. It’s not a bad name for a rock band. But struth, I’ve seen one! Throbbing, blasting, vibrating and big, big ,big was the realm of the ubiquitous North American icon. No more. It, to me, was like a biblical sign of the apocalypse. This mid-sized, black with no chrome motorcycle is owned by a man who claims it can go from 0 to 100 mph in 3 seconds. Then you come to the end of the extension cord. Haar! Seriously, I thought smoke and thunder was the whole point of a Harley. Nothing is sacred!
“ The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” Dylan
Ps: Gone to hide in the woods for a while.