Charlotte’s Web

I’m in Charlotte. O! O! O, what a gal!

I think I used this schtick before.

No matter, I’m sitting in a Starbucks (one of six!) in the airport. I’ve got my internet HSDPA/HSUPA thingy (well, it’s called a Sierra Wireless 881 USB modem) and it’s cranking a respectable 500kbps down, 300kbps up.

I’ve set it up to share that connection through my MacBook Pro’s Airport radio and now my iPhone thinks it’s connected to real WiFi, which means it can talk to the iTunes WiFi store. The Starbucks apparently isn’t yet doing the iTunes affliate thing, but even if it did that would only get me access to Starbucks tunes….and their selection of Christmas music is spotty (Johnny Mathis singing “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, thumbs up! Ray Conniff/Percy Faith Singers-type Whitey McWhite choir singing, well, anything: two thumbs down, waaaay down. If you don’t get the reference, it’s like Lawrence Welk in 4/4 time instead of waltzes. I guess this isn’t helping. How about The Association singing “Cherish”? Does that help? Whatever, I’m old and you’re left wanting. Just kidding.

I’m in a great mood! I’ve got a fairly long layover in Charlotte (ahem)—just over four hours. I was going to try to get them to put me on other flights to connect through to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (I love saying that) but I remembered that they won’t do it at all because I checked baggage—the external kind—and they won’t honor requests to get off the flights the bags were going on. You know how these things play these days.

Speaking of, did you know there’s a sort of two-strikes policy for airport security? I walked through the scanner and beeped. Oops. Forgot to take off my belt. Took it off, held my jeans up (yeah, I need a new pair…the ones I’m wearing are from twenty pounds ago) and she rushed me through again. Again with the beeps. I hadn’t had a chance to take my keys out of my pocket. They wouldn’t let me have another do-over by taking out my keys. Instead, they dragged me over to some other little glass hallway and had to scan me with the hand-scanner and patted me down. It’s like a reach-around, except for not like that at all and with no happy ending. I was offered the choice to have this “done in private” and I declined before it hit me that there was a remote chance of a rubber gloves and body cavity type session, a mixed blessing. There’d be public embarrassment, but the notion of a happy ending was back in play.

Have I said too much?

Oh, grow up. Just do the big gay math and move on.

Anyway, he patted down every rivet on my 501s, had his hands up in my armpits and managed to stay on the polite side during his focus on my inseam. If i wasn’t absolutely punch-drunk dog-ass tired, I would have been angry. Or at least embarrassed. Sam watched with bemusement and I was like, WTF? He smiled and said “too many times beeping”, or something like that, and then trumped my experience with a tale of his last airport experience. He’s always doing shit like that.

Well, shit. Apparently Apple is too clever for my own good: they set the timeouts and/or speed tests on access to the iTunes WiFi store at a point where probably they calculated the minimum would be for a good user experience with the whole shebang and this little cellular jobby isn’t cutting the mustard. I blame Charlotte. Or at&t’s HSDPA coverage in the Charlotte airport, at least. I’ll have to wait until I get back to my folks’ house to download “The Carpenters’ Christmas Album”. Totally serious here.

So yeah, I’m happy to be getting back to my family and for such a long visit. I’m happy that there’s a very good chance I’ll get to NYC for a few days somewhere in there to see Bill & Edgar, Jenniebear, Glenniebear (he’s Glennalicious and bearalicious), the JoeMy of the Gods and who knows what other manner of folk.

I’m at the right point in the pharmacokinetics curves of the vicodin, the muscle relaxants and the anti-migraine medicines that I’m nearly entirely pain-free. That’s not why I’m happy, that’s just why I can be appropriately emoted to my state of mind.

See here, nearly cleanly shorn, expecting to be clippers-less for more than three weeks:

Sorry for the fuzziness of the lack of fuzziness. Low lighting, unfortunate ergonomics of self-portraits with an iPhone, and the tremors in my hands (nothing new, been there for months). Tis me, tho.

Were One of Us

I am visible only when people are not looking. I am never heard if someone is paying attention. Such is the life of an outsider.

I was thrown over a wall, that much I remember. And I have this sneaking suspicion that on that other side is where Normality is.

I know there. I know there’s a time and place for things. I know there’s a path a life should take. I know I should laugh aloud only when appropriate. I know these things because I know I’m also supposed to mind my elders and remember always where I am. All that coerced remembering has me remembering each of those things that I am, those things that the polite, normal people wanted to forget.

Yet I am not a shadow. Nor am I a shade or spirit or even demon! How lovely that would be. Am I here? Is anyone? I know there is a here because I remember there was a there. Not much to hold on to, but the choices are limited and gravity causes the earth to rise up to me violently. And I know that that can hurt.

Was I discarded? Certainly dis-regarded, an odd and extra puzzle piece not belonging to the set, not completing any picture’s selfsameness. The life of a bunbury is not easy, but it is simple.

Yet I am among you. A wall is a trifle, a taradiddle for those who believe in borders, as if the belief that has arisen from repeating a thing enough times has turned around and produced a belief that artifices of separation are more artifact than artifiction.

Here I am set apart from everyone, the distance not measured along x- or y-axis, but rather up. Or down. My distance has been set on the z-axis, you see. There’s a sort of right-handed rule to it. Physics and philosophy do indeed overlap. Never forget that.

Now I sound like one of them: “remember this”, “forget that”. “Don’t.” “Don’t.” “Can’t.” “Won’t.” “Should.”

What an ugly word, should. A violence word when directed outward. Always, always. And when directed inward is can be many things: a response to guilt; a response to the rote of instruction of the normals up and over; a choice to follow one’s own ethics; a course of creating one’s own morals.

Put another way, outward shoulding , from one to another of them is an act of violence against free will, a thief in the night who steals good will. Inward shoulding is an exercise in free will and, relative to the context of it is also an act of creation, of addition of good will.

To add a something where there never was a something. Exquisite and miraculous. But rare. Seems they go hand in hand, an inverse relationship of preternatural and the frequency thereof. Beats me why, because I never saw a reason that such wonders could not be frequent and lengthy visitors to the world.

Am I the Trickster who forces together two separate conditions for the sake of benefitting from the fallout or am I one or the other starting conditions. Am I both? Or am I simply the outcome?

Or am I that fellow or lady up there in the nose-bleed seats that no one sees or pays attention to, a third-party observer of the folding of antipodal realms across and against each other?

But then again, in other places I am a trinkle or bauble or, if you must be so severe and dire, a graven image who but lives in place in households elsewhere. Lares and Penates, collecting dust, killing imagination. Still other places, I am contained and pigeonholed into a pleasing shape in a pleasing cage, a concentrated and living totem and golem both. An excuse for extraordinary behavior and a promise of absolute forgiveness, a prisoner of the Unknown, Creator of Sycophants and Myrmidons.

If I could tell you who I am, I’d tell you. I’d never been so cruel. Then again, the crueler deed may be in the telling. Self-reflection takes the mickey out of self-esteem sometimes, don’t you know.

I’ll tell you this: the wall that keeps me out also keeps them in: the knot unties itself and can bound two infinitudes at once.

Or maybe it’s just all I can do to say: I am who am.