my own private weltanschauung (days in the life)

One of my annual functions at the Clown Factory has just been completed in the way a wave is completed when it crosses the shore and this one crested particularly far with an arc of exquisite grace; yet the anticipation of the next one has already begun. I woke up in a rust belt hotel and got home by noon. Julia has done a bunch of unpacking and the place looks fantastic. Things are good at the moment but our relationship is never going to be… I don’t even know what the word I’m looking for is. Which is just fine.

We went out and ran some errands in the afternoon. Around four, she ran into Walgreens and I laid the seat back in the car and tried to get some rest. I turned on WFMT 98.7 and they were doing a whole thing on Rachmaninoff; I closed my eyes and counted my breath. They talked about how Rachmaninoff was influenced by the churchbells of his hometown and then played a piece he wrote when he was 20 called ‘Tears‘. I laughed at myself for imagining him as an old man simply because he was a Great Classical Composer; it is foolish it is to disregard the artistic capacity of young people. It began to snow. I tried to relax my shoulders  through awareness and intention and it helped a little but my shoulders were still like knots. I composed the haiku I posted earlier. I caught a glimpse, heard a whisper, felt a shudder pass through the universe.

Sometimes I wish I could just give you my weltanschauung in a direct manner instead of trying to explain it; I desperately wish I could just plug all of yours directly into my skull. Of course, that could result in us becoming a massive inhuman hivemind like the Borg or something, but I think you know what I mean. Or you don’t. See, that’s the problem. We don’t always understand each other. We don’t listen, we concentrate on petty agendas, we confuse our fictions with our realities, we refuse to accept the is of what is.

This quiet moment in a car in the snow where I composed haiku looking at snow listening to Rachmaninoff was indescribably sweet. It is also real and true, but could only be fully appreciated in it’s literary perspective from within my own skull. I exhale, imagining Julia digging her elbow into the spot where my shoulder and neck meet; there is a sound like the crackle of bubblewrap and my entire right arm spasms. Ideas unlock in my head and sputter freely across my awareness, completing thoughts that had begun an hour, a day, a week, a quarter century earlier. I would have to write like Proust to even come close to explaining what I mean and then you wouldn’t read me at all and where would we be? But I digress.

On the stage of my mind the idea of the shape of my life takes form; it is surrounded by the idea of the shape of the universe and what is and isn’t, but it is all contained within the ceramic theater of my skull. I am the observer and decider within, but what is the nature of that particular winkle of being? While living a syzygy of literary perfection one rarely has a moment to meditate and compose haiku about it.

For the past several days I have been at a convention and finally our presentations won acclaim for our organization; I achieved a professional goal that I have been striving to reach for decades. On Friday night by random chance I caught a production of The Serpent, an experimental play produced by the Open Theater in 1969. It was the first play I ever directed, way back when I was a student at good old Miskatonic and seeing it performed by a really young energetic cast filled me with warm gratification. I saw the faces of my friends in the expressions of the actors and spent an hour or so rediscovering what it was that I had been attracted to by the script and was struck by how the themes and aesthetics of that ‘ceremony’ ran throughout my entire life to this moment.

The next day I found myself in an unusual situation; I was walking through the convention center where I ran into a friend whom I have known since 3rd grade. She was there with one of those teenage musical groups that look like they escaped from the Disney Channel for some kind of competition where they gyrate and shriek musically. Her assistant’s water had broken, the ambulance was on the way and could I take the kids out to lunch while she dealt with everything? So I ended up with about a dozen fresh faced innocents in a seedy sandwich shop that was the only business for blocks that wasn’t a strip club, adult bookstore, or boarded up.

As we stood in line I made eye contact with a gigantic man with the ‘Innsmouth Look’ that I nicknamed ‘Lennie’ in my head (I just reread ‘Of Mice and Men’ last week). He proved gregarious and offered us coupons that he was validating. It was actually very nice but there was something in the way he stared at the young ladies that made me sit at the table next to him. I picked up a newspaper and asked him his name.

‘You don’t say.’
‘Yeah. Guess how tall I am.’
‘Oh, you’re a big guy for sure…’
‘I’m six-eight.’
‘Did you see Big Al’s up the street?’
‘I saw the sign…’
‘It’s a strip club.’
‘Mike the bouncer there is seven foot tall.’
‘How tall are you?’
‘Six-one when I stand on my toes. I have flat feet.’
‘How old do you think I am?’
‘You’re good. Most people think I’m like, twenty or something. I’m thirty-five.’
‘I’m forty. Nobody ever thinks I’m twenty.’
‘Well, you’re bald.’
‘That’s true.’
‘I mean, no one would think you were twenty, but you don’t look old.’
‘Thank you. So, what do you do here, Lonnie?’
‘Odd jobs.’ (here he stares at the girl walking past.) ‘Hey, there.’
‘Look at this here in the paper, Lonnie. There’s a picture of a zebra walking down the highway in Atlanta. (Lonnie looks, starts cracking up.)
‘A fuckin’ zebra! That’s crazy shit!’
‘Have you ever been to Atlanta?’
‘Are you from here?’
‘What? No, Iowa. I rent a room up the hill and to the left.’
‘Must be a nice view.’
‘I used to sleep behind this restaurant.’
‘Wow, that must have been tough, Lonnie.’
‘I got a ticket for it! Can you believe it?’
‘The streets belong to all of us, brother.’
‘It was a fucking sixty dollar ticket! I said to them, I’m already sleeping on the street, how can I afford a ticket? But they didn’t care.’
‘I’m sorry, Lonnie.’
(he steps in back for a moment and returns with a piece of cardboard and starts cutting furiously.)
‘What’s that?’
‘You’ll see.’
‘Did you see here about this nut who crashed his plane into the IRS building?’
‘Nah. Why’d he do that?’
‘Well, he wrote a crazy letter about how much he hated the IRS and all that, set his house on fire, loaded up a small plane with extra fuel and flew it into an IRS office building.’
‘Oh my God! He’s a terrorist!’
‘Well, I think so too, brother, but it says here he’s not.’
‘That’s retarted!’
‘That’s not a nice word, Lonnie.’
‘I know, but how can a guy who flies a plane into a building on purpose not be a terrorist?’
‘I don’t really know, brother.’
‘Here’ (Lonnie hands me a cross that he has cut out of the paper.)
‘Wow! Thank you, Lonnie. So, you’re a spiritual man?’
‘It’s a trick I learned. The other pieces spell out Hell’ (he says this sotto voce, and shows me the scraps. It doesn’t look like letters to me.)
‘Cool. That’s deep stuff, brother.’
‘I learned it in prison in Iowa.’ (he pulls up his pants leg, revealing an electronic monitoring bracelet.)
‘My cousin has one just like that.’
(Lonnie goes into a rather lengthy and confusing technical description of how to remove such a bracelet undetected during which I am able to eat my sandwich and nod. Lonnie finishes his monologue and goes outside to have a cigarette. Scene.)

Anyway, due to a series of comical misunderstandings and wacky shenanigans, things just got weirder from there. Welcome to the world, Charlotte.

4 Responses to “my own private weltanschauung (days in the life)”

  1. what won? what won?!?!?

  2. Loud idiots in sparkly costumes. I wasn’t paying close attention. I’m sorry, this rather long post kind of just trailed off without a proper conclusion.

  3. You know this is the second time I’ve seen the phrase “sotto voce” this week. The first time was Monday ~ about 7 bars into “Confutatis.” That context much more pleasant, LOL!

    Y’know all these budget cuts in AZ are happening including serious cuts to the violent sexual predators unit. Where oh where will these creeps end up I wonder…? Little cafes in seedy neighborhoods that poor families are forced to start moving into because they can’t afford anywhere else? Sickening. I think I’ll go back to working on my music.

    I laughed when I read your moment of Rachmaninoff. With the exception of Mozart I imagine them the same way… like the stuffy looking busts they make of the great composers, LOL!

    One of my favorite “moments” with you & music is Vaughn-Williams’ Fantasia/Tallis theme driving home from SOTG on a beautiful summer evening. (it’s on SymphonyCast right now)
    Another favorite is crying at the Bach piece in Truly Madly Deeply.
    Being at “home” at that time invokes Bladerunner soundtrack coming from your room!
    I see the green sub-speckled leaves of the tree outside your window in PR when I hear David Bowie’s Budha of Suburbia.

    I think these may be the moments that perhaps we’ve had a glimpse of each others’ weltanschauung! (another reason I love music). I still think that happens when performing music… or listening/connecting to a live performance.
    You may have not meant to make the connection to music and weltanschauung when writing this, but that is immediately where my mind went!

    Thank you for sharing these moments… I so look forward to these updates. 🙂

  4. You made my day, baby.

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