Sunday, September 10, 2006

who are ya?

ok, so i've been busy. you know, going to work.

and last weekend i went to montreal with the crashcos and rumblestrip. it is the first time we have brought rumblestrip with us, but otherwise a lot of it is kind of like habit. we like our traditions.

of course it is important to go to the loblaw's in delson as usual, and to buy various groceries: picnic foods and cookies and beer. i don't buy the beer, but crashco likes some of the canadian beers and we all like the cookies and chocolate.

you may not know this, but there are rules in canada regarding cocoa content in even regular candies that we get in the states, where the standards are much more lax. when you buy a kitkat in canada, you are getting much better chocolate than when you buy a kitkat in the states. we also find a bar of 99% dark chocolate. you really have to like it dark for that.

and we saw a box of "cerises de terre", which we had no idea what they were, so of course we bought them. they looked a lot like tomatillos, only they seemed to be passing themselves off as something fruity tasting. we decide that they must belong to the nightshade family on the basis of the appearance of the fruit and the seeds. i'll save you the trouble of looking it up and supply you with the link.

we missed galaad this year; we knew last year that she was kind of shepherding us around, but you never really notice how much you're being helped until your guide is no longer there.

we went back to that peruvian restaurant, and even with our weak french and weaker spanish we managed to get dinner just fine. when the food started coming to the table, we had a hard time remembering what we had each ordered, except for mrs. crashco, who had the chicken.

it rained during the night and it was raining in the morning, and by some amazing coincidence (no, probably not coincidence), rumblestrip managed to find a pretty decent place for us to go to church in the morning.

we did not fare so well at tim hortons, where we had some difficulty ordering. more specifically, i had some difficulty ordering my lunch. how hard can it be to order "combo #2"?

well, anyway. we went off to find some caches, and to not find some others. somewhere in the afternoon hours i had a really big mood swing. maybe i could have modulated it better; i felt the upswing and i know that i always have to pay for an upswing later.

so i was very grumpy for a while. i felt very much like getting drunk. i realized something that might be important:

even with the pain and more pain of the ECT, there was a thing i loved about it: that moment when the anesthesia kicked in (even if i was screaming and crying from the extreme pain of it as i passed out). that moment in which i passed out was a moment in which i felt the dissolution of my entire being. it's what i liked about drinking.

so ever since the ECT, i've been thinking about that. it's been a long time since it was even a consideration.

and then because it wasn't quite suppertime and also because it was raining, everyone else thought it would be fun to go to IKEA. didn't sound like fun to me, but sometimes we just bite down and do things for the people we love. so i plotted a course and navigated us there.

i would be lying if i tried to tell you i was sad to see they were closed for the evening.

but there was a geocache nearby! just feet from here! unfortunately, on the other side of that building. and blocked by that fence.

so we drove around for a while (a LONG while), looking for the one tiny little road that would take us to it. the IKEA stands in the middle of a great clustertangle of autoroute exchanges and one-way streets.

mrs. crashco and rumblestrip are in the backseat talking ceaselessly about cats (i will never understand this impulse), and crashco and i are gyro-navigating without much result for a long time. we finally get on the correct road, but then miss the turn into the correct parking lot and get dumped back onto an autoroute ramp. by the time we find the right spot, it is dark. still raining, and dark. neither of us gets out of the car with a light, even though we have plenty of them with us. and something nearby smells very, very dead.

when we find the cache, we decide that we are not letting mrs. crashco and rumblestrip sign the log. mrs. crashco could not care less, but in retrospect i decide that we have been ungenerous to rumblestrip and i feel sad about it.

and we're thinking about where to eat and nobody seems to have any idea, but then i remember a cafe i'd been to a long time ago and i look it up on the laptop and it's still there. cafe santropol is a quirky little place that serves sandwiches and features cream cheese in about a bazillion ways. everything comes with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which i know will please rumblestrip, so that's where i decide we will go.

coming back over the border we are caught in line for a couple of hours. there's this guy sauntering down between the rows. rumblestrip identifies him as engaged in attention-getting behaviors. i explain to her that he's just going over to talk to people he knows, a theory rumblestrip is prepaered to accept until the guy moons all the traffic. repeatedly. ok, so once again rumblestrip proves that she is not just the good-looking one, but also the smart one.

just say no to crack.

it's a great week at work; everything falls into place. everything is going well. so well that for some parts of it i wonder why it took me twenty years to think of it.

all the while i was unable to return to work i spent a lot of time asking bob the Big Scary Question: what if all this means that i'm not meant to go back to that work? what if i'm meant to do something else?

all right
, i kept saying. i'd rather it were not that, but if it comes to that, it comes to that. i will do what you ask of me.

even with my recent successes, i might still reasonably ask the question, but i think bob and i have arrived at an agreement: if it comes to that, i'll be given clear instructions. i'll be given the chance to leave my job with the appropriate farewells that are due a twenty year veteran. when you leave a community in which you are so enmeshed, you deserve the chance to say goodbye and thanks, to bequeath your equipment, to look around the place and walk out with your head up.

i want them to bury me in my BFA shirt.

so anyway, i'm back at work, and i'm staying around. every day when i come to the end of it, i feel i have done some good in the world. it's probably more than i have a right to ask for.

and then it was friday. i packed my bags and left the house in the morning and after work i went straight down to lebanon, where Flyingfisher lives. last summer i practically lived at the Flyingfishers', but this year i've been at home, not able to travel so much. and i've missed Flyingfisher.

so i get there and even though Flyingfisher isn't hungry, mr. flyingfisher and i have some dinner. and Flyingfisher and i sit up way too late playing with her extensive collection of geocoins.

in the morning, there is the traditional breakfast of oatmeal with blueberries, or more accurately, blueberries with oatmeal, and a couple of eggs.

eventually we all pack into the car and we head for foxboro MA, but on the way there is a geocache on which Flyingfisher has her heart set. we look for a long time and we do not find it. we look right up until the time we have to get going so they can get me to church on time. we drop mr. flyingfisher off near gillette stadium and go off to find the church. we arrive at a nearby side street in just enough time for me to change clothes into something presentable and skedaddle inside.

very uncomfortably, the homily sounds like it is aimed at me particularly. and even though i have promised to tell the truth here, you're not getting that much truth. not for love or for money.

aside from that, there are some congregational prayers for the patriots, whose season will open the following night. this is a little strange for me; a little culture shock. later on in the story, i will tell you with the voice of the omniscient narrator from the future, we will be standing in the stadium singing "tomorrow night it's only football", which suits me just fine, because i hate football and i take a perverse joy in insisting that football is what they do in gillette stadium when more important things aren't going on.

so anyway, we rejoin mr. flyingfisher in the parking lot, in the section reserved for the midnight riders. i am very obviously a visitor; i am not wearing appropriate revolution regalia. the grills are fired up. beers are being drunk. cigars are being smoked. there's some early singing. we admire the pinata made in the image of a red bull, the new york team's mascot. it has tony meola's name inscribed just under the tail. everyone thinks this is very funny. there are some amusing "dead bull" t-shirts, a play on the ubiquitous red bull trademark.

everyone, including the new york fans, seems to prefer talking about the team using its previous name, the metrostars. it appears to pain the new york fans somewhat that their new team name is a corporate sellout.

at one point a handful of guys in red shirts and scarves pulls up very close to us and as soon as they emerge from their car, they are subject to ridicule and harassment.

who are ya? who are ya? who are ya? who are ya?, the revs fans chant, advancing in a line, pointing fingers. there's some abusive shouting. the revs fans sing if your team is not a beverage, clap your hands and if you're not a corporate sellout clap your hands, at which time the small group of metrostar fans come on over and accept a couple of beers that have been offered, and some barbecue.

they stand with good natured equanimity while our guys beat the heck out of the pinata, and burn one of their shirts. while they do this, they sing:

(sort of a drunken tuneless "my bonnie lies over the ocean")

if i had the wings of a swallow
if i had the ass of a crow
i'd fly over jersey tomorrow
and shit on those bastards below.

the red guys stand by placidly. i remark to mr. flyingfisher how strange this behavior is, but he shrugs it off. "they do it to us when we play at their stadium."

it's kind of a tribal ritual, i guess. and i'm told that although they support different teams in US play, they all support the US national team together, so they're friends.

ok, so it's a cultural thing.

the stadium security is not as easygoing. they come right over and demand that we extinguish the burning shirt. it takes a while to organize this, because nobody is willing to pour beer on the fire and somebody has to find an open soft drink.

at last it's time to go into the stadium. i'm starting to feel more at home. the first time i went with the Flyingfiishers to a game i was overwhelmed, but i'm starting to get the hang of some of the tribal ritual. and mr. Flyingfisher hands his really big drum over to me for the night, which puts me smack dab in the middle of it. there's a LOT of drumming with the singing; it has a hypnotic quality.

i get caught up in the unison arm-raising and it strikes me that this gesture wouldn't have been out of place at a nuremberg rally. it's a lot more cheerful and a lot more benign, but the large group mentality is certainly there. it is quite a rush.

and somewhere around eight minutes into the game noonan makes the night's only goal and the fort goes wild. we pass up the huge revolution banner, everybody grabbing on to it to pass it up, covering the first several rows of seats. and the people under it keep poking at it from underneath like popcorn, keeping it moving until it is retracted again.

it is a good night to be a revs fan.

and when the game is over, we reconvene at the top of the section and process to the entrance, where we drum and sing while the crowd leaves the stadium. and then we process out into the parking lot, where the red bull guys again stand good-naturedly around while more abuse is flung at them.

and then the singing becomes more esoteric and much more vulgar, which i find amusing. i'd quote it for you, but, cancel that. i wouldn't quote it for you. i just wouldn't . when i was in college i belonged to a secret society whose entire purpose was to roast marshmallows and sing dirty songs, but these particular songs were beyond our reach. interesting, though.

we get home to the Flyingfishers' house, um, late.

in the morning Flyingfisher and i have breakfast and dash out (well, as much as we ever do go dashing out anywhere) to come back up here and then some to be in johnson to celebrate DJ and CAL's 1000th cache find. DJ and CAL are stalwarts of the vermont geocaching community and a large group of people gather at rather shor notice to picnic with them and come along to witness the big moment.

salt of the earth, those folks.

so we're up there at the top of the hill, on the cliff, looking out at that fabulous view in the late afternoon light and i am standing at the ege, solid and strong, arms outstretched. for a moment i look behing me and i know in an instant that rumblestrip kows exactly what i am thinking. after a few moments she comes over to stand beside me. "you told me this day would come", she says.

down in the parking lot, there is more picnic to be had; desserts are coming out.

it's a good day to be alive.


Anonymous said...

Could you actually remember!!! the words to that dirty song? My brain as so busy listening, but I'm not able to repeat a single line.

I thought I knew a little of what you were feeling when you first stood there with your arms raised to the sky on the edge of the cliff that beautiful day. :-)

blessings be on thee.

Anonymous said...

I miss you, too.


Anonymous said...

sounds like you're doing quite well... and i'm glad to hear it.

i'm sad that you're not as obsessed with ikea as laura and i, though. i was just there the other day when i was on long island for the holidays.

stay well and kow that i think of you often.


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